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Trip Report 16 days in Jewel Basin and Glacier : 2 hikers in paradise...

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It was our 5th time in Montana, and this year exclusively in Montana.

Day 0 : Paris/Kalispell, via Salt Lake City, Delta air Lines, with use of our miles and so in business.
It was very easy and fast to get our car(Alamo) and the, direction Hampton Inn for our first night. Nothing to say : basic large room, quiet, not so bad complimentary breakfast.
Diner was, as usual at our arrival in US a steakhouse : Winchester steakhouse. Very good rib-eye for me, good half-rack BBQ ribs for Anny, with green salad to begin and a berry cobbler for dessert. It was time for a good night…

Sunday , July 29th to Wednesday August, 1st :
After the usual supermarket’s hour, for cooler, food, beverage, pharmacy,…, direction our…
Hotel : Mountain lake Lodge in Bigfork. We discovered it last year and decide to have 3 nights here, to relax(there is a swimming pool), comfort is very good : very large in suite rooms.
Breakfast : we took them at a small “family” grill, near MLL, because they have some very good cherries pies and eggs/toast +/- bacon, sausage are served with various homemade berries jam. I’s not expensive and breakfast with locals has always been a favorite for us.
Day’s occupation : this year, it will hikes and hikes. To begin, we decide to explore the Jewel basin.Camp Misery trailhead is 30 mn drive from MLL. There are 35 miles of hikes here, not too difficult but also not too easy. Combo are possible.
A trail’s map can be purchase for $2 at the ranger’s station while opened, only the week
-end…
Sunday : Birch lake, round-trip 6 miles(+ 1.5 miles if you do the lake’s loop), without great denivelation. Nice scenery, Some “forks” where the map is usefull…
Anny can swim and back to trailhead.
In the evening, we drive to Bigfork for one of the “cabaret’s evening” at the Bigfork
Summer playhouse : artists from the different musicals played here sing some of
musical’s standards : very nice, perhaps too long(2h30, and only drinks : no food).
Diner has been at the Swan River Inn, with view on the marina : salads, wild Alaska
salmon for Anny, Huckleberry braised lamb for me and for dessert we walk to an ice
parlor for Huckleberry ice cream.

Monday : a nice loop : Camp Misery trailhead/Pic-Nic lakes/Black Lake, Jewel Lakes/Blackfoot lake/Twin lakes and back to trailhead.
Whole day hike. It’s sort of “roller coaster” hike, from lake to lake. Anny can swim this day in Black lake, where we have our lunch.
The whole loop is about 12 miles long. There is a “difficult” section between Blackfoot
lake and the high “prairies” where the trail is recovered by some avalanche debris for ¼
mile. With patience and some small ”crawling” passages, it’s possible but you have to
take your breath after that… Jewel lakes were not our favorite, even if they give name
to the basin.
The prairies there and the twin lakes worth really the hike. Flora is just a must with a lot of glacier lilies and paintbrushes(red, purple, orange : much more various than we’ll see after that). We took a small break dominating the twin lakes.
Diner : Mosaic, outside. We took both the trout which was perfect. I drink a local beer,
Anny a glass of wine. The dessert(ice meringue with lemon cream and berries) was just delicious.

Tuesday : Wild Cat lake/Twin Lakes/Back by Alpine trail and pic-nic lakes.11-12 miles round-trip.
The part between Twin Lk and wildcat is succession of “prairies” with lot of wildflowers,
Some patches of snow . The descent to Wildcat is steep and so we have a “snack” break here before going back. Lunch has been at twin lakes where Anny…swims!! Back by portion of the alpine trail : more snow patches and flowers.
Diner : back to mosaic for the BBQ ribs and salad…Very good. Huckleberry ice cream before a musical at BSP : Damn Yankees. Nice, assistance was happy.(We saw this musical in NY, twice : Bebe Neuwirth/Victor Garber and then Charlotte d’Amboise/Jerry
Lewis). Finally, there are a lot of “known” songs.

