Glacier National Park 2004

Glacier National Park, July 2004

Friday, July 9

On Friday we arrived in Kalispell, rented a car, and drove to East Glacier. There we checked into the Glacier Park Lodge for two nights.

The lodge was noisy, housekeeping was minimal, and the guards were unresponsive to the inmates’ complaints, but it was a cool-looking building. We should have taken a picture.

Saturday, July 10

On Saturday we warmed up with a 12-mile round-trip hike to Cobalt Lake. Lots of mosquitoes that day.

Two Medicine Lake Two Medicine Lake, where the trail to Cobalt Lake began
Waterfall by trail to Cobalt Lake Waterfall beside the trail to Cobalt Lake
Cobalt Lake Cobalt Lake
Trail from Cobalt Lake to Two Medicine Pass Keith persuaded Mary to go a little further and see some alpine country.
Trail from Two Medicine Pass to Cobalt Lake Looking back. That top-of-the-world feeling, which is why we hike in the mountains.

Sunday, July 11

The temperature was down, the winds were up, the clouds were coming and going, and in general the weather seemed unpredictable. So, we took a break from hard hiking and drove up to Waterton Lakes National Park (Keith’s first visit to Canada).

Prince of Wales Hotel The Prince of Wales Hotel – It has a magnificent view of the lake (especially in better weather)
Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada Cameron Lake, where we did a short, easy hike. Montana is visible in the distance.
Bear at Waterton Black bear at Waterton – Keith thought that Mary got a little too close for this photo, especially since the bear looked young and Mama Bear might be nearby.
Chief Mountain Chief Mountain, on the drive back from Canada with a little more blue sky

Monday, July 12

We didn’t come to sightsee. We came to hike. So, Monday we got back to business with a pleasant little 10-mile hike from our cabin at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn to Iceberg Lake. The trail had been closed because of a family of bears. Monday was the first day it was open, and it stayed open only a few days before the bears were sighted again.

Spruce Grouse, Trail to Iceberg Lake A bird that pecked at our boots at one spot along the way. It was near Ptarmigan Falls and everyone assumed it was a pterritorial ptarmigan (since we were mostly ignorant of ptarmigans). We learned later it was actually a grouse (spruce grouse maybe?).
Iceberg Lake Trail, Keith Keith on the trail to Iceberg Lake
Mary at Iceberg Lake Mary with Iceberg Lake in the background. There’s a reason they call it Iceberg Lake.

We enjoyed watching mountain goats high on the cliffs above the lake through binoculars, but a photograph wouldn’t have captured it.

Tuesday, July 13

Our big hike of the week was the Highline Trail. We took a shuttle from Many Glacier to Logan Pass and hiked from there to Swiftcurrent Pass and then down to Many Glacier – about 15 miles in all.

Mama goat, Highline Trail One of the first sights we saw on the trail: mountain goats up close and personal.
Young goats playing, Highline Trail Young mountain goats playing
Young goats playing, Highline Trail
Highline Trail Meadows d.JPG (377701 bytes)
Hoary marmot A hoary marmot
Granite Park Chalet Granite Park Chalet — good place to stop and eat our lunches
View of Many Glacier from Swiftcurrent Pass View of Many Glacier on the way down from Swiftcurrent Pass — The trail gets exciting in places. You’re walking along and seeing the edge of the trail about 6 feet away and the valley floor a couple of thousand feet beyond. It’s hard for the brain to integrate the two views while you’re walking. Needless to say, you don’t want to trip.
Swift Current Pass 3 d.JPG You can see that here at least it wasn’t a sheer drop of 2000 feet, but it was far enough.
Moose in the Many Glacier area Moose in one of the lakes at Many Glacier (Bullhead Lake we think)

Wednesday, July 14

On Wednesday we changed pace and took a boat-and-walking tour of Lake Josephine and Grinnell Lake. It was a touristy thing to do, but enjoyable. Our ranger guide taught us how to yell to warn the bears away when walking through the woods.

Lake Josephine, seen from boat View from the boat on Lake Josephine. Angel Wing and the Salamander glacier are visible beyond the lake.

After Grinnell Lake we decided to hike as far as we could to Grinnell Glacier. We knew the trail was still closed near the end because of snow and ice, but crews were blasting the ice and the rumor was that the trail might open by the afternoon. We heard the sound of blasting while we were in the valley.

Grinnell Lake as seen from the trail to Grinnell Glacier View of Grinnell Lake from the trail going up to Grinnell Glacier – Mary framed this photo.
Boom! We eventually reached the spot on the trail where it was closed, and we waited and watched while the crew worked to clear the trail. Mary took this photo just after one of the blasts.

Finally a ranger came and told us the trail was open. We were the first two hikers to get through after the trail opened.

Salamander Glacier The glacier in the middle is called the Salamander.
Grinnell Glacier Grinnell Glacier

Thursday, July 15

The Van Cleef family visited Glacier National Park the same week we did. We arranged to meet them Thursday in Apgar Village for lunch followed by a hike to Avalanche Lake. Doug likes cycling more than hiking, I think, but he humored us.

Van Cleef family The Van Cleef family at Avalanche Lake. From left to right: Carol, Doug, Joshua, Jordan, and Daniel.
Jordan Jordan
Carol and Joshua Carol and Joshua
Daniel, Jordan, Joshua Daniel, Jordan, and Joshua
Joshua and Carol, end of trail Joshua and Carol at the end of the hike

Friday, July 16

Keith wanted to do one more strenuous hike to Sperry Chalet (13 miles). We can’t recommend the hike, but the chalet seemed like a good place to visit. The trail is used by horses, and the resulting smell and flies were unpleasant. The weather was also unpleasantly warm that day. Fortunately the chalet had plenty of cheap lemonade and free water.

Sperry Chalet Sperry Chalet
Goat at Sperry Chalet This mountain goat at the chalet seemed almost tame.

Saturday, July 17

By Saturday we had hiked enough and were ready for another easy day. We visited some of the western parts of the park and played in Lake McDonald but did no hiking. Our most strenuous activity was to paddle a rented kayak on the lake for a couple of hours.

Lake McDonald 9:00 pm, final night The Village Inn had a great view of the lake. This was the view from our balcony at about 21:00 Saturday night. The sun set about 21:30, and it didn’t get really dark till about 22:30.