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On our first day in Glacier National Park, we explored the Two Medicine area. We took the scenic lake tour on Glacier Park Boat Company’s Sinopah, a boat that has been shuttling tourists across the lake since the park’s beginnings. When we docked at the West shore, we took a guided hike with Nathan, our boat captain and naturalist.
The trail to Twin Falls is level and well-traveled. It begins with a short boardwalk section over a bog and then becomes a packed dirt path with a bridge or two over creeks. It’s about a mile to the falls, so two miles round trip.
At several points, we paused on the trail so Nathan could highlight a few things. He pointed out several dead trees and said that a Chinook Wind (a warm wind that blows over the Continental Divide from the Pacific coast in winter) fooled them into thinking it was spring and made their sap start running. When the weather returned to freezing, the trees burst.
He also showed us some huckleberry patches. Huckleberries, similar to blueberries, are a big thing in Montana…huckleberry pies, ice cream, BBQ glazes, salad dressings, etc are everywhere in restaurants and gift shops. The berries can only be harvested in the wild as they have not been successfully cultivated. Bears love them too, so one must be alert when walking through huckleberry patches.
Shortly before the falls Pumpelly Pillar comes into view. This dramatically shaped rock is named for Raphael Pumpelly, who led the Northern Transcontinental Railway Survey Party that passed by it in 1883. The Twin Falls cascade off the eastern slopes of Pumpelly Pillar.
After taking a few photos at the falls, we headed back to the dock. Apparently we left a little too soon because people who arrived after us at the dock saw a moose on their return journey. While we sat on the dock waiting for the boat, we watched a surefooted mountain goat clamber up a cliff, high above the lake.
The boat tours that include the guided hike only go out a couple of times a day. They are very popular and sell out quickly. I was able to reserve our tickets online a few months in advance.
To see my other Glacier NP/Two Medicine Posts, click the following links:
Location: 2 Medicine Rd, East Glacier Park, Mt 59434
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 5/11/1910
Date of my visit: 6/23/2018