Wednesday : Clayton Lake : 13 miles round-trip. Very nice hike, with some vertiginous portion, more snow patches. The arrival on the ridge is very scenic with Blackfoot lake, Clayton lake, Glacier park on the horizon, Flathead lake…Anny can swim, and we take a long break here, for lunch , relax and thinking of those 3 days in the basin : lot of nice hikes, lot of wildflowers. Only “lack” : no wildlife-or we didn’t see them… Despite that, we always take precautions : bear-spray, hand clap and speaking in the sinuous parts of the trails.
Anny was able to swim twice a day : early morning at MLL, every day in lakes. Trailhead
not too far from lodge and not too many hikers. That was ideal to begin our sejour and
to acclimatize us to hiking, altitude and heat…

Then drive to Apgar for our first days in Glacier national park.

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    Erik,

    I meant to look you up when we were at Rising Sun. I believe we overlapped there. But life got in the way and I forgot.

    It looks like you had a good start to the trip.

    I anxiously await the parts the are in Glacier.

    I'm considering going back next year to redo a few things and see some of what I missed. Some of the west side and Two Medicine.

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    Wednesday August the 1st to Friday 3rd :
    Hotel : Apgar village inn, 2 stories building on Lake Mc Donald shore . The view is terrific, rooms large and clean. It's quiet as people here respect the "quiet hour policy" from 10 pm to 7am. We had a suite, 2nd floor and so having sunset and sunrise from room and balcony can make the difference...

    Wednesday's diner : we drive to west glacier and get our trouts at Highline restaurant , a "family" restaurant on highway 2, where patrons are half locals, half turists. Their trouts are always delicious and they have very good berry pies...Good choice of local beers.
    In West Glacier there is also a nice "spot" to get real coffee near the T-shirt shop. And for Anny it's the condition for a good morning's start...
    While coming back to the inn, the sky was changing but this sunset was to admire.
    Thursday's hike : our first choice was Quartz lake loop in the north fork, but in fact, weather was not so sure and we decide to drive to North Mc Donald road for Trout Lake and decide where to stop depending the weather...
    That's a real challenging trail : 4 miles to hike to Trout lake...but 2.5 miles with 2100 feet gain and then 1.5 miles with 1400 feet drop...
    A female deer on the way on and by chance lot of mature huckleberries and so occasion to make some stops...Thank to the huckleberries and so possibility to take breath time to time...
    The scenery in Trout lake worth the effort : it's wild, quiet.
    We take our lunch here, no swimm(too cold) and we decide to walk back : no Arrow lake this year due to weather...
    Some more berries on the way "down"(but before down, you have to go up the ridge from the lake!!!).
    It was mid-afternoon and we decide to dome some shopping in Apgar/West glacier, Lake Mc Donald lodge and some trading post on highway 2 we saw the day before.In Apgar there is a nice shop, with good indian objecsta nd a nice photo gallery at 2nd floor.
    No rain, but no sure weather and we didn't regret the choice.
    Diner was at Eddie's the small restaurant in Apgar : we want trouts and as I know the GP facilities on the east side have preffered this year the wild alska salmon to the trout, we try to eat whenever we can...
    Salad are consistant, trouts delicious and huckleberry ice cream ends well the diner.
    Sunset with a thunderstorm's sky, some lightning. Impressive.

    Friday's hike : Sperry chalet, # 13 miles roundtrip, 3300 feet gain, but regularely and so not "too difficult"..
    There are 3 parts in this trail :
    - 1st hour to the fork to Fish lake : not funny, in the woods, only 2-3 openviews on Lake Mc Donald when the trail is near the bridge.
    - 2nd part to the falls : more scenic, nice flowers and the falls are impressive. Switchbacks begin.
    -last hour while seeing the chalet on the ridge is terrific : falls, chalet, trail itself...all is to keep.
    We were welcome by marmott and mountain goat.
    The atmosphere of the chalet is "warm", staff pleasant.
    The "creamy chicken soup" and the blueberry pie were the cherry on the cake!!
    We took an 1h30 rest here because we feel good...
    The way down is easy and since there is a lot to see , you do this way back with the same times to go up...3h30 for us...On the Chalet's brochure they said 4h30 to hike up but we think it's really if you take your time.
    Next year we'll have a night at the Chalet to be able to hike to Sperry Glacier.

