Farewell to Glacier… (May 2017)


Glacier National Park Montana
Storm clearing off Angel Wing above Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana (2010)
Glacier National Park Montana
Wynn Mountain from the Cracker Lake Basin, Glacier National Park, Montana (2010)
Glacier National Park Montana
Mount Helen from Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana (2010)
Glacier National Park Montana
Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana (2013)
Glacier National Park Montana
Remains of the Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana (2009)

THIS IS NOT A HOAX!

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Sperry Chalet (Glacier National Park) 30-Aug-2013

Sperry Chalet Glacier National Park Montana

This was another of our sort’a bi-annual visits to this great park. This year we divided out time between Many Glacier Hotel on the east side and Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side, with the idea of doing some of the trails we’d missed before (or which had been closed due to bear activity). After several days at Many Glacier, we broke camp and spent a day (of nice weather – oh, the irony) getting settled at the Lake MacDonald Lodge, thereby allowing yet another front to show-up for our planned hike to see Sperry Chalet.  The LovedOne decided that staying in the lodge would be more fun than hiking in the rain, so I headed off for the chalet solo, in less than cheery weather.

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Iceberg Lake (Glacier National Park) 27-Aug-2013

Iceberg Lake Glacier National Park Montana

This was another of our sort’a bi-annual visits to this great park. This year we divided out time between Many Glacier Hotel on the east side and Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side, with the idea of doing some of the trails we’d missed before (or which had been closed due to bear activity). There were fires south near Missoula and the air was thick as we entered the park, but, thanks to a passing front that cleared the air during our first night in the park, it was almost clear (there was still a faint red tinge in the air) for the next two days. Today, however, a front moved in, taking some of the thrill out of our hiking plans. 

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Redgap Pass Trail (Glacier National Park) 26-Aug-2013

Redgap Pass Trail Glacier National Park Montana

This was another of our sort’a bi-annual visits to this great park. This year we divided out time between Many Glacier Hotel on the east side and Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side, with the idea of doing some of the trails we’d missed before (or which had been closed due to bear activity). There were fires south near Missoula and the air was thick as we entered the park, but, thanks to a passing front that cleared the air during our first night in the park, it was almost clear (there was still a faint red tinge in the air) for the first two days of this year’s visit.

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Swiftcurrent Pass (Glacier National Park) 25-Aug-2013

Swiftcurrent Pass Glacier National Park Montana

This was another of our sort’a bi-annual visits to this great park. This year we divided out time between Many Glacier Hotel on the east side and Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side, with the idea of doing some of the trails we’d missed before (or which had been closed due to bear activity). There were fires south near Missoula and the air was thick as we entered the park, but, thanks to a front that passed overnight, it was almost clear (there was still a faint red tinge in the air) by the next morning.

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Highline Trail (Glacier National Park) 03-Sep-2010

Highline Trail Glacier National Park Montana

This was the fourth (and last – sigh) hike during our 2010 trip to Glacier National Park. We decided to do a popular but wildly visual loop on the Highline Trail from Logan Pass, along the Garden Wall to Glacier Park Chalet, then down to the Going-to-the-Sun Highway – returning to Logan Pass via the free park shuttle (11.6 miles roundtrip; 800 feet of elevation gain). This was our most crowded hiking day – I think we saw about two dozen people on the trail.

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Dawson Pass (Glacier National Park) 02-Sep-2010

Dawson Pass Glacier National Park Montana

This was the third hike during our 2010 trip to Glacier National Park. We were at the Many Glacier Hotel again this year since it is at or near several trailheads. There is also a shuttle from the hotel to the free shuttle service that operates within the park and this allows us to do several long loop trips as dayhikes.

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Ptarmigan Tunnel (Glacier National Park) 31-Aug-2010

Ptarmigan Tunnel Glacier National Park Montana

This was the second hike during our 2010 trip to Glacier National Park. We were at the Many Glacier Hotel again this year since it is at or near several trailheads. There is also a shuttle from the hotel to the free shuttle service that operates within the park and this allows us to do several long loop trips as dayhikes.

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Cracker Lake (Glacier National Park) 30-Aug-2010

Cracker Lake Glacier National Park Montana

I first visited Glacier National Park back in the mid-1970’s but, after that, it never seemed to win the vacation contest against yet another trip to the Sierras, North Cascades, Yellowstone, etc. We “re-discovered” Glacier three years ago, realized what we’d been missing, and have now been there three years in a row – still only scratching the surface of its many hiking and backpacking possibilities. We learned to visit the week prior to Labor Day as this is past the peak of the tourist season, so accommodations and trails are less crowded and the weather is (usually) good. This year we got to the park via the overnight Amtrak train service direct from Portland, Oregon – much better and safer than a 1,200 mile roundtrip car ride. We were at Many Glacier Hotel again this year since it is at or near several trailheads. There is also a shuttle from the hotel to the free shuttle service that operates within the park and this allows us to do several long loop trips as dayhikes.

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Piegan Pass Trail (Glacier National Park) 02-Sep-2009

Piegan Pass Glacier National Park Montana

Last year we made a reconnaissance visit to Glacier National Park – our first time back in almost 30 years. We did one hike (Scalplock Mountain Lookout) in the extreme southern end of the park but were put off by the hoards swarming around the hikes further north. We gave it another try this year and (almost by chance) hit on the perfect time to visit the park: between the last week in August and the concession closures in mid-September. By then most folks are past their holidays and the crowds have thinned considerably.  This time we stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel (very nice, but there’s also a motor hotel and a campground nearby). Several major trails start right from the hotel’s backdoor and there is also a hotel shuttle (not free) that connects with the National Park Service (NPS) shuttle (free) that runs across the park.

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Grinnell Glacier (Glacier National Park) 31-Aug-2009

Grinnell Glacier Montana

This is THE iconic hike on the east side of Glacier National Park. And thus it was the one where we encountered the most other hikers (20-30, including a ranger-led hike). It’s 11 miles roundtrip, and with 1,600 feet of elevation gain, from Many Glacier Hotel to Grinnell Glacier, so we got an early start (easy to do when the trail starts right from the hotel).

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