The hike up to Scenic Point in the spring frequently delivers bighorn sheep and sweeping views. With few options that don’t involve copious amounts of snow travel, we set out on the trail and got both the sheep in the views in spades.
This spring has been cooler and wetter than in the past few years, so finding trails that aren’t snow slogs has been difficult. Scenic Point in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park is always a fave/
We headed out (admittedly) a bit later than we liked and found a mid-week parking lot at the trailhead to be packed! We’re going to have to get used to Two Medicine being busy with the park’s reservation system for Going-to-the-Sun Road, but we also know that trailheads fill up early in the summer.
After the quick level section of the trail (where up on one of the slopes we spied a small herd of bighorn sheep), we quickly came to the junction for Appistoki Falls, but decided to bypass it so we could get up into our beloved alpine areas. Besides, we would get a glimpse slightly further up the trail.
Along the way we passed some kinnikinnick flowers, along with glacier lilies, springbeauty, and shooting stars. Just as we passed the top of the waterfall, the vistas opened up and we spied our second herd of bighorn sheep, but this group had five lambs! It’s always a delight to see them frolic around and they are super cute this time of year.
We passed the amazing old whitebark pine trees that are shells of their former selves. Disease and climate have ravaged their populations, but a few remain and concerted efforts are underway to help restore them. As we climbed, going in and out of stands of trees, we heard Brewer’s Sparrows and Clark’s Nutcrackers filling the air with song and squawks (respectively).
Two young bighorn sheep stopped right on the trail in front of us. One trotted off while the other made us walk up and around. We continued to climb, walking on a couple of brief sections of snow up to the traverse section.
As we drove in earlier in the day, it looked like the cliff section of the trail had some snow on the traverse. It sounded like folks had told us that the trail didn’t have much snow except what we’d already walked. We figured that people probably weren’t going all of the way to the actual Scenic Point, and as we approached the traverse, that was confirmed.
We passed a few groups hanging out at the spot with incredible views, but not the actual point. As soon as we got to the traverse, a fairly good size snowfield still remained. We took our time and navigated it and that would be the last snow we would have to the summit.
The pink blossoms of moss campion and the fuzzy purple bells of pasqueflower dotted the landscape while Horned Larks displayed overhead with their tinkling calls as they fluttered around. As we approached the top, we met a couple from Indiana where we visited for a bit, then they left to give us the summit to ourselves.
We relaxed in the sunshine (and cool breeze), had some lunch, took some pictures, and kept vigilant watch at a hoary marmot and golden-mantled squirrel that were keen to get some salty snacks that were our pack straps.
On the way back, we encountered more sheep including a larger ram and a small group with a tiny lamb about 40 yards from us.
Overall a splendid day that only makes us yearn for more adventures as the snow melts out.