We doubled up on Avalance Lake and Hidden Lake Overlook on this particular day, having to be super aggressive in getting a parking spot at the very popular Logan Pass Visitor’s Center for the latter. The trail down to the actual lake was closed due to bear activity, but the trail to the overlook was still open. And we got to see an adorable mountain goat right near the parking lot!
A three-mile round trip that is mostly on boardwalks, we figured it would be a very easy trail.
As we started out, we climbed a bit over some gorgeous meadows with views of Bearhat (this name makes me giggle still) and several other mountains in the area. It was seriously a vision like something out of “The Sound of Music”. I could just see Julie Andrews twirling and singing in one of these meadows – they were THAT pretty! Wish the photos did it justice!
As we walked along, we noticed small patches of snow on the ground, which we thought was cool since it was the middle of July! Being that in the Northeast, we get snow maybe from December through March, it was pretty neat to still see some laying around in summer, and not covered in dirt and rock salt at that. Someone commented to me that there would be more where that came from as we walked along, but I figured we were just going to see more off to the sides. We had also seen this sign at the entrance, but thought little of it…
We eventually reached a steep, packed down snow-covered hill where kids and adults alike were sledding down on trash bags and their rear ends. I thought this was pretty amusing until I realized that it was the trail! My sneakers had little to no tread left on them so I was really kicking myself for not buying new hiking shoes, or hiking sticks, for that matter, before coming here. Climbing this hill seemed like a big task to me, but I took it slow and, with help from John, was able to make it up.
Even though I was still thinking about how wet my butt would get sliding back down this hill in cotton leggings, I was giddy after we made it up this hill because it was admittedly kind of fun to be walking across snow in seventy degree weather.
Until I realized there was a whole heck of a lot more snow where that came from. Looking ahead, almost the whole rest of the trail was covered in packed down, slippery snow! I have to admit that it was fun in a way, but it also kind of made me really sick of snow after a while, even though I usually love it…
After slipping and sliding the whole way along with everyone else (some people completed this hike in flip flops, by the way; I cannot fathom how they did it!), we eventually reached a snow-covered, steep, two or three foot wide part of the trail next to a several hundred foot slope into a rock-filled valley that wound about a hundred feet up and around the top of the hill. At this point, I really wanted to finish the trail but after feeling so unsteady the whole way and having a pretty good fear of heights, I just wasn’t having it at this point. Realizing I was starting to feel short of breath and a tight chest just thinking about having to slide my way down that part of the trail, I decided the safest move was for me to wait there and let John go ahead and snap some pictures. The look of exasperation and relief from other people coming down the stretch and one guy deeming it, “the widow maker”, certainly did not help, either! To this day, I really do regret not finishing the trail, especially because I have been able to make leaps and bounds with my aforementioned anxiety on this trip. I just now think of it as motivation to keep going in the future. Plus, I was not short on seeing beautiful things at this park.
I mostly regret not making it because the top of the overlook really was beautiful…the lake an almost unbelievable steel blue, surrounded by the mountains we had seen on the trail and a bunch of mountain goats to boot!
After John very gingerly and successfully navigated back down that “widow maker” stretch, and I knew I wouldn’t have to find a new husband, we returned the way we came. After doing a lot of hikes with elevation changes lately, I have officially decided it is easier going up than going down, particularly when packed, slippery snow is involved. But we made it, stepping sideways, finding deeper, less slippery snow to trudge through, and, yes, sometimes sliding on our butts to get down, and taking more pictures as we could along the way.
As we neared the entrance, we saw those who were just beginning the trail, seemingly without a care in the world, thinking this would be a walk in the park. I felt like I knew something they didn’t know – that they were going to face a more serious fate than they thought they would. Okay, I was being a bit dramatic at the time because I know there are way harder obstacles we could have faced, but that’s the way it felt! I was still very glad we did it though, and enjoyed the rest of the ride back to the campsite on the gorgeous Going to the Sun Road and Route 89…