    Then, drive to East glacier.
    So, 2 nice diners , 2 fantastic nights, Quartz lake Looop remaining to hike, prolongation to Arrow lake from Trout lk and night at Sperry Chalet...Reasons to come back next year began to accumulate...

    To Myer : yes, I think we miss each other...

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    Friday, August the 3rd to Sunday the 5th.
    Hotel : Glacier Park Lodge
    We decide to try one of the "great lodge" and to try to be not disappointed I reserve a DeLuxe King. My reservation was made in September 2011, the 12th and I was the first to book as there were 5 DLK remaining for atotal...of 5 DeLuxe King at Glacier Park Lodge.
    Check in was effective, quick with a smiling employee but I feel her embarrassed when I aske if we had a mountain view...She respond negatively but assure me that we have a "nice garden view"...
    In fact we were on street lvel with 3 windows :
    - 1st view on a parking where tour operator discharge their buses;
    - 2nd on the exiting road from GPl
    -3rd on a

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    commun balcony(sorry mismatch my fingers...).
    I come back to check in and the explanation they give me " you check in the last and so have the last room in this category"...
    I don't understand this policy and it's not the first time we had this problem in US...First come, first served???
    But in my opinion, first to book, first to have the best room...If you reserve the first in a restaurant you'll have the best table and not the one near the restrooms, if i reserve in theater the first I can choose my seats, no ??
    I speak to a manager and explain my point of view..She find it respectable but their policy is based on schedule of arrival...Strange.
    Finally they offer us the breakfasts, a change of room for the day after, with mountain view and a rate undergraded + some huckleberry toffees and jam...But this policy let me sceptical!!!

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    Erik,
    Those are some hikes!!!

    I hadn't been on a trip with hiking in two years as last year when I went to Banff it was with my wife. I was a little concerned about my aging joints.

    However, I found I can still go all day. It's those darn trail stairs. Some real stairs such as Hidden Lake Overlook and others that are jus part of the trail such as Gronnell Glacier.

    Even though quite a bit longer I ha no trouble with Iceberg Lake.

    That Trout Lake hike looks like some hike!!!!

    I totally agree with you about the room allocation policy. I think from now on when we book we should indicate that while we expect to check in rather late we expect them to keep rooms for us with specific features. Maybe that would work.

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    Diner : both were at the dining room.
    Menu is correct, specials often attractive.
    Game sausage samplers , trout, steak : all was good. Dessert are for some based on huckleberries.
    Nice choice of wine by the glass, some good local beers.

    The hikes were both in the Two medicine area.
    Saturday’s hike : upper boat dock/Dawson pass/Pitakaman pass/Old man lake/ato campground/parking lot. This is a 17 miles loop trail.
    We take the first boat to “avoid” 2 miles for the day and began to hike at 9’40 am.
    From upper boat dock the first part in an “open” wood take you to No name lake, in an relatively easy way. Then, trail to Dawson pass is steep without a lot of switchbacks…. Elevation gain from Two medicine lake is 2500 feet. But arriving at the pass, “the show is spectacular” : view on glaciers, on several valleys,…a fantastic middle of nowhere!! There is some wind here. We take a nice “breath break” with some snacks and then began our way to Pitakaman pass, a # 4 miles “goat’s trail” on slopes of several peaks with vertiginous views on valley. No snow, no water and so no risk of slippery, wind was always here, but in the good direction, pushing us against the mountain and not in direction of the valley. Sometimes you see Old man Lake in the valley but the it disappears behind mountains. Finally you arrive at Pitakaman pass, and it’s possible to do a small detour to Cut bank pass, before beginning stepping down to Old Man lake. Worth the detour…Before arriving at old Man Lake, you dominate Pitakaman lake, a really jewel of lake : color, scenery, all is perfect here.
    Another small break at the pass to have a small lunch and the way back is at its beginning : pass/Old man lake and then auto campground/parking lot : it’s 9 miles to hike, down, but 9 miles…
    Only some marmots here and mountain goats but relatively far…But, here the scenery is the star.
    We were back at 6 pm at the car…Tired but so happy. One of the highlights not only for this year but also from all of our days in Glacier since 5 years… We’ll certainly hike it again!!

