White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rainy Weekend Exploration

This weekend was probably the last weekend I could spend off playing, since I may have extra work to do next weekend to help get ready for the roundup.  And the following weekend, I'll be packing to leave, which I find very hard to believe. I had had Lost Trails NWR, which is one of the refuges managed by National Bison Range, leftover on my bucket list from last year so I prioritized it for this year.

I asked our assistant refuge, Bob, if he could get me a free room there.  He came through with a great room and kitchen privileges, and I spent two nights there.  I was just an hour from Glacier so I planned to visit there as well. The only iffy thing was the weather - it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy all weekend. 

I started out just before dawn and made it up to Lost Trails by mid morning. One of the first pictures I took was of the sky over Dahl Lake.  It set the tone for the weekend - just enough promise that I was willing to drive around, but then enough rain, or threats thereof to preclude much hiking. 
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Clouds and rainbow over the refuge

View of Dahl Lake which is being restored and is growing

When I got to the refuge, I found all the interior roads were closed since hunting season was starting. I couldn't get close enough to Dahl lake to  identify the waterfowl I could barely see there. So I drove on country and forest service roads and made a circle.  Most of the time the light was so poor, nothing looked good so I didn't take many pictures.


The only rimrock I saw. 

By mid afternoon,  under darkening skies, I was ready to give up. so I came back to my room and took a nap and read. I did edit my few pictures but didn't have Internet.  The following morning, I left before dawn to go to Glacier National Park.  Again I had mostly cloudy skies.  Only the west side of Going to the Sun Highway was open.  I decided to climb to the Logan Pass and try to hike to Hidden Lake.  I hoped to take mountain goat pictures there. Then I wanted to hike Avalanche Trail again. I thought it might have some good fall color.  For few glorious minutes, I thought the day would clear up. The light got brighter and I even saw a little blue sky.

 But the further up I climbed, the more the clouds rolled in.  By the time I got to Logan Pass, I was in a thick, damp fog.  The clouds followed me down the mountains and it was too cloudy at Avalanche to want to take any pictures, or even hike.


One of the waterfalls on McDonald Creek - habitat for harlequin ducks in the spring

Further up McDonald Creek

A little fall color along McDonald Creek

One of the spots of dense fall color along the Going-to-the-Sun Highway

Heaven's Peak - before clouds covered it

One of the few asters still flowering

View of mountain and valley

I hoped these clouds were moving out but they were moving it

Long view down the valley

Haystack creek was barely flowing

After I passed Haystack creek, I completely lost my light and most of my views.  I decided to go edit my pictures in the Kalispel Library, then check out the Whitefish Oktoberfest.  When I got there, there was nothing going on except in the big tent and I didn't like the music I heard coming from it.  So I didn't bother to brave the light drizzle to check it out.  I would have gotten in free - seniors got in for free before 5:00 P. M.

Then I got my hopes up for a good Sunday when I saw a late, dark red sunset. I got up early, packed and cleaned up and was on the road by 6.   But before I got to the turn for Glacier, I saw a red sunrise and heard the weather report for clouds and rain.  So I came home, with only a few detours,  finding nothing very exciting.  But I'll be back another year. And I can still hope to get mountain goat pictures.