Not a problem - it just means we get all of its glory to ourselves. And there was plenty of glory on show.
The trail is moderately difficult, with several steep sections that are mercifully short. Overall, it is an undulating trail that alternates a quad workout on the uppers and knee pounding on the downhills. Along the way, Martha Lake twinkles in a basin to the right of the path.
We paused at Birch Lake for a snack, and I admired the lake's diversity and photogenic aspects. Massive rocks anchoring the shoreline. Meadow fingers jutting into water (which make good access points for fishermen). Thick shrubs huddling along the water's edge, providing nesting sites and cover for little birds.
The trail traverses two ridges on its way to Crater Lake, and the second ridge is marked by unique rock formations with colorful purple striations. This is one of the many sources of the purple and red stones you see in the rivers and streams throughout Glacier National Park. (At this point in time, we had yet to locate the purple rock for the fireplaces in our new house, so we joked about carrying some large stones back to the car. Of course, we didn't!)
Being late August, most of the plants were going to seed. In dry, sun-drenched sections of the trail, the huckleberry bushes had turned red and any remaining berries were shriveled. Near these rock formations, the bushes still harbored a plentiful crop. On our way back, we would stop and collect a large container of the luscious berries.
Just short of Crater Lake, we were ecstatic to encounter a female mountain goat and two kids.
As you will see in the video below, she did not seem the least bit intimidated by us. The sound you hear is the wind, quite gusty that day.
After the goats drifted from view, we carried on to the lake and Man with Hat set to fishing while I enjoyed my lunch. Grass of Parnassus dotted the shoreline, and I spent some time attempting an in-focus shot, a battle against the wind.
The mama goat came over, without the kids. I still wonder about the purpose of her excursion so close to us.
The fish were not biting, or maybe the whitecaps on the lake made it too hard to see the fishing line moving in the water. We headed back the way we came, and soon had purple fingertips from plucking huckleberries, all the while keeping an eye and ear out for bears, which rely on the berries for part of their pre-hibernation diet.
We took the north trail alongside Birch Lake, and here Man with Hat caught 1 fish that wiggled off the hook before I could capture it on film. Showy Aster crowded the shorelines and creek beds, and I was glad for limitless digital photography as I snapped shot after shot.
When we began our hike, haze from the Sprague fire had limited what should have been expansive views of Flathead Lake to the west and Hungry Horse to the east. As we descended toward the trailhead, we found that the wind had chased off some of the smoke and opened up the view.
It was only upon returning to the house that we learned these same winds had fanned the Sprague fire and caught the historic Sperry Chalet in its path. As we had been blissfully hiking, the century-old structure beloved by generations of families and thousands of Glacier National Park hikers had been gutted. The good news? Re-building of the Chalet is well underway - see this link for more information.
Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
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