    Sunday’s hike : we decide to “relax” and as the weather was not so good 2 years ago while hiking it, we hiked Cobalt lake, 11.4 miles round trip, 1400 feet in elevation gain.
    Three part :
    - 1,6 miles, flat but near some ponds and it’s almost a guaranty here to see some moose and…bingo …As we have time, we take our time to observe it.
    - Then a gentle elevation to Rockwells falls, in open wood with some berries patch(bear precaution not to be missed).
    - After the falls, trail is relatively steep but not too much. Cobalt was nice this year but…cold and so Anny didn’t swim…(there were several snow patch always present directly on the lake shore…).A nice stop here to relax, observe the lake, the mountain, some falls, the trail to Two medicine pass( will be in our schedule…next year!) and we come back to trailhead. At the ponds, another moose and very near and so another stop(we like observe the mooses…)
    - Anny swim in Two Medecine lake, we do some shopping at the store here(old ranger station) and we’ll drive to Rising Sun.
    Sunday, August the 5th to Wednesaday the 8th.
    Hotel : Rising Sun Motor Inn. We had a motel room, on the first block. Advantage is that you have a(partial but real view on St Mary Lake). Room is large, clean and bathroom has been refurbished 3-4 years ago. It’s quiet and the Two Dog Flats restaurant has nice view and correct choice on menu(but no trout this year and no trout in the specials while here..). People working here are pleasant, and often more than in the “great” lodges( but perhaps the patrons here are also nicer!!).
    We discovered RSMI 2 years ago and it became an inescapable stage while in Glacier.

    Diners : all in Two Dog Flat restaurant and also the breakfasts… Game samplers, salmon, steak, salad and also the cakes have been tried. Nothing to complain. Nice choice of beer and they know how to serve it …cold!

    Monday’s hike : Garden wall, from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet with the spur to Grinnel Glacier Overlook and back to the Loop to take the shuttle. 7.6 miles from Logan pass to the chalet, relatively easy, some “climbs” but short, a snow patch, lot of marmots, mountain goats(one of their spot here), and flowers/flowers/flowers. On the other hand, a lot of people because despite some “vertiginous” short section it’s quite flat…Going to the sun road is a problem only the first half-mile and then you did’nt hear the traffic even if you can see the road(if you are not subject to vertigo…).
    The spur to Grinnel Glacier overlook is short, 1 mile but elevation gain is 800 feet…so a “physically intense intermed . By chance, a herd of Bighorn sheep at the 2/3 of the ascent obliged us to stop…thank to them… Just the bend before the overlook, a hiker was coming back telling us : beware, Bear on trail…This animal was arriving from….Grinnel Glacier!!! Last location where we thinked find some bear… So whenever you are in Glacier, don’t lose your attention : wildlife can be everywhere!!
    That was a good surprise!! View from overlook is “magic” and worth the difficult trail . We had a snack’s stop here for 30 mn and then back on mean trail to Chalet. Atmosphere is less attractive than Sperry Chalet, staff less pleasant but as the traffic is heavier, perhaps it can explain this.
    We have our lunch, a relax time and hike down by the “loop” trail, 4 miles…Not the best trail in the park for us…View is not so nice but in fact the Garden Wall is so terrific that we were perhaps too requiring.
    Then, began the hilarious part of our holidays. Shuttle arrives but only 4 seats for 6 hikers…We decide Anny and here to divide us, and I come back to Logan by the shuttle to take the car and drive back to take her and a young couple…on the schedule they wrote an 30-40 mn intervals between each bus…
    1 mn after departure, Sharon our driver said : oops I forgot to say, due to work-road, shuttle are every 10 mn!!!I ask to go out and so expect with Anny(we were 200 feet maximum from bus stop) : no said Sharron I am not allowed to open the doors between 2 stations…
    5 mn after , voice in the radio system : “bus 228 to bus 226, Erin’s wife is on my bus…). But it was Erin’s and not Erik’s wife…I tell Sharon to send a message to other buses and so Anny can take another shuttle…but Sharon finally explain…she didn’t know how to use the radio!!!
    Anny decide to wait me at the initial stop, not knowing how was the condition there and we “loose” 1h30… While going out from the shuttle I look on a paper’board near Sharon’s seat :” Don’t forget to say which stop it is, to say hello to the people…”(this can explain that..) and when I say to Sharon : “don’t forget to tell people before entering the shuttle that some other arrive very soon she respond me : Why??? As we say in France : the arms fall from my body…

