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Glacier National Park

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Jul 31st, 2013, 10:02 AM
  #1
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Glacier National Park

I won't elaborate to much since much has already been said about GNP.

We flew into Calgary because of AA frequent flier mileage. Flights were all on time, customs and border crossing were all very quick. Flying into Calgary is not to bad, if you plan on seeing Waterton area. I think it would be much better to fly into Kalispell, but can't argue with the free flight and the fact that everything was on time and smooth. We spent the first night at Calgary Delta hotel. This is very convenient as it is about a 3 minute walk after you get your luggage. Our bags were the first ones off, so we lucked out. We were in our rooms in about 10 minutes after getting off the airplane.

I wouldn't say I was disappointed in GNP, but it didn't grab me as much as it did my wife. She really loved it. I was disappointed in the amount of snow and the waterfalls. I like gushing large waterfalls. The weeping wall was just going so so, IMOP. This is my 34 national park. It would certainly rank in my Top 10, but not sure it would crack my Top 5 list. I was very glad we stayed at Many Glacier. The highlights for any first time visitor, surely would be Many Glacier and Logan Pass. I guess I thought the snow and wildflowers might be like that at Mount Rainier. I thought some of the waterfalls would be really rocking. Some of the shorter ones were going ok, but none of the taller ones going strong.

We did see 7 or 8 bears all within a mile or two of Many Glacier Hotel. Saw many Mountain Goats on the Hidden Lake Trail within 15 feet or so of us. Also saw a coyote and several marmots on the Hidden Lake Trail. Had 2 Bighorn Sheep right near our car on the GTSR. We actually thought one of the bighorns was about to ram our car, as he seemed to act like he was about to twice, but he never did.
Right at the entrance to Many Glacier hotel, there was a bear that put on a show. He was close to the road, but several feet above us(maybe 20 foot high and 30 feet from the road). Cars and people were parked below him. He started turning over rocks looking for food and huge boulders started rolling down the hill. They narrowly missed the cars and people below. These were very large rocks/boulders. We never did see any moose. I was a bit afraid to hike, even with the bear spray. I carried bear spray just to walk to the car.

We did boat rides/tours from Many Glacier Hotel, at Two Medicine, and at Rising Sun. The tour at Rising Sun is the best bang for your buck, IMOP. Two Medicine is very pretty and looks somewhat like Many Glacier area. I was surprised that Trick Falls was only a single fall and not two. I guess you have to catch it very early in the season. The boats are a bit expensive for what you get. They are a good way to see area's of the park if you don't want to hike or good way to end the evening if you have had a long hike earlier in the day and not up to hiking any more. The boats have a lot of interesting history.

Enjoyed Tea at Prince of Wales in Waterton. This is a stunning location. Enjoyed meals at Park Cafe and Izaak Walton Inn. Had a meal at Many Glacier and thought it was good too. I will say I thought the Fondue was very unusual. It had Grain Mustard in it, which I've never seen before in Fondue. We couldn't decide if we liked it or not. Had a great meal at OEB in Calgary and enjoyed Jimmy's AA Deli before gettting on our airplane for the return trip home. Had good breakfast at Sunrise and Swift Current.

I should mention, that if you plan to go to any national park, the follow them on Twitter. They give a lot of info on twitter that you might not otherwise no about. We have ATT and had very little cell phone coverage. It seemed that people with Verizon had decent coverage. Actually, it is fine with me if there weren't any coverage in national parks.

Our main two hikes were Hidden Lake Trail and Iceberg Lake. Both excellent trail and both very busy. The amount of people on trails really doesn't bother me. I can deal with a lot or absolutely nobody. I feel safer with a lot of people when there is wildlife around. We didn't see any bears on Iceberg Lake Trail. The reward at the end of the trail is fantastic. I found both trails to be easy.

I most likely will return to Glacier at some point. I would probably hike Highline Trail, spend the night at Granite Chalet, and then over Swift Current to Many Glacier on my next trip. Would also probably hike Grinnell Glacier too.

Here is a link to my photos.
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...0IatW7FqybsWn9
__________________________________________________ ________________
Myer,
My plan to leave the bear spray failed. I bought UDAP in Babb. When I got to the border, the man asked me if I had pepper spray and I said yes. He asked what brand I had. I was told that I could only bring across Counter Assault. That was actually the brand I had wanted anyway, but didn't see it in the store I had been in in Babb. Anyway, I left it with the border crossing agent. We tried.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 11:38 AM
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Did you leave the bear spray with a Canadian agent?
If you had known, you could have left it with someone at the hotel that was headed out to the trails.
You can always leave the cell phone on airplane mode and use it if you encounter an accident or bear attack.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 12:43 PM
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I usually take the ranger guided hikes in wildlife territory b/c I'm afraid to go out on my own. On the rare occasions when I do find myself hiking alone I sing and clap and make the usual human noises they tell you to make to frighten the bears away.

