Summer Solstice Summit and Backpacking at Cracker Lake

July 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Happy Independence Day Everyone! Just got off an awesome backcountry trip in Many Glacier this weekend and finally got caught up editing so I figured a post was in order. But before I get to the backcountry trip I had to share a few shots from our Solstice hike up Oberlin. Celebrating the solstice is a tradition that I picked up while living in Alaska and I have tried to do something fun every year since then. For my first summer here, last year, I climbed Oberlin and had a six pack while relaxing on the summit all day. So i figured it would be cool to run it back again, but this time invite a bunch of people see how many we could get to hang out for a sunset. Needless to say, the group and the sunset didn't disappoint. 

Daniel Hiking Mount Oberlin (2)Daniel Hiking Mount Oberlin (2) Sledding Mount Oberlin SaddleSledding Mount Oberlin Saddle James Hiking (2)James Hiking (2) Summit SelfieSummit Selfie Views of McDonald Valley From Oberlin (3)Views of McDonald Valley From Oberlin (3) Holly Taking in the Sunset From OberlinHolly Taking in the Sunset From Oberlin Garden Wall From OberlinGarden Wall From Oberlin Upslope ManUpslope Man Summer Solstice Summit Soda SyndicateSummer Solstice Summit Soda Syndicate Last Light on Mount ReynoldsLast Light on Mount Reynolds Solstice Panorama 6.20.16Solstice Panorama 6.20.16 Cloud ShadowsCloud Shadows Colorful CloudsColorful Clouds

I tried to head into Cracker lake earlier this year and had to bail since the weather was too windy. The forecast was calling for 50mph winds so I just called it. This weekend the weather looked pretty decent so I decided to try again. All I gotta say is wow. I have been to Cracker Lake before, but nothing beats watching a sunrise there. I would put it very high on the list of things to do in Glacier. The drive into the valley started off with a bear jam due to a grizz on the side of the road, but we didn't care about the bear because the wildflowers were off the hook!

Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16 Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16

Once we got on trail it's a pretty boring hike for the first 4 miles or so minus a few open spots. Then eventually you get into the basin and you are greeted with this spectacular view.

Group Hiking in Cracker Lake (2)Group Hiking in Cracker Lake (2)

The lake itself is the most unique color of blue. It looks fake even in real life.

First View of Cracker LakeFirst View of Cracker Lake Hiking to Cracker Lake CampgroundHiking to Cracker Lake Campground Jenn at Cracker LakeJenn at Cracker Lake

Eventually we made it to camp had some beers and whiskey, made dinner, and then explored the area during the last hour of daylight.

Dinner at Cracker LakeDinner at Cracker Lake Cracker Lake Campground SunsetCracker Lake Campground Sunset Head of Cracker Lake SunsetHead of Cracker Lake Sunset Canyon Creek SunsetCanyon Creek Sunset Canyon Creek and Cracker Lake SunsetCanyon Creek and Cracker Lake Sunset Cracker Mine Equipment SunsetCracker Mine Equipment Sunset Cracker Mine Equipment Sunset (2)Cracker Mine Equipment Sunset (2)

The next morning at 5:38 am we work up to an amazing sunrise. This was the entire reason that I wanted to come out to Cracker Lake and it didn't disappoint.

Tent view From Cracker Lake at SunriseTent view From Cracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake Campground SunriseCracker Lake Campground Sunrise Cracker Lake at SunriseCracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake at Sunrise PortraitCracker Lake at Sunrise Portrait Cracker Lake at Sunrise (2)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (2) Cracker Lake at Sunrise (3)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (3) Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4) Cracker Lake CampgroundCracker Lake Campground Corn Lily LeavesCorn Lily Leaves

After breakfast half our group left and the rest of us stayed to explore more of the area and relax. We started our way up Allen Mountain but again, it was SUPER windy so we decided to just chill in an awesome patch of beargrass where we watched a moose browse along the lake and the clouds float by.

Mount Siyeh and BeargrassMount Siyeh and Beargrass Relaxing in the BeargrassRelaxing in the Beargrass Emily at the Head of Cracker LakeEmily at the Head of Cracker Lake Me in the Furnace (2)Me in the Furnace (2)

After a few hours of chilling we were supposed to meet another group of friends back near the campground so we headed back to make lunch, finish our whiskey and catch some more sun. They never showed because the went on a different hike so we ended up taking a nap before waking up and deciding to head back to the trailhead. This was our last view of the lake and the views on the way out. Needless to say it was a blast of a trip. 

Twisted Wood at Cracker LakeTwisted Wood at Cracker Lake Canyon Creek Below Cracker LakeCanyon Creek Below Cracker Lake Hiking back to the Cracker Lake TrailheadHiking back to the Cracker Lake Trailhead

I'm hoping to stretch a bunch this week and get loose to try and do Mount Siyeh if the weather cooperates. Not sure how I will do, but I won't know unless I give it a go. Hopefully you all are having a great summer so far! If you make it this way be sure to hit me up! Happy 4th!

–Jake


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