Glacier National Park - Highline Trail - August 9, 1990 - Member Trip Report

Hike Name: Glacier National Park - Highline Trail
Country: United States
State: Montana
Trip Rating: 5 stars
Trip Date: August 9, 1990
Duration: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Trail Conditions: Good
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Weather: Sunny
Trip Winds: Light
Trip Precipitation: None
Trip Temperature: High: 61-70, Low: 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit
Trip Report: My father hiked this trail (roundtrip from Logan Pass 15.2 miles) 13 times between 1989 (when he was 66 years old) and 1998 (when he was 75 years old). I accompanied him 8 of those times and it would have been more except that I moved away from Northwest Montana in 1995.

This trip took place in 1990, but they were all basically the same except for weather conditions.

We drove up from Kalispell at 700AM today, August 9, 1990 and were on the trail before Logan Pass became the crowded place that it always is on a summer day. It was cool with a strong breeze that made the initial cliff walk, just below the pass, a little scary. For the first time it was "one hand for the ship and one for yourself" as we held firmly onto the cable attached to the cliff wall. Once into the brush beyond the cliff walk, it was a bit chilly as the dew was still on the brush and our legs got wet pushing through.

Dad had me take a picture of him at the point where the trail is a mere ledge on a sheer cliff. He said it reminded him of an illustration he had seen in a book when he was a kid in Chicago during the Great Depression -- and he always wanted to find that place. Once past the cliff and on the open trail to Haystack Butte, the magnificent panorama of the McDonald Valley and Heavens Peak opened up before us. After the brief switchbacks up Haystack Butte, we found snow on the north slope. I guess it isn't going to melt away completely this year as in a month the winter snow will start. We met only a few backpackers on the stretch between Haystack Butte and the climb to the trail's highpoint below the Garden Wall and above Granite Park. They were on the inbound leg after a week in the north.

We enjoyed an early lunch at Granite Park Chalet and got to see a grizzly bear down in the meadow below us. Somebody at the chalet set up a telescope on the porch so we could get a good close look at the bear from our comfortably distant position.

The hike back was crowded with late hikers, many of them woefully unprepared or equipped for a 15-mile hike above the timberline. It's tough to see so many young people done it by what should be a nice hike through spectacular scenery.



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