Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.
We traveled to the Baring Falls dock on St. Mary Lake via the Glacier Park Boat Company and their vintage wooden boats. Once we disembarked, we had the option to visit nearby Baring Falls and then re-board to return to the Rising Sun dock. Instead, we chose to take the guided hike to St. Mary Falls with Ranger Melissa and return on a later boat.
The trail to St. Mary Falls is about 1.6 miles from the dock with an elevation gain of 140 feet. Most of the climb is in the beginning as you make your way to a point above the water. At that point, we paused to discuss bear safety (Melissa had a bear run right through an earlier tour of hers, so sheer numbers don’t keep them away…you have to clap and speak loudly continuously as you hike.)
The path then wound through a woodland area recovering from the Reynolds Creek Fire of 2015. Though that fire had man-made causes, wildfire is a regular occurrence in Glacier National Park and is nature’s way of restoring equilibrium. Melissa said this area was starting to look sick prior to the fire, with the trees choking out the growth on the forest floor.
Melissa pointed out the prolific Beargrass, a grassy plant native to Montana with white flower clusters atop stalks. While there are some blooms every year, the park has reported mass bloomings only once every 5-10 years. They reminded me of something from the pages of Dr. Seuss.
The falls were rushing…lots of glacial turquoise water rushing to the Saint Mary River and on into the lake. Scroll to the end for a video clip.
We hiked back ahead of the group, wanting to see Baring Falls before boarding the boat. This is a less impressive fall, or maybe we were just becoming jaded from having seen so many spectacular waterfalls in the first day of our trip.
To see all of my Going to the Sun Posts, please click the following links:
- Rising Sun
- Wild Goose Island and Jackson Glacier Overlook
- Logan Pass
- Going To The Sun Road
- St. Mary Lake
- St. Mary Falls
Location: Going-to-the-Sun Road, East Glacier Park, MT 59434, USA
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 5/11/1910
Date of my visit: 6/24/2018