20b gypsum further up trail

Ousel Falls Wander

Well, it is that time of year. Not really winter, not really spring. Ice on the trails, lots of brown popping through the dirty-looking snow that’s left. The evergreens are not their beautiful greens, more like a yellow-green and pale. So to make up for this “it’s so much better any other time of year” feeling, we are going to Ousel Falls outside the town of Big Sky, Montana.  A short walk down and up, switchbacks across, through a canyon, and then rewarded with a beautiful waterfall. With all this ice, though, be sure to put on your ice cleats. It is mostly overcast today, but the sun is peeking through a bit and it is supposed to reach 52°.  That’s warm without wind, but we’ll see if the predicted wind changes things. Have those cleats on? Let’s go!

Watch your step . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

Going-to-the-Sun Road–Western Travelogue

After our beautiful drive up the eastern side of Going-to-the-Sun Road, it is time to travel down the western side to Lake McDonald and West Glacier. We begin our journey at Logan Pass, mile 18.1 west of the East Entrance.

Mile 18.4–Oberlin Bend is a sharp turn that will begin our decent almost 3,500 feet to Lake McDonald near the West Entrance of Glacier National Park. Let’s park and walk up to the falls on Oberlin Creek. Well, the falls are just on the other side of the road, but as the clouds drop we can’t even see the falls. Everyone is leaving so let’s head to the car and wait to see if the clouds clear. Great! Five minutes and the clouds disappear. We now have the place to ourselves so let’s walk up and try for this picture again.

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As we turn around . . . (click here)

20b gypsum further up trail

Going-to-the-Sun Road–Eastern Travelogue

After breakfast, with a great mountain view at St. Mary Lodge, it is time to head to Logan Pass for a short hike to Hidden Lake. It is 8am and looks a bit cloudy, but we’ll hope for the best as we drive just over 18 miles up Going-to-the-Sun Road from the eastern side of Glacier National Park. We’ll be climbing over 2,100 feet and the views will be gorgeous!

Mile 2.2–Singleshot Mountain rises above Two Dog Flats, where the prairie meets the mountains offering a rich and diverse ecosystem.

Two Dog Flats

Continue

20b gypsum further up trail

The Lake They Call Avalanche

Glacier National Park is a gorgeous and amazing testament to the glaciers that covered the area for thousands of years with ice up to a mile deep. All that moving, melting, and re-melting ice formed this northern section of the Rocky Mountains. A carved masterpiece of U-shaped valleys, hanging valleys, cirques and tarns, paternoster lakes, and moraines. So let’s walk a little over two miles to see a glacier-formed valley which is the home of Avalanche Lake. I know it is uphill all the way, but we just have to go. Come on!

trail-9319 Continue our hike . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Yellowstone’s Iconic Lower Falls

The best known site in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the Lower Falls. Twice as tall as Niagara Falls, water drops 308 feet resulting in mist and froth at its base adding drama and beauty. During the autumn when water flow is at its lowest, about 5,000 gallons (19,000 liters) of water per SECOND drops to the canyon floor. During peak spring runoff 63,500 gallons (240,000 liters) per SECOND thunders over the brink.

Lower Falls

The 20-mile long canyon is up to 1,200 feet deep and up to 4,000 feet wide. The beauty of the deep V-shaped canyon wall colors frame the gorgeous falls. The colors come from different levels of thermal intensity interacting with the rhyolite walls. You can see some of the thermal activity in the canyon walls during the day, but when the temperatures drop you’ll be amazing at all the thermals up and down the walls spewing their steam and losing their anonymity.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Never forget, it is amazing what finding a great spot to relax and beautiful light can do for your spirit. Enjoy . . .

Lower Falls Rainbow

 

20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Lost Creek Falls

Lost Creek Falls is a 40-foot waterfall in a steep, narrow box canyon behind the historic Roosevelt Lodge, a log structure built in 1920 to commemorate a visit by Theodore Roosevelt. The narrow canyon is home to Douglas and Subapline firs and moss-covered hillsides offering a pleasantly cool walk.

lost creek falls-

This short walk meanders along the creek that blissfully cascades over and around granite boulders on its way down from the falls.

lost creek falls

20b gypsum further up trail

Rain and Shine

It’s a beautiful day just north of Seeley Lake in northwest Montana, but the clouds are getting thicker as we drive to the Morrell Falls trailhead. Picture perfect cumulus clouds with patches of blue give us hope of sun rather than rain on our hike today. Then again, the saying in Montana is if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. Heeding the warnings and the fact it is still spring in the Rockies, let’s grab the bear spray, our packs, and go!

mountain on the way2-

Continue walking . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Gibbon River

The Gibbon River begins its life in Grebe Lake found in the center of Yellowstone National Park. About 20 miles from it’s origin we find Gibbon Falls. This river sneaks in on the eastern side of the Continental Divide making it one of the few rivers in the park flowing from north to south. Crashing down 84 feet right along the Loop Road, we can take a short walk to see the wilderness framing the falls. Flowing another 4.7 miles south, the river joins the Firehole River forming the Madison, a major tributary of the Missouri River. The gift of water flowing from the mountain tops of Montana and Wyoming.

Gibbon Falls