Fall colors, CDT hiker, varied terrain highlight a hike filled with views
The gals broke the rules a bit, having Katie's husband along to help on the reservation side of the hike, as the trails become confusing. Tom's expert route-finding skills along with his GPS kept us on track and on trail. Another male, Jake Bramante of Hike 734 fame, was also slated to come, but he ended up heading to Zion instead, so Tom was the token "guy" on the trip. He had no one to commiserate with about bathroom breaks and endless picture taking. The gals teased Tom that he was our "escort."
Tom led off the day with an off-trail visit to an area that sheep often frequent, but we saw no bighorns today (or bears or moose or goats, either). The only wildlife we saw were some chipmunks, ground squirrels and various birds, including some ruffed grouse.
The trail basically goes up and up. We had quite the pull to reach Scenic Point, a 2,400 foot gain over 3.5 miles, but the gals still wanted to climb a little more with a trip up a knobby point at the saddle before summitting Scenic Point itself.
At the top, we met a couple who had hired a Glacier Guide to take them on the trip.
The hike can't be overstated: the views are some of the best in the park and the fall time frame treated us to glorious colors that popped out at us all day. The terrain varies from waterfalls, to alpine hillsides to meadows to the petrified pine forest to aspen groves to rock outcroppings and beaver ponds. Every time we thought the scenery was the most beautiful, it turned into another zone that impressed us as well.
Toward the end of the hike, we came across a CDT (Continental Divide Trail) hiker Sean Murphy, who said he was "walking off the war" through the Warrior Hiker project (read more about him at this link). He started with his left foot in Mexico, April 13, and planned to end in Waterton Sept. 25, with a party and dinner to be held for him Sept. 26. It's always interesting to meet people and hear their stories on the trail.
Our hike was a total of 11.5 miles with just under 2,600 feet of gain and 3,000 feet of loss, one of the bigger hikes of the season. Needless to say, Tom is not too eager to join us again. We have too many picture and potty stops for him.
We ended the day with dinner at Serrano's, one of our favorite restaurants in the park. Of course, we aren't the only ones who love the place, as was evident of the hour wait to get in. While we were waiting, we bought some huckleberry pie from the Two Med Grill to save for dessert and enjoyed a pitcher of Margaritas.
Who went: Kathy M, Chrissie, Susan, Catherine, Sara and Katie
Link to Katie's pictures
Link to Kathy's pics