When you don’t want someone around, you tell them to “Go and take a hike.” When there’s little else to do, as was the case yesterday, it’s exactly what we did. Some people love to hike. I’m one of those that questions its purpose. I suppose you could say it’s an opportunity to go where no one else has gone before or at least “the road less traveled.” Others might claim it’s great exercise, communing with nature. I find it boring.
We took the Sperry Trail at Glacier National Park yesterday with hopes of at least getting to Fish Lake. The 6.2 mile route to Sperry Chalet was just too far. It was built in 1913 by Great Northern Railway people – who else would have the funds or building access at 6,500 feet (the same altitude as Logan’s Pass at the Continental Divide). It’s of course closed now due to Covid -19. Given the opportunity, only true adventurers would want to pay the price for a night of no heat, lights, or water after the strenuous backwoods hike. It took us 45 minutes to go the first mile straight-up (about 1,000 feet of elevation), dodging road apples and rocks along the way. It was just starting to level off when we started back after seeing only a babbling brook, one deer, and 6 donkeys carrying supplies. Also, hiking with a mask just doesn’t seem right.
It was a good exercise supplement to my 3.1 mile morning run. We followed it up with a picnic on the banks of Lake McDonald, a welcome break to rest our aching knees. It was a relief to get back to our air-conditioned hotel and soak in a hot bath. Dinner was in Whitefish about 10-miles away. My wife strolled through the western-themed downtown area at the base of Big Mountain, home of the “Hellroaring” Whitefish Ski Resort. The town of less than 7,000 residents was the boyhood home of Phil Jackson of NBA fame. The step-back-in-time Whitefish Lake Country Club was our dining choice, although nowhere near the lake. After a couple martinis, walleye, prime rib, chocolate tart, and a Pepcid chaser, we were feeling no pain.
We’ll do it all again in our last full day at Glacier National Park. It looks like another beautiful, top-down day, with little to do but another hike and picnic. Everything is closed in the park – even many of the trash cans are locked. We’ll top off the evening with another great dinner in downtown Whitefish. Sadly, we’ve yet to see the stars come out. It stays light outside until past 11 p.m. and the sun rises at 6. We would love to see a dark Big Sky, but haven’t made it yet. Too much fresh air, exercise, and alcohol to stay up late for stargazing. Maybe we’ll take a midnight hike tonight?