B, C, and I got up this morning to head into the park to shoot the sunrise. We found a nice perch on the shore of the lake, and we got some terrific shots. There were dense clouds over the mountain, but we got great shots as the sun rose behind the clouds. Wow! Afterwards: breakfast at a diner, where B had Huckleberry pancakes (yum!).
Later in the morning, the six of us took a helicopter ride through the park! All six of us fit in the chopper quite snugly, but we all had great views. The pilot took us over much of the terrain that we had been covering on the ground (Lake MacDonald, Hidden Lake, Logan Pass, Avalanche Lake, Going-To-The-Sun Road, etc.), and then he took us past a couple of sites and glaciers that we hadn't seen yet. The pilot said that while there were over a hundred glaciers in GNP in the 1850s, there are about 25 now. By 2030, the anticipated number of glaciers is 0. ZERO.
At any rate, the chopper ride (my first) was amazing (thanks again, C&D!), and we were exhilarated when we landed. So exhilarated, in fact, that A and I decided to increase our hike distance today. We decided last night that we wanted to do a tough hike today, and after the chopper ride, we switched from the Huckleberry Mountain Hike to the Lincoln Lake Hike. The LLH is a 16-mile roundtrip hike that starts with a steep climb and ends at a glacial lake. The lake itself is quite small, but the waterfall feeding the lake is huge (HUGE!), and the hike is so far that there were very few people (four) on the trail (contrasted with the dozens and hundreds that were on the trails over the last few days). The trail started sunny, got cloudy, and then got sunny by the time we got back to the car. Also, we were mauled by mosquitos. Still, we had a great time, and we did the 16-mile hike in just under 7 hours.
Our feets are sore and have blisters.
B took the day off from hiking to repair his knee and work. C took the day off from hiking to relax, and S & D took the day off to shop in a nearby town. We've all reassembled, S&D have prepared a yummy dinner (with C at the grill), and we're gonna eat soon.
Tomorrow, we leave our great house in West Glacier and head to Babb, on the other side of the park, for a few more days of hiking and fun!