    Tuesday’s hike :
    While in “feet” we decide to hike Syeh pass, from Syeh Bend trailhead. Anny didn’t like too much the too steep down trail same trail up and down.
    While driving to trailhead, a young bear(3-4 years) crosses the road, not far from Jackson Glacier Overlook.
    5.3 miles to the pass, 2300 feet elevation gain. Very nice scenery, in particular the Preston park, alpine prairie with wildflowers, some ponds, an 2 unnamed iced lakes…
    The switchbacks at the end were not too difficult because wind was pushed us in the good direction (switchbacks were shorter against the wind…).Wind+++ at the pass, nice views on valleys and an overlook on a glacier impressive. Some mountain goats. We found a nice spot protected of the wind to have our lunch. As it was early in the afternoon while coming back, at the “fork” with Piegan pass trail, we decide to go there. It’s a 2h30 detour, but the trail is strange , on an old moraine, so not much vegetation but dominating a green valley. At arrival, you have view on Swiftcurrent valley…
    Nice herd of Bighorn sheep…And a project for next year : Night at Swiftcurrent, shuttle to Syeh ben trailhead, Syeh Pass/Piegan pass and down to Many Glacier via Piegan pass…

    Wednesday’s hike : Gunsight lake. Last year, it was not possible to hike the whole trail due to avalanche debris not stabilized and snow melt…This year, trail was totally open.
    You began to drop 600 feet to deadwood falls, and then longing a creek you arrive at Florence falls fork. Then, light ascent to the lake. The circus here is also impressive, at least 5 falls, nice spot to eat, and Anny swim…We take our time here, relaxing and projecting the next year trail’s : Gunsight Lk, Gunsight pass and Sperry chalet…
    Back to trailhead, with a lot of “berries” stop : thimbleberries, huckleberries, rasperries…The only time I saw Anny saying “stop to the berries…). In one of the open view on the creek another moose!!!

    Then drive to Many Glacier but before a stop at St Mary : there is here a nice “family” restaurant with homemade pie…We bought a whole razzleberry pie and it will be our breakfast for the 3 last days( Breakfast at the garden restaurant in Swiftcurrent were not very good last year…).
    To be continued and finished the next time...

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    Erik,
    This is some trip you're having!!!

    I reread some of my previous entries and I must apologize for the typos. I had shoulder surgery yesterday (a problem for several years, I planned the surgery to take place immediately after my planned trips for this summer) and while so far I appear to have almost no pain, I'm typing with my left hand only (I'm left handed).

    I'm very interested in Rockwell Falls. First, could you tell me if the falls are as scenic as photos I've seen. They appear to be worth the time and effort.

    I appears there are two ways to get there: either leave from the east side of Two medicine Lake and hike thru Aster Park or take the shuttle boat and hike from there.

    Either way it's possible to hike back to Twin Falls and possibly go to Upper Two Medicine Lake before returning with the shuttle boat.

    Does any of this make sense?

    I anxiously await viewing your photos.

    Thanks.

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    Wednesday , August the 8th to saturday the 11th.

    Hotel : Swiftcurrent motor inn : it’s our address in many Glacier : rooms are large, some bathroom renovated, it’s quiet , in the wood. Effectively, there is no view like Many Glacier Hotel, but atmosphere here has a “je ne sais quoi” which feel you “zen”. Our room this year was near iceberg lake trailhead.

    Diners : twice at Italian garden restaurant : effort on the salads, nice steak, but always this “wild” Alaska salmon(why not rocky Idaho trout ??), good huckleberry ice-cream.
    One diner at Many Glacier Hotel. They have renovated the Ptarmigan room and we find it not so a “reussite”. The ceiling is high and they installed a sort of “false” garden patio in wood who diminish the grandious character of the ancient room…The day we were here, Thursday , they was a 1 h waiting time, but an huckleberry margarita in the parlour, in front of the swiftcurrent lake makes the wait non boring…
    But definitively we are more made for Swiftcurrent type lodge than the great lodge(MG Hotel, Lake Mc Donald Lodge,…). There are so “look at me” people here that Glacier’s atmosphere is not that for us.
    Diner, however is fine and the trout that day was particulary good. The game samplers very fine.

