Two peaks in two days – July 17-18 2020.
As we drove home (to Helena) from Bozeman Saturday night, my daughter Amy happily proclaimed, “I had an epic weekend!” I thought to myself, “and so did I”. On Friday, Amy and I, along with my young friend Wade, kayaked in and scaled the nose of the Sleeping Giant 20 miles north of Helena. The next day, Amy and I climbed Hyalite Peak south of Bozeman with my stepson (Mark), our friend Freedom, and our dog Missy. Then on Sunday, I enjoyed an epic nap. 🙂

Apples and oranges.
Both adventures were great, but there were some major differences. The trip to the nose of the Sleeping Giant involved a 3-mile kayak trip on the Missouri River, followed by a brutal 3-mile hike up a steep slope with no trail – all on public land. Our only break from the bush-whacking came when we crossed long stretches of toaster-sized rocks – not loose, but not pleasant either. Although the hike to Hyalite Peak was much longer (8 miles one-way), it followed a gently-sloped, shady trail with several waterfalls, before passing through a scenic cirque that featured lakes, abundant wildflowers, snowfields, and some very cool geology.

A warm, fuzzy feeling.
Both hikes were VERY rewarding! Our prize on Friday was time alone on the nose of the Sleeping Giant, one of the most unique and finest summit experiences in the state. Both Amy and I have been there several times but it was the first for Wade. It was GREAT to get him up there, and it was also fun to get my drone out and take some really cool photos – a first for me on the nose (see photo tour). As for Hyalite Peak, there was a steady stream of people going up and down all day but it was equally amazing. The views were fantastic and the weather was perfect but the highlight was that this was the first time Mark and Freedom have ever climbed a 10,000-footer. I could see that they both learned something good about themselves by pushing through fatigue to reach the top. Witnessing this, and then watching Amy give her big brother and Freedom a flash-course in glissading on the way down, made my day – the best one of the summer so far.

Numbers can be deceiving.
The two photo tours provide many more details about the trips. Our hike to the nose ended up being 6 miles of kayaking and 6 miles of hiking (round-trip) with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. The trek to Hyalite Peak was 16 miles round-trip with 3,400 feet of gain but in my opinion it was easier than than the hike to the nose. My wife Mardi hiked with us to Hyalite Lake, where she waited while we climbed the peak – a nice hike for those not afflicted with “summit fever”. Her hike was 12 miles round-trip with over 2,000 feet of gain.

Below: This map marks hikes that have been featured on so far, including several in Glacier Park – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.