My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, July 19, 2013

Virtual Hike from Sunrift George

Twice, while driving on Going-to-the-Sun Highway, I stopped to do short hikes.  One of them was at Sunrift Gorge.  This hike is best done by first hiking up a short set of steps to see the actual gorge.  Here, snow melt has carved a narrow cleft in the rock and spring melt rushes through it. This is the beginning of Baring Creek

Short climb to Sunrift Gorge

The Gorge

Water drips off the walls of the gorge

The water turns a corner here and then you have to go downstream to see more

Climb back down and continue on the walkway that goes under the bridge. Looking upstream, you will see the bottom of the above feature. 

This was the first falls I saw because I climbed the steps last
The stream continues down the hill, boiling and making other water features.

Foaming hole just downstream of the bridge
A visitor enjoys the stream on the down stream side of the bridge
This picture is looking downstream just a little down from the last picture
The trail just keeps going and near the bridge, you find that you can visit four falls. And you can also join other trails and probably walk for miles and days.  I decided to go on down to Baring Falls.  On my way there I saw a very strange sight.  I caught a glimpse of four legs behind a woman hiker coming towards me, and at first though she was leading a llama.  But as soon as I saw the entire animal, I realized it was a deer. I stepped off the path so they could pass and the deer stopped to grab a bite of thimbleberries.  Then she hurried to catch up with the lady.  As the lady passed me, she whispered, " It seems to like me."  The deer nonchalantly passed me, still seemingly intent on following the lady.  The hikers in back were also thrilled and stopped to ask if I'd ever seen anything like it.

One of these hikers is not like the others
Shortly after the deer encounter, I took the side trail that led to Baring Falls.  I found several lovely flowers, including Mariposa lily and yellow columbine, growing along the trail.

Mariposa lily trio

Yellow mountain columbine
The sounds of Baring creek had receded a little, but, after I took the side trail, they increased in volume.  I soon came to a footbridge over the creek.  A roar was coming from upstream and the path across the creek curved upstream.   In only a few steps, I got a glimpse of the falls.


Baring  Falls

Lushly growing flowers on cliffside next to falls.

After enjoying the falls a few minutes, then taking the time to show another couple the best spot from which to see it, I started back to the car.   I decided I had enough light to make the hike to St. Mary's falls, which is on another path leading from the same rest stop. 

But after you have heard about one hike, the rest in the same area are pretty much the same.  Just more oohs  and ahas and lots of stops to take pictures of pretty little waterfalls, colored rocks, the big mountains, wildflowers and to try to get photographs of bees and butterflies. 

I put all the pictures from Going-to-the Sun highway in a folder on Flickr. I added titles and captions to help you understand them.  Enjoy as many of them as you can stand. 

Most of Glacier is only available to backpackers and many of the hikes into the interior start along Going-to-the -Sun Highway.  I wish I could still enjoy the solitude found at the end of a long hike but I'm only able to do day hikes now. But if you still can, consider backpacking in Glacier.  And for sure get out of your car to explore short distances from the highway.  Better yet, jump on and off the shuttle, especially if you must visit during the middle of the day.