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Trip Report Trip Report - Glacier National Park Aug 4-9, 2012

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I took my daughter on this trip. Being married with an almost 6 year old she wanted less days and I wanted more. We settled on four plus travel.

I had reserved lodging at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (2 nights) in Many Glacier and Rising Sun Motor Inn (2 nights) on Going to the Sun Road along Saint Mary Lake. Neither luxurious. Both adequate and very convenient.

After checking out the various flight options I decided on Calgary. It’s a four hour drive to the Many Glacier lodging and only an hour more than from Kalispell and Great Falls. The number of good flights was the clincher.

Day 0.
I thought we’d arrive not much later than 5PM and originally planned on doing either of the Apikuni or Redrock Falls hikes. However, just as we passed the Many Glacier Hotel turnoff there was a grizzly on the hill above the road. Pretty far up but still a grizzly. So much for plans.

Day 1.
Sunrise photos at Swiftcurrent Lake.

I had made reservations for the boat shuttle across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. The Grinnell Glacier ranger-led hike looked like a good starting idea. The ranger immediately told us that she was not permitted to go past the snack stop due to snow cover on the trail. Instead we’d return from there and go to Grinnell Lake (we also went to Hidden Falls).

In a way I’m glad we didn’t go any further as my aching joints were feeling the many steps. I don’t mind a relatively long (for me) hike but those steps. . . .

On the boat ride back we saw a grizzly along the shore of Lake Josephine. We also saw hiker coming towards it from both sides. The ranger on the boat was frantically waving her arms.

Spectacular scenery.

After returning we decided to do the Redrock Falls hike. I knew to veer over to Fishercap Lake on the way. This lake provided the biggest wildlife bang for the effort of any location we visited.

We spent a while watching a male moose eating in the water. When he decided to leave the water he caused some drama as he was headed right towards us. We continued on to the Falls. A very nice multi-tiered waterfall.

On the way back a deer jogged by and then my daughter was facing a grizzly who was in the woods no more than 15 yards from her. She got a quick photo while I had my hand on the bear spray. We quickly left.

We stopped at Fishercap Lake and this time saw a female moose in the water near the shore.

Day 2.
More sunrise photos at Swiftcurrent Lake.

We decided to do the Iceberg Lake hike. The ranger-led hike left at 8:30 and we left an hour later. Eventually we caught up with them. More spectacular scenery.

This hike was much longer than Grinnell Glacier but much easier. Not very steep and few stairs.

A few people jumped into the freezing cold lake. Not me.

About two-thirds of the way back we saw a grizzly walking parallel to us about 10 yards above our trail. We stopped, took some photos and waited for it to move on. However, he came down onto our trail and walked in front of us for a few yards, stopping in a very small stream crossing the trail.

He turned towards us to pose and decided a mid-afternoon cooling-down bath was a good idea. He spent about a half hour relaxing in the water as we did our duty photographing it.

By the time he decided to get up and move on the line of hikers behind us must have been over a hundred yards long. I’m sure those further back than the front saw nothing more than the backs of those in front of them. Something to remember for a long time.

Before leaving for Rising Sun we decided to take one more hike to Fishercap Lake and this time saw a large male moose and some deer all up close.

Day 3.
Sunrise photos at Wild Goose Island.

We went to Logan Pass early to make sure we had a parking space and started with the Hidden Lake hike. I found this one of the more strenuous hikes due to the number of stairs. It was fun walking on snow wearing shorts in sunny, mid-80s weather. Again, more spectacular scenery.

We saw several big horn sheep but they were quite a way off.

After returning we went right across the road to the Highline trail and immediately got diverted by a family of mountain goats. They seemed to know where we were going so they moved ahead into good posing positions just above the trail.

We decided that we would only do about a mile of this hike. The goal was to hike past the end of the cable and see wildlife and scenery. The trail along the cable really isn’t scary at all. It’s quite wide. Again, more spectacular scenery.

After returning to the visitors center we snacked and drove over to the St Mary Falls trailhead. The hike to St Mary Falls and on to Virginia Falls was just the right length. The waterfalls were a lot better than I expected. After going to Yellowstone and Yosemite I didn’t expect much but I really liked them. Small enough to get up close and large enough to be impressive. Each had their own character.

Day 4.
More sunrise photos at Wild Goose Island. Then I drove along Going-to-the-Sun Road until the cars were backed up at the road construction.

We drove over to Logan pass to look for some big horn sheep or mountain goats but the lot was full so we went a short distance to Lunch Creek. This is a very nice cascading waterfall that’s definitely worth the stop.

Our choice was to go to Two Medicine for a few hours and add almost two hours to our driving or start heading back towards Calgary and detour over to Waterton Lakes in Alberta.

Not long after entering Waterton we took some photos of the Prince of Wales Hotel and stopped at a picnic area for a snack lunch.

Cameron Falls in the town was another interesting stop.

I had heard much about the Bears Hump trail so we decided to do it. This relatively short hike is very steep and full of high stairs all the way up. Just what I needed.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the top it had clouded over and the view wasn’t what it would have been on a clear day.

I’m thinking about going back to Glacier. However, how do you beat four days of clear blue skies, warm temperatures, more wildlife than I’ve ever seen and that spectacular scenery. I have a tough decision to make.

Photos of the trip are at:
www.travelwalks.com

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