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Of Hidden Lakes, Goats, And Catharsis | by WJMcIntosh
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Of Hidden Lakes, Goats, And Catharsis

Of Hidden Lakes, Goats, And Catharsis


Weird title, right? It all goes back to 2014 on a day when three buddies and I set off up the trail from Logan Pass to Hidden Lake on a warm September afternoon. The trail was way harder than it looked, the grass was browner than brown, and we didn't have a cloud in the sky. But I was determined to get out to the Hidden Lake overlook, so I pushed on.


When we finally got to the overlook, something didn't look right. Not enough of the lake was in the shot and the peaks didn't look right. What was wrong? I came all this way and something just seemed off. After shrugging my shoulders and getting my cloudless, brown, wrong-view shot, I headed back. The rest of our time in Glacier that year was just as brown and cloudless. As soon as I got home I pulled up THE Ryan Dyar shot and immediately realized that we had stopped way too early on that trail. Even though this was the official platform which had been erected for official photo taking, the shot I was after was much further down the trail. We just assumed the trail stopped there as it seemed that we had "arrived." We didn't realize that the trail we were on actually continued on for quite a while...literally all the way down to the shore of the lake.


Fast forward to last August when I pulled into the Logan Pass parking lot with one objective in mind: Continue up the trail to get the entire lake in view and maybe get one of those goats in the shot. I actually spent the entire day there that day, arriving after a 4 AM start time from Calgary and a stop at the border. As soon as I parked, I was on the trail and this time...I just kept walking. Even though my pack was heavier than my first attempt, I was in better shape and made the trip up to the platform quite easily....and then just kept going. A half hour or so later I was on the shore of Hidden Lake enjoying some incredible views. I was also very grateful for the light that I was getting considering this was the first time in seven days that I wasn't trying to shoot through unbelievable amounts of smoke and haze which seemed to cover the entire Western half of the country.


The hike back up was pretty intimidating, but I eventually made my way back to the car, grabbed some lunch, hiked out onto the Highline Trail, and then headed back out to Hidden Lake for sunset. After shooting for a while, a lone goat made his way right past me and then paused to take in the scenery. I shot him (or her?) for quite a while but these goats don't seem too keen on posing for photos. As I was pretty sure there must be a line in the "Leave No Trace Principles" about chasing goats around and trying to get them to walk straight into the frame, I let this particular goat get back to his dinner and headed back to the car.


Lastly, it was very cathartic to finally get back up there and to be able to keep walking past the viewing platform to the more dramatic views further down the trail...with green covered mountainsides, wildflowers, and even some clouds in the sky! Every once in a while, conditions all come together as hoped and you get to shoot what you were hoping for on the way in. I've never posted my shots from four years ago as just about everything in those photos was disappointing. This time...I was smiling on my way back to the car.




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Taken on August 5, 2018