    Thursday’s hike :
    not done last year(closed for bears) we decide to do Grinnel Glacier from the pic-nic trailhead. It has been just re-opened till Glacier(all the snow was gone..).
    First part is along Swiftcurrent and Josephine lake, flat, easy. “Bear posted” and a ranger seen at the spur between the 2 lakes confirm, with a young bear just crossing the trail before our passage…we just catch a glimpse and listen it vanishing in woods. Just take the usual precautions she said.
    At the end of Josephine lake, the trail began its ascent to Glacier. It’s a 11 miles round trip from trailhead, 1600 feet elevation gain .
    It is for us, with Swiftcurrent pass, and now Syeh pass and the Dawson/ Pitikaman pass, one of the nicest hike in the park…
    Not too difficult, some funny sections(the waterfall this year gives a shower at everyone…), Turquoise Grinnel lake in the valley, flowers and at the arrival the Grinnel Glacier : that gives a perfect day.
    For Wildlife, a mountain goat while hiking up, a bighorn sheep while hiking down…
    We miss a wolverine for 5 mn…
    We took a real nice lunch here, for 1 h and look with binocular to the way “our bear” have done from this part of the park to Grinnel Glacier overlook and really it was quasi incredible…
    Way down was peacefull but just before arriving at the transition Josephine and Swiftcurrent lakes, at a nice distance, but with binocular easy to see, 2 young bears(4-5 years) on a flat rock, just in front of a cave…
    They dominate, observe the valley…It was like in a moovie. We take time to look for them and gives the information to other hikers…

    Friday’s hike :
    as this summer has been really dry we decide to hike Cracker lake.
    The first portion(1.2 miles) is common with horse trails, some going to Cracker lake(4-5 horses a day) but also a 1h30 ride in what they named “Cracker Flats”, which is ride 4-6 times a day...and so when the weather is humid this part is muddy and malodorant!! This year no problem, it was dry and even this part was nice.
    You are along what they calls the governor's pond and the mountain reflect in it...
    Then 45 mn in wood with 2 portions of switchbacks, not too difficult.
    Then, you cross the creek and gently hike up to Cracker lake. It’s a 13 miles round-trip with 1400 feet elevation gain.
    The location is one of the most scenic in the park. You are at the end of the circus, no pass to escape…The lake is stupendous.
    And, new “cherry on the cake” : 2 bull mooses in the lake!! That was terrific. We hike till the end of the lake to the old mining machines and have our lunch stop here. We know it was our last real hike and so we really take our times…
    Back to trailhead and last night in Swiftcurrent…

    Saturday, August the 11th :
    Apikunni falls(we cannot let Many Glacier without a last hike…) : short( 2 miles round-trip) but steep(700 feet elevation gain and not in 1 mile because the first ¼ of trail is flat…
    So take your time and everyone can do it…
    The falls are in a small”corrdidor” but to reach really their foot, it has to be cautious, as some part of the trail is slippery…But it worth the effort…
    Then, we drove GTSR to Apgar and Anny swim in Lake Mc Donald as I ‘ve a small lunch with a “home-smoked trout from Eddies”…
    It was time to quite Glacier park, with regrets…but with the next year schedule!!!
    In Missoula we have always our same address :
    Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast on the road to Lolo.
    It’s quiet, relaxing and Brady prepares us a fantastic diner( salad with huckleberry vinaigrette, marinated steak, cauliflower soufflé and mash potatoes, berries cobbler à la mode…).
    We bring our beer and wine.

