Statistics: mileage 12 miles ascent 3403′
We awoke to a very cold, cloudy day with snow in the immediate forecast. Our hopes of returning to Logan Pass for another of the outstanding day-hikes in that area were dashed as the road to Logan Pass, the Going to the Sun Road, was closed due to heavy snowfall during the night. Oh, what a difference a day makes!
We scrambled to find a hike in the Lake McDonald area and discovered the Huckleberry Mountain Lookout Trail which climbs to the crest of the Apgar Mountains. We missed an important detail about this trail that we were told when we arrived at this fire lookout, which was manned by a ranger who stayed there for weeks between visits back to civilization.
The trail began in the forest, crossed a creek and then led to a long steady climb up the mountain. With the elevation gain, we had better views of the surrounding mountains.
Soon we could look back to Lake McDonald which was now at the base of a distant mountain, beyond several ridges.
We did enjoy stopping to have a huckleberry treat from time to time. At one point we realized that a very large bear was in the bushes above us doing the same thing!
The temperature was dropping and it began to snow.
As the snow continued to fall we came across a group of deer on the trail that took the time to pose for pictures!
This was the day when a packer with his pack mules resupplied the lookout. He had just delivered the supplies and left the lookout when we encountered him. He paused and we had a chance to chat.
The higher we climbed the colder it became; the trees were adorned with a frosty coating.
We were grateful to just make out the Huckleberry Lookout in the clouds and were hoping that we would be welcomed to rest and warm up!
To our delight, the man in the tower was most welcoming and glad for some company. As we entered, he offered us a cup of tea and asked, “Do you realize that you have just hiked one of the ten most dangerous hikes in the U.S.?” That was the detail we had missed when we first scrambled to find another hike this morning, which set us back just a little. Until the Moose Fire in 2001 this mountain with its huckleberry bushes had been a favorite of many grizzly bears, so much so that anyone coming to the lookout had to be armed. Judging from the number of huckleberries that we saw, it appears that the bears might be returning!
All warmed up, we said our goodbyes and began the trip back down the mountain, keenly aware of the possible presence of bears as we passed bushes laden with tasty huckleberries!
Safely back in the car, we drove to our last hotel in the small village of Agpar, The Village Inn. The storm was passing and to our amazement the view of Lake McDonald from the hotel room was superb!
The next morning our marvelous adventure in Waterton and Glacier Parks came to an end, but we will have to return!