“Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Honor and majesty surround Him; strength and beauty fill His sanctuary. ” Psalm 96
Former US Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas describes this strength and beauty in his book, Of Men and Mountains: “When man ventures into the wilderness, climbs ridges and sleeps in the forest, he comes in close communion with his Creator. When man pits himself against the mountain, he taps inner springs of his strength. He comes to know himself. He becomes meek and humble before the Lord who made heaven and earth. For he realizes how small a part of the universe he actually is.”
Glacier National Park is filled with waters–streams, waterfalls, lakes. Hiking from Sperry Chalet to Lake Ellen Wilson and to the Sperry Glacier, we enjoyed an absolute abundance of water. Snow was melting, and sounds and sights of water captivated our senses!
Lake Ellen Wilson, Sperry Chalet
Mountain goats on the way to Sperry Glacier
Akaiyan_Lake, on the way to Sperry Glacier–look carefully and you will see a ptarmigan in the bottom right
on the way to Sperry Glacier–overwhelming waters of life and joy!
above Lake Ellen Wilson, three miles from Sperry Chalet
One of the greatest day hikes one can experience heads up four miles and 1500 feet from Sperry Chalet, over Comeau Pass into the high boulder and lake expanse below Sperry Glacier. The views of of the massive, magnificent back country of Glacier National Park sweep the eyes up into infinity.
However, the journey up there is most memorable. The trail switches back through six levels of beauty–musical waterfalls and streams of multiple sizes, wildflowers that call the eye to linger, animals like mountain goats, marmots, pikas, ptarmigan, rocks of incredible sizes, shapes, and colors.
Coming back down, Meg and I simply meandered, trying as best possible to extend the day and intensify our memories.
waterfall on hike from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier. Look closely to see the mountain goat midway up the rocks
Meg on rock stairs at Comeau Pass
One of the hiking levels on the way to Sperry Glacier
another level of the Sperry Glacier hike
Little Matterhorn, Glacier National Park, below Sperry Glacier (Note all the colors in the rocks!)
Can you find the ptarmigan that Meg is hiking past?
The beargrass was everywhere!
Crossing one of the snowfields above Sperry Chalet
On top of the world in the Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park area
The siren call of fresh air and vast vistas, far from the crowds of Glacier National Park, brought us back to Sperry Chalet for a second summer. After last year’s two night stay, Meg and I decided that we needed an extra day of hiking from the Chalet, so we opted for three nights this time. We also invited our New Hampshire family–younger son Michael and his wife Sara– to join us. The Chalet does not have any electricity and the rooms have no running water. We shared a room together with easy going banter, and easy communication.
The Chalet was constructed in 1914 by the Great Northern Railroad to bring tourists to the Park on its railroad. The railroad turned the Chalet over to the park service in 1950, and it is now run by a concessionaire which as been family run since 1954.
“Chalet” is glorified title for a beautiful two story rock and beam structure with twenty basic rooms. It provides an easy way to spend time in the back country. All one needs to do is hike 6.5 miles and gain 3300 feet from Lake McDonald, packing in clothes and personal gear. Neither tent nor sleeping bag is needed, and wonderful food is provided in the dinning hall, cooked over propane stoves.
We enjoyed two outstanding day hikes. This set of pictures show our first hike to Lake Ellen Wilson. The bear grass filled the meadows and rocky ridges, stretching the eye and the imagination. Mountain goats periodically interrupted our hike, watching us with curious expressions, and posing nicely for pictures. These views opened heart, mind and soul, and the lake also refreshed the body with a cold swim.
meadow above Lake Ellen Wilson
Mountain goats, Lake Ellen Wilson
Sunset, Lake McDonald, Sperry Chalet
On the way to Lake Ellen Wilson
Bear grass and waterfalls above Lake Ellen Wilson
Lake Ellen Wilson
Lake Ellen Wilson
Meg returning to Sperry Chalet from hike
Sunset, Sperry Chalet, Lake McDonald
Sara and Michael reading in front of Sperry Chalet
cliffs above Sperry Chalet
Meg and Michael hiking through bear grass to Sperry Chalet