We've gone for short walks on this trail, but I'd never finished it and Mr. X hadn't been out to the glacier for five or six years. On Saturday, June 8th, we decided to try it out once again.
The trail is flat and one that Trail Mix (the local trail crew) has improved. It is now mostly bikeable and considering we were some of the only hikers, I'd say most people ride instead of walk.
The trail winds through hemlock forest with plenty of blueberries and devil's club. There are a few lakes with benches for resting on, but Mr. X wanted to run the trail as much as we could (less than half of it), so he didn't even pause when we saw a golden-eye on one of the small bodies of water.
We'd been told to expect scattered showers, but we soon discovered it was going to be a gloriously beautiful day. Sunshine and lollipops again.
After four miles we entered a sandy area where the silt from the glacier has been deposited. We were now in a large clearing where we could soak up the sun, spot mountain goats on the hills. The rushing water from the Herbert Glacier River, though, was scary. I wouldn't want to be holding onto kids here.
The beach was an attractive camping spot and I envyed the people setting up their sites. We'll have to go back.
We could see a little bit of the glacier from this angle, but Mr. X said we could wind our way to the left and get in front of the face. Following tags and cairns, we scrambled up some rocks and past the raging water, crossed a small clear creek and sat down in a gravel pit for our lunch.
Mr. X and the scouts had crossed the water to get up near the glacier, but they had gone in November when water levels are lower. There was no way I was going to attempt the 5' leap across the 35 degree rushing water.
After spending an hour in the hot sun, being cooled by the breeze off the ice field, we made our way back down the trail.
At one point we stopped running because there was a porcupine in the middle of the path. Mr. X pointed out a large discolored spot on the porcupine's back and suggested that the animal had had a run-in recently. Just then a black lab rounded the corner ahead of us and we called out to the owner. He told the dog to "leave it", but the dog didn't mind; he ran directly to the prickly animal. When the dog was less than two feet away, Mr. X and I shouted "NO!" and luckily he decided he wasn't ready to be a pin cushion and should leave it. We were embarrassed. We're not sure if the dog owner may have annoyed that we had involved ourselves. But really Mr. X didn't have his gerber tool and I'm certain the owner didn't have one hidden in his running shorts either.
We continued our running/walking through the forest and back to the car where we found cars parked along the highway. Herbert Glacier was popular Saturday.