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Trip Report Trip Report - Glacier, Banff & Jasper National Parks - Aug 2013

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Last year (early Aug 2012) I took my daughter to Glacier NP. Being married with a young daughter, she didn’t want to be away for more than 4 days plus travel. As it turned out, that excellent trip was just not long enough for me.

I then began to plan another trip with a friend (he lives in Toronto and I live in South Florida) for this year. Since we were flying into and out of Calgary, the itinerary included Glacier for a week and then Banff and Jasper for 2 ½ days.

Lodging

We stayed at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (motel units perfectly suited the purpose) for three nights and Rising Sun (cabins – washroom very cramped) for five nights. Each provided basic living accommodations though Swiftcurrent rooms were somewhat nicer and in better condition.

We also stayed one night each in Banff, Jasper and Calgary (at the airport). Motels in these locations are clearly tourist oriented and at a higher comfort level.

Flight arrivals and departures as well as crossing the border twice all went off without a hitch. We stopped at the Walmart Supercenter just below the airport for supplies and at Thronsons in Babb for bear spray. We had no problem bringing the bear spray back across the border into Canada.

We entered Glacier about 5PM and decided to immediately get things started with the short but steep hike to Apikuni Falls. This was a good start for two people not accustomed to anything more than zero elevation. After the hike we saw a roadside black bear who didn’t cooperate for photos.

Each of our three days in Many Glacier had at least one visit to Fishercap Lake either early, late or both. There were almost always moose and/or deer there. A good entertainment spot.

During our three days in Many Glacier we hiked to Iceberg Lake, went on the Grinnell Glacier ranger-led hike and hiked to Redrock Falls. Each of these hikes provided its own flavor of spectacular (the words spectacular and amazing will get used often in this report) scenery.

I highly recommend both the Iceberg Lake and Grinnell Glacier hikes. Neither is difficult though Grinnell Glacier is somewhat shorter but steeper and more strenuous. Also, the waterfalls that must be walked thru on the Grinnell Glacier hike could be an issue. We witnessed a fairly serious accident there. Both provide spectacular scenery.

As we began leaving Many Glacier for Going to the Sun Road and the Rising Sun Motor Inn we had not as yet seen a grizzly bear. In a show of confidence I changed to my longer lens and kept the camera on my lap.

Sure enough, halfway to the Many Glacier exit we saw about a dozen people on the side of the road all looking in the same direction. Not just any grizzly but a silver one. I took about 85 pictures and then heard the dreaded ranger’s voice. “If that bear isn’t 150 yards away I’ll start writing $150 citations”. The bear was 24 yards away and the area cleared fairly quickly.

During our 4 days along GTTS Road we spent one day in Two Medicine. That day consisted of hiking to Astor Falls (yet another very nice waterfall) and then Aster Park Overlook. The Overlook hike is short, steep and strenuous. Unfortunately the view from the top is mostly obstructed so not worth the time or effort.

We then hiked to the beautiful Rockwell Falls and after relaxing there hiked over to the boat dock at the end of Two Medicine Lake to catch the boat back. On the way out we stopped at Running Eagle Falls. This is also known as “Trick Falls” as during the early spring this appears to be two waterfalls in one. I was surprised by this waterfall. A lot more than I expected and definitely worth the stop. Also a very nice setting.

Along GTTS Road we hiked the following:

St Mary and Virginia Falls. These are two beautiful waterfalls and shouldn’t be missed.

Baring Falls. I skipped this last year and didn’t expect much. I was wrong.

Hidden Lake Overlook. Beautiful scenery. Not very long nor strenuous. The stairs along the boardwalk can be strenuous for old knees. We saw a mountain goat wandering around the overlook.

The early part of the Highline trail. Mostly just to walk along the cable and view early scenery. I did this last year and was quite comfortable. However, this year I wasn’t quite as comfortable with this area and that immediately past the cable. I’m not sure why. More spectacular scenery.

Along the Siyeh Pass trail as far as Preston Park where we saw a grizzly and cubs.

Avalanche Lake on the west side. Beautiful hike with excellent scenery around the lake.

Visited Logan Pass several times hoping to see bighorn sheep. We “only” saw were mountain goats who put on a show. Somebody mentioned that they must be on the payroll.

Triple Falls. This is three waterfalls forming a “U” shape being fed by stream and falls coming from three directions. I’ve never seen anything like this. Unfortunately it’s in an area near Logan Pass that is not open to hikers. I guess they want to protect the vegetation. We were tracked down by two rangers. One was an enforcement ranger with a stun gun and revolver. She was not happy to have walked a mile to get us. I believe this should be turned into a trail so more people can take advantage of the unique scenery and waterfall.

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