Fun Day with Friends from Canada at Amazingly Aqua Cracker Lake
We had to be “early” girls for this long drive and long hike to Cracker Lake with our lady friends from across the border. Our meet time of 5 a.m. came early as six of us made our way to Many Glacier to meet the six Canadians for our 14-mile hike. We hit the trail at 8:35, which put us, unfortunately, five minutes too late to avoid walking behind the first horseback tour. This hike shares the first two miles of trial with the trail rides, which makes this stretch a bit unpleasant, especially on the return trip. But we didn’t let a few road apples or pee-muddied spots ruin our day, as it was filled with cascading creeks, waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife and a gorgeous milky aqua lake at our destination.
The trail was a bit busier than normal, probably due to the other more popular trails being still closed. Even so, we did have a few snow drifts to cross as well as some rock-hopping to get to the bridges across Allen and Canyon creeks as the water is still high and flowing outside the normal boundaries.
We saw a few wildflowers on the first four miles of the trip, but once we hit the alpine region, the spring colors started to pop: glacier lilies literally lined our path, silky phacelia clustered together on the rocks, and many-flowered stickseed blended with the newly spouted bright green grasses. We counted over 30 different wildflowers.
After we reached the lake, we had a nice chat with some fellow hikers, who agreed to take our group shots for us. Then we headed to the large rock by the camp site to eat our lunch. During lunch, we enjoyed watching the antics of a huge hoary marmot and a goat on the cliff above us. It is probably was the nuisance goat that comes after unattended—and sometimes attended—backpacks. We saw one other goat on our way back, but no bears or moose, although we saw signs; and on the return trip, three of the gals in the lead heard huffing and a growl right where the trail was dug up in a place that hadn’t been disturbed on our hike into the lake.
After lunch, seven of the 12 opted to go to the head of the lake, passing by the old mine along the way. These gals logged a full 14 miles on the day while the others enjoyed the scenery some more and went back to the foot of the lake to wait for the others.
At 2 p.m., we all met back up and returned to the Many Glacier Hotel where the U. S. gals had dinner; we kept a steady pace, ending our hike at 4:40, 50 minutes early than expected. After eating, we explored the new spiral staircase and remodeled downstairs, which now contains the gift shop that is in the space of the old Heidi coffee and snack shop. However, there is a separate coffee/snack shop.
The spiral staircase is an updated replica of the original to the hotel that was removed when the old gift shop was placed over the top. The new conference room, where night shows and ranger talks will take place isn’t yet complete. We arrived home at 9:45 p.m. after enjoying an outstanding sunset on the way home. What a nice way to end a beautiful day on the second day of summer.
Who went: Laura, Lorna, LaVern, Sue Ellen, Dixie, Marilee (Canada); Sue, Cathy, Brenda, Jaye, Ellie, Katie (United States)