What and where is Logan Pass you ask? Located at 6,646 feet above sea level, Logan Pass runs along the Continental Divide, which is at the summit of the Going -To -The -Sun Road. This is the highest point you can drive your vehicle but trails such as Hidden Lake can take you much higher. A visitors center is open only during the summer season. The pass is closed during the winter due to the impracticality of keeping the road clear of snow and avalanches.
The first time we drove to Logan Pass the temperature was 40 degrees with a twenty mile per hour wind. It was pretty cold for a 4 mile round trip, many of it in open area. It was just the start of our week and we decided to wait till a few days later.
First Try at hiking Up to Logan Pass40 degrees and twenty mile per hours wind really a raw cold day up at the beginning of the trail. We decided we would wait for another day
Two days later Phyllis and I started out at 6:30 AM, stopped for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Montana Coffee Traders. This is a chain in Montana and the coffee and breakfasts are great. The burrito is so large we would split one. If you're in Montana, try them out. You will not be disappointed. If would take us about thirty minutes to reach the parking lot at the visitor's center which is where you start the hike up Hidden Lake Trail. It was a beautiful morning and we both agreed we were happy we waited a few days to walk it.
The middle of the hike up Hidden Lake trail.You can see much of the trail in this image until it winds around that small mountain. The atmospheric conditions were amazing and this cloud hung around for a few hours.Like a beacon showing us where the Visitor Center was As we walked the trail, I kept looking up at Reynolds Mountain trying to guess how far we had to go. It loomed ahead of us as both a destination and a challenge. As people were coming back down, they would smile and say, "Still a ways to go but worth it". I heard that so many times, mostly unsolicited. I would smile and think, please no more "A way to Go".
The colors in the rocks and the plant life were amazing, so many colors, so many textures.
I won't lie, it was a challenge. The air is lighter and we are both in our sixties but I was really proud of Phyllis. She just kept walking and whenever I looked back at her, she would smile and wave, at least that is what I think she was doing! Although she usually uses all of her fingers.
As we started getting closer to where the road would flatten out, we became excited knowing we were near the top. We found a pond near the top.
Then we reached the overlook and had our first view at Hidden Lake. What a beautiful vista, just a gorgeous setting up high in these magnificent mountains!
Hidden Lake such beautiful colors Hidden Lake such beautiful colors I met another photographer and he told me we had just missed seeing three Mountain Goats which was very disappointing, for up till then they were the only animals on our wish list we had not seen. He pointed to the mountain behind us and said one had climbed up there and the other two went down into the valley. As I gazed up at the mountain, I saw a white spot moving up the rocky face of the mountain. It was the Mountain Goat not very close even with my 400mm lens but I took a few images hoping they would be good. If this was going to be our only chance to make an image of one, I was going for it.
Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Soon it was out of our sight as it went into the mountain with one look seemingly back at us. We then turned our attention to the beautiful scenery that was all around us.
As we were walking around a slight bend in the trail I saw an amazing sight, two mountain goats were right in front of us no more the twenty feet from the path. The other two had come back up from the valley and stood in front of us. The excitement and adrenaline rush was fantastic and I just started shooting a few with my 80- 400 and a few with my 17- 55 Nikons. This sighting made our day, such beautiful and seemingly peaceful animals they were not bothered by any of us being so close and no one violated their space. It was a really great encounter with these beautiful furred animals.
After this experience, we decided to head back down the two mile path to our car.
Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass We started down and saw the view of where we were headed. As we passed people making the trip up, they would ask us how much further and we would smile and say, " A way to go but worth it" and I would laugh to myself. Hey, you need to amuse yourself on a four mile hike up and back lol.
The path back down ..OH BOY !!! When we made it to the bottom of the trail we stopped for a moment to look back at where we had gone and we both smiled and congratulated each other. This image is of a very happy Phyllis when we reached the end of the trail!
Let me say, I don't care what your age, if you are physically able to walk the Hidden Lake Trail, do it. You will be happy you did and when people pass you on your way down smile and tell them, "A way to go but so worth it!"