Barred Owl in Glacier

The journey is often the destination. We sometimes lose site of that as we hammer on to the lake, the summit, or the waterfall. The highlights, however, can often come as we’re heading to that “perfect social media spot”.

We headed out on a mid-November day with Huckleberry Lookout as our rough “destination”. We weren’t sure how much the snow would slow us down or simply prevent us from hiking up to the lookout. Maybe we’d make it, maybe we’d make the ridge, or maybe we’d just get out into the woods for a bit.

Glacier National Park is quiet in November, even on a partly sunny Saturday. We drove up Camas Road and found a couple of cars at the Huckleberry Mountain Lookout trailhead and started on the trail.

About an inch of snow blanketed the trail, enough to keep track of the recent visitors. A few human tracks were interlaced with giant wolf tracks… which always makes it feel a bit more wild. The forest was fairly quiet with the exception of a few chickadees.

As we worked our way along the valley floor, a large, brown bird flying away caught our eye… it looked like an owl (I got really excited). Thankfully it flew along the trail ahead of us so we might get another look. Eventually, Kristen spied it just above her in the trees a bit later.

It flew off to some trees off the trail and resumed its hunting. Its head snapping around, behind it, below it, and over to us just to make sure we weren’t getting any closer. It hopped off its perch to the forest floor, then flew back up with empty talons.

We watched for a little longer, then continued on. The trail began gaining elevation. Tree squirrels and a variety of forest birds foraged. The larches had lost their needles, leaving a golden carpet below the white of the snow. Along the ridgeline, winter’s creeping grip coated the trees near the ridgeline with a layer of frost.

Two other hikers passed us on their way down. One had only made it to the ridgeline while the other made it to the lookout. Because of our late start, we didn’t get to either, but we reached our destination just the same.

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4 responses to “Barred Owl in Glacier”

  1. Very cool, Jake. I’m going to go up that trail soon to see if I can find this bird.

    1. How is Apgar lookout right now? Too much snow? Looking for a good hike over Thanksgiving Weekend

      1. It was good as of yesterday, but it rained all day here. I’m guessing it put some more snow on top. You can always call the park service the day before you go and see if they have any updates…. or just head into the park with a loosely held set of plans and options. 😀

    2. Excellent! We spied it right where the Huckleberry Lookout trail crosses over the creek. Also, it was about 2pm. Not that it will be there or active at the same time, but it’s a place to start. 😀

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