The backs of my calves are still thrumming from Friday’s adventure to Scalplock Lookout, a not-quite-nine-miles-but-over-three-thousand-feet-of-elevation day hike on Glacier National Park’s southern boundary.  But I enjoy the thrumming – reminds me that I’m alive and well, and that I could be more well if only there were a gym near Babb, Montana.  Such thrumming does not come from sharing a blood supply with the couch, or even from trolling the mall – such thrumming only comes from hikes with serious elevation gains, like Scalplock.

I met Mom and Dad at the trailhead, at the Walton Ranger Station/Essex, about 10am on an overcast Friday morning, though the colors of the golden Larch were still spectacular.

As to be expected, it was c-o-l-d down in the canyon – when I left Babb at 8:30am, the temps were a balmy 51 and rising.  At Essex, they were 32 and holding.  Gloves would have been a welcome addition to my hiking ensemble, except that Roy recently found them to his liking.  Mmmmm, polarfleece!  Does a Lab puppy good.

The hike starts out with a bouncy, Indiana Jones style suspension bridge over Park Creek.

Youth hunting season was in full swing on Friday, and rifle shots echoed off the canyon walls – although we were in Glacier, where no hunting is allowed, just across Glacier’s boundary, the Middle Fork of the fabulous Flathead River, there is plenty of open hunting.  Just in case, Mom and Dad sported their hunter’s orange.

As we switchbacked all over Scalplock Mountain, gaining over 3,000 feet in elevation, we saw many of things of beauty and wonder, as ever when in Glacier:

Water running over rocks from Mr. Maclean’s basement of time.

Mushrooms that I cannot identify without help from Layla Jane.

And lots of snow berries that I never got a clear shot of.  Thanks, Layla and Kestergill, for pointing those out to me several years ago on our snowy Labor Day trip into the Belly River.  I remembered their name!  Improvement!

Scalplock Lookout itself is perched right on top of the mountain, and is staffed by the park service during fire season with a lucky guy or gal who spends the summer living at the Lookout, and looking for fires.  My friend Alfred landed this position several years ago – what a job!

Mom and I had good time posing in our Georgia hats:

And soaking in the fabulous view:

If you find yourself with a day to spend on Glacier’s south side, I recommend Scalplock.  Enjoy the thrumming.

2010.  Some photo credits to Charlie Stone.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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