    Sunday, August the 12th.
    Fantastic breakfast from Brady(his scramble eggs are quasi as good as mine) but the berry muffin is to damn for!!!His coffee is just perfect for European…
    Then 2 hours at the Missoula fair : strange…We were surprised to see it exists always the “cookie’s, pie’s,…” contests with blue, red, yellow ribbons.
    It was to be like a old 50’ movie!!
    We drive to the south-gate mall : there is a nice shop with “montana’s “ products, always one of our stop…
    Finally, downtown with some usual shops : Fast and Fiction, nice bookshop with a nice “local author departments”, an artisanal shop and the antique mall.
    Back to the B&B to be sure all was able to be in the luggage and we end our holidays with “Symphony in the park” : the Missoula’s symphony orchestra plays 2h15 of classical, musical and moovie musics in a familial atmosphere, where tattooed bikers, young punks, old fashioned family, and French turists are together , drinking a glass of wine under blue sky…

    Monday, August the 13th…Back home!!!to arrive the 14th.

    In conclusion,
    A lot of hikes some fantastic but no one to forget,
    Anny swim quasi everyday , some days twice : Mountain Lake Lodge and Glacier park Hotel swimming pool , Birch/Black/Twin/Clayton lakes in Jewel basin, Lake Mc Donald/St Mary, Swiftcurrent/Gunsight/Two medicine in Glacier,
    Lot of wildflowers this year, less wildlife(but in 2011 we had 18 trail bears and so there are years with and years without),
    Sunny sky (only 1 h of rain and one thunderstorm),
    A lot of trouts, local beers,…
    one musical, one concert, one cabaret’s evening…
    And so, see you next year!!!
    I will post a link for some pictures but as my “reflex” broke 2 days before departure and I had no time to buy another , this year only a small camera!!!
    It’s for that essential reason that we have to come back in 2013…

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    Erik,
    What a great trip!! I was switching back and forth between returning to Glacier or going back to Banff and adding Jasper (or maybe both).

    After reading your report I am now leaning toward Glacer.

    We took the Grinnell Glacier hike on Aug 5 and it was closed past the picnic area due to that ice field. I think they blasted it a day or two later. Very good for you.

    I wanted to do Apikuni Falls but decided to go to Fishercap Lake again for the wildlife and save my legs for Bears Hump at Waterton Lakes. Now another reason to go back to Glacier.

    I await the link to your photos.

    Thanks for the report and push back to Glacier.

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    I can't wait to see your photos! Thank you for the very detailed report. It will make my planning much easier when I get to Glacier in the next year or two. As said above, I'm amazed that your wife can swim in those cold lakes. Glad you had a good trip.

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    In fact in Jewel Basin, the Twin lakes were the coldest, but there was a snowpatch directly on one shore...
    There were also the highest!
    In Glacier coldest to less cold : St Mary, Gunsight , Two Medecine, Swiftcurent and Lake Mc Donald.
    In the past year, avalanche was very cold, redrock lake correct, bullhead not so bad, snyder lake good.
    Finally, iceberg, Ptarmigan, and Cracker are realy too cold,, Bowman and Quartz lake superior without problems...Okotomi is nice, Red Eagle also.
    It's Anny's opinion because I never take a swim, lake or sea!!!
    Erik

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    A good excuse to return.

    Very good photos even with a P&S camera.

    I learned a few things from your excellent photologue(is that a word?).

    Apikuni Falls. Next time for sure.

    I will wait a day for long, more difficult (for me) trails to get used to elevation.

    I will spread out long, short and sprinkle some relaxation.

    Thanks for the great trip even though just about the same time as mine.

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    Thanks.
    we say more " an album photo" or a diaporama...
    Your project Rockwell falls/Twin falls and eventually Upper Two Medecine lake is nice.
    If you hiked this year Grinnel and Iceberg, I am sure that Cracker lake is really "do-able".
    Gunsight lake is for me also an option.
    Finally, the trail to Syeh pass till end of Preston park and then Piegan pass are also nice and in your possibilities.
    Piegan has no steep portions.It's very regular in ascent and so not so difficult. And it's really very wild...We saw this year a family with an 8 year little girl who was hiking here without problem.
    And at the end of a progressive stay here, Cobalt lake worth the effort.
    Erik
    PS : as last year, I don't know why while transferring from computer several pictures do some mismatch and are not at their normal location in diaporama(3 this year from Glacier and arrived in Jewel basin!!!).
    For camera the reflex in my opinion allows more for wildlife and also great scenery with a wide angle...and you guess well : false good excuses...We want to be back because we are in love with this park....

