This morning we got up and packed up our bags for backpacking, which is much more involved than just packing up the tent and putting our stuff in the car. Despite that we out of the campground by 9:30am. Our plan for the morning was to go to the Ranger Station at Logan Pass and see if we could get our back country pass changed to a different route. We had read in our Glacier book that passes were available there, but once we got there the ranger said we would have to go to St. Mary to get the pass so we went back to our original plan of backpacking at Cracker Lake.
This was our first time on the really cool part of Going to the Sun Road. The road is quite amazing. The views are spectacular and really it's amazing that the road was ever built through these mountains. The road is covered in snow until late June and it starts to snow there again in September, so there is a really short period every year to visit.
We also drove by St. Mary Lake on our way to Many Glacier and Cracker Lake.
We arrived at Many Glacier and ate our lunch out of the back of the Explorer before we headed out on the trail. It was a pretty hot day, so it wasn't ideal hiking conditions so we hoped for a somewhat shaded trail.
It was a six mile trail to Cracker Lake and the trail was about half shaded and about half in the direct sunlight, making it kind of exhausting. The first people we saw on the trail were a couple of ladies. We asked them if they made it to the lake and they said they were there, but didn't stay long because they spotted a bear across the lake. As we ventured along we saw more people and all of them were turning around because of the bear threat. This was a little freaky for us since we were planning to camp the night at the lake. We decided until we actually saw the bear ourselves we would keep on going. So we kept on going and didn't see any bears. This trail is also a horse trail so we saw a group of people on horses along the way and that made us feel better since the bears are probably afraid of a big animal like a horse.
We arrived at Cracker Lake around 4pm, so there was plenty of time to set up camp and explore the area. I am so glad we did this trip. The time we spent at Cracker Lake was so much fun. When we first arrived we saw a moose bathing in the alpine lake. Apparently moose are just as dangerous as bears, but we were a safe distance away so fun to watch the moose.
After all the talk of bears on the trail, we weren't shy about putting our food up immediately after we got to our site. The site is set up way different than on the Superior Hiking Trail. There was an area for food prep, a food storage pole, a latrine and three camping sites. The actual camping sites are about 50 to 100 feet away from where you cook, eat and store your food as to not attract animals to where you are sleeping. All good ideas.
After our long hike during the heat of the day, Cracker Lake looked very appealing to cool down at. So, we gathered up our things and went down to the lake. The water was freezing cold, I guess what do you expect from an alpine lake. So, we didn't stay in for long but we did hang out on the rocky beach for quite a long time just enjoying the beauty and the peacefulness of being out there by ourselves.
We found these ruins of old mining equipment down by the lake as well. We think it must have gotten there via helicopter as it doesn't seem like there would any other way to get it there.
Then we took some photos of ourselves in the snow in 90 degree July heat.
We got back to the camping area and set up our tent. It was amazing to sit in the tent and be surrounded by so many beautiful things. This was definitely the coolest place we have ever camped. Our Minnesota and Wisconsin tenting adventures don't even come close to this.
After the tent was set up we went back up to the food prep area to make dinner. We made one of our favorite backpacking meals Burrito Orzo Soup and it was awesome after a long day of hiking. At dinner we were joined by some very annoying prairie dogs trying to steal our food, but other than that it was a pretty enjoyable to eat dinner in such a gorgeous place.
We were both exhausted after our long day in the sun, so shortly after sunset we were both out. Another great day on vacation.