Glacier NP 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 — A 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.