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    Erik,

    Yes, we did all of Iceberg. But that was easy as only the start is a little steep.

    Grinnell Glacier is more difficult for me even though shorter.

    It's those steps (sometimes man-made, sometimes rock and somtimes whatever is there) that make it tough. Just getting older.

    I'm almost glad that we couldn't do the last part of Grinnell Glacier due to the snowfield. I definitely would have done it but probably a mistake on the first day.

    Next time I'll wait a day for that.

    I will check out your suggestions as next time (if) I'll definitely get to Two Medicine.

    Your suggestion about Preston Park and possibly Piegan Pass if it's not too steep are possibilities.

    I'll also have to allocate time in different parts of the park. It's possible I won't get to the west side again.

    Another reason for a third trip.

    I was thinking of going to Banff and Jasper together with Glacier since it's a common airport (Calgary) that's very convenient. But maybe best to spend more time in Glacier.

    I find that with towns inside the Canadian parks they're almost to much like tourist towns.

    Thanks again.

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    Totally agree with you to begin by an "easy" hike. The only problem can be time allocated to the stay here.
    Arriving from France, we try to have a minimal 2 weeks stay or more(this year, 2weeks and a half) and that allowed a progressive acclimatation.
    I remember some vacations with difficult hike the first day and it was terrible...
    Second, on Grinnel I'm not sure that "shortening" the trail by the boat is really such a good idea.
    Beginning at the real traihead, from the Swiftcurrent pic nic spot, you began with a 1.3/1.5 mile of esay "flat" walk and it's nice to warm the legs...
    So when you begin the way up, it seems easier...
    I say that because my wife remarks that when the denivelation gain is at the beginning I have some "breath" difficulties, while the same gain in the middle of a hike seems easy to me...
    Erik

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    Erik,
    I just booked lodging at Many Glacier & Rising Sun for early August 2013.

    It appears I'm going with a friend who hasn't been so I'm sure I'll redo some things. This will be a longer trip.

    I forgot to mention. We were in your part of the world in the middle of June.

    We spent some time in Provence and ended with a few days in Paris (been to Paris several times prior).

    Excellent trip.

    I have photos of the trip on my web site.
    www.travelwalks.com

    Thanks for your Glacier ideas and insight.

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    Just seen some of your albums : very impressive.
    Since arrival of digital camera i never find again the quality of my "old" argentic Leica.
    I've tried their digital reflex but digital zoom is not excellent.
    I will try in october while in Boston for a medical reunion their new one, allowing use of my wide angle, teleobjective, zoom(the one i used with my argentic reflex...) . If nice i will buy it.
    If not, i wil take advise of yours opinions (on your recent post...).
    Our next year sejourbis scheduled from july 31st to august 16th.
    A litle change : 3 nights at Apgarband 2 at rising sun to allow some long hike and a night at Sperry Chalet. I will have 2 rooms that day because if the weather did not allow us to hike to Chalet we need a room in the park!!
    Erik

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    Erik,
    The arrival of digital cameras has caused a big problem. In the old days I would take one photo of a scene. Maybe sometimes two.

    I think I took 50 photos of that grizzly on our trail. The same for other scenes. I took between 1300-1400 photos in 4 days. I could scrap 3/4. It takes time to review them.

    I booked lodging for next year from Aug 5 - 12. Swiftcurrent and Rising Sun.

    For sure I want to get to Two Medicine and make a leisurely tour with stops on GTTS road.

    The west side is less of a priority but it would be nice.

    I have to decide if I want to make the trip a marathon and go to Banff (was there last year) and Jasper never been). Five hours drive between Glacier and Banff and a common airport (Calgary). Tempting, but . . .

    It looks like I'll be going with a friend with whom I've travelled several times so I don't as yet have to cut days. We'll see how that plays out.

    Maybe next year we'll get to meet and have a dinner together.

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    We'll be at rising sun the 9 & 10 ,August 2013 and at Swiftcurrent 11,12 & 13.
    It's not so far one/other for a diner...
    A good website with excellent and precise trail's description and some good advises :
    www.enjoyyourparks.com
    Erik

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