“Do you all have cell phones?” I asked the party in front of me.
“Yep. We have cell phones,” the man said. “Do you need to use one?”
“Are you sure you have them?” I asked.
There was a bit of rummaging and a lady in the party gave me a look as I pulled a phone out of my pocket.
I had found it a few minutes before in the dust of the Loop Trail in Glacier National Park.
“That’s my phone!” she said. “I can prove it with my fingerprint.”
She put her thumb on the phone and it sprang to life.
“Have a good day!” I said, and we continued to slog up the trail.
The Loop Trail is one of my least favorite trails in Glacier, but if you want to get to Granite Park Chalet in the early season, it’s the only way to get there.
It’s not a difficult hike, but it was a hot day, and the Trapper Fire of 2003 made the Loop Trail completely exposed to the sun for most of its length.
We got an early start to beat the heat, but there was no breeze, and the sun was relentless once it got up and over the Garden Wall.
Granite Park is always a pleasant place. This year the Loop Trail is blooming thick with beargrass, which makes the 4-mile journey up to Granite far more pleasant.
At the top, the chalet had about four feet of snow on the level June 20, but now most of it is gone save for some bigger drifts above the chalet.
With the Highline Trail closed, the crowds were light and a pleasant breeze blew on the hike back down.
The Highline will likely open this week and with the Park shuttle in full swing, expect bigger crowds at Granite.
The hike up the Loop, if you decide to go that way, is four miles one way with an elevation gain of about 2,400 feet.
You can book a night at the historic 1914 chalet, but reservations for the season go fast.
For more information on a booking, visit: http://www.graniteparkchalet.com