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    A COMPENDIUM FOR THE DRY GARDEN

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Heart Lake

I took a few days off and went into the park.  My plan was to hike into Heart Lake, possibly around the lake if the ford was passable.

Heart Lake view

Heart Lake view

I wouldn’t exactly call going backpacking in the park ‘wild’.  It’s wild in terms of the animals that you have to watch out for–grizzlies, moose, bison.  But the back country is very regulated.  That’s a good thing; and a bad thing.

The good part is that registering and being assigned designated campsites each night assures your safety and especially preserves the park.  There are bear poles at each site; there are only a certain number of sites in order to preserve the wilderness and your solitude; and a ranger who is stationed at Heart Lake checks on your paperwork and informs you of bear activity.

The bad thing is that its hardly a wilderness experience.  I actually had trouble getting a campsite for 2 nights because the Park Service now lets people reserve sites in advance for $20.  Or without a reservation its free.   This was the second time I’ve tried to get in and was lucky to find a space.

Enough of the gripping.   I can say that Heart Lake is well worth the 8 miles to get in.  Its a unique and beautiful spot with natural thermals right at the Lake.  Mt. Sheridan presides over the lake, while moose, elk, and grizzlies hang out there.  I would too if I were a grizzly.  Lots of wildflowers to see, plenty of bird activity.

Dusk

Dusk

Thermals

Thermals

The mosquitos were bad as we’ve been having lots of late rains.  With a little wind, they are quite tolerable.  I was having some foot problems so I didn’t do much hiking except the 16 there and back with an overnight.

Mt. Sheridan at dawn

Mt. Sheridan at dawn

Dawn

Dawn

Highly recommended and an easy fairly flat hike.

Camassia quamash-most prized food of the first Americans

Camassia quamash-most prized food of the first Americans

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