It's not much fun, tho', b/c I'm still wary and I usually feel so foolish that I hope to avoid other humans as much as animals.

You were lucky to see so many bears - black or grizzly? There was one grizzly visible on the mountains when I was at Many Glacier and bear watching was the major activity each evening.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 02:11 PM
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Sounds like you had a nice trip. Thanks for reporting.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 03:02 PM
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spiro,
Odd about the bear spray. Last summer I took spray that I bought in Babb from Glacier to Waterton Lakes. Eventually as we left for Calgary I gave it away. I don't remember if the border agent ask or not.

Funny that each thing you mentioned was spectacular but overall you weren't impressed. In my opinion the scenery in Glacier is second to none. You are very close to everything.

Granted it's not really a waterfall park. Did you hike to St Mary and Virginia Falls. I thought that even though they weren't as tall as those in Yosemite, the shapes were really nice. I like them more than the tall stringy waterfalls in Yosemite. Except Vernal Falls which you get up close to.

In the two days we were in Many Glacier we went to Fishercap Lake 3 times. Each time we saw at least one moose in the water. We also saw a few deer between the lake and the main trail. Fishercap Lake is only a 10-15 minute walk from the far end of the Swiftcurrent parking lot.

On the way back from Redrock Fall (about 1/2 - 3/4 mile past Fishercap Lake we saw a deer jogging past us and a grizzly watching us through the trees. That concerned me as we were alone on the trail in the woods and it was starting to get dim. My daughter took a quick photo as I started to pull up the bear spray. Didn't use it as we slithered away and the bear just watched without moving.

I'm not a boat ride or tour bus person. The only boat ride I took (and will do so again next week) is the one at the start of the Grinnell Glacier hike.

Now I'll go back and take a look at your photos.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 03:11 PM
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Went back to see the photos. I think you had a good trip!!

We were in the same spots at the hotel (Prince of Wales). We also hike on snow going to Hidden Lake. We were in shorts and t-shirts.

You even got some grizzlies.

I don't think you went to St Mary or Virginia Falls.

Now, of course, you have to go back. You're more adventurous than me (younger).

What was the temp like?
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Jul 31st, 2013, 03:20 PM
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Forgot to mention.

If you're going to Many Glacier, it's really not much different time-wise from Calgary or Kalispell. And Calgary is a real airport.

Also, it's one road all the way to Many Glacier. And a smooth, level road.

As you mentioned, if Waterton Lakes is in your plans another good reason for Calgary.

We're not stopping in Waterton Lakes but spending a couple of days scouting out a trip to Banff and Jasper and Yoho.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 03:34 PM
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Effecticvely Glacier is not a realy "cascades" park, but you can find some spectaculars, unfortunately in moderately strenous hikes :
Florence falls on the way to Gunsight lake,
Apikuni falls
The falls before Sperry Chalet
Are pretty nice and large...the succesion of small waterfalls with blue water on the way to Avalanche lake is more accesssible
And finally one of our favorites are the falls on the way to Cobalt lake...
But what we preferr are the lakes
Erik
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Jul 31st, 2013, 04:00 PM
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bulldog...I loved your photos! Especially the mountain goats at Hidden Lake, it's almost as if they were posing for you. We are going next month and I can't wait to get back to Glacier. I'd be curious to see your list of top 5 parks. Glacier is my absolutely favorite National Park. However, we are heading to Mt. Rainier and Yosemite also this summer, so I guess my "favorite" could change!

Next time, try Dawson Pass (or awesome pass) and Scenic Point in Two Medicine. They are usually both on the ranger led series, so you won't have to worry about hiking alone. The hikes in Two Medicine are not nearly as crowded as in Many Glacier.

http://www.hikinginglacier.com/dawson-pass.htm

http://www.hikinginglacier.com/scenic-point.htm

Thanks for your trip report and pictures...suddenly, I'm craving coconut pie from The Park Cafe!
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Jul 31st, 2013, 05:54 PM
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I did enjoy my trip and would like to go back sometimes. I felt the same way about North Cascades last summer. Neither place just really blew me away, yet were still super beautiful.

Yosemite is my #1 My wife and Daughter would both say Yellowstone

Yellowstone would be #2

Mount Rainier #3

I really like Zion, Bryce, and Arches-would be hard to seperate those for the next positions.

#7 Carlsbad Caverns- I wouldn't be so high on it, if it weren't for the wild cave tours offered there. Totally amazing.

Lassen, Sequoia, Glacier, Redwoods, and Kenai Fjords would be all high on my list as well.

Crater Lake ranks right up there with the Grand Canyon for that initial wow factor. Really you only need a day at CL and no more than that at GC, unless you hike or raft. I have rafted the last 1/3 of the GC and did enjoy that.

Death Valley and Mesa Verde were two that totally surprised me on how much I enjoyed them.

Hot Springs would rank dead last. Unfortunately, it's the only one that is within a days drive of me. I'm still not sure why it's a national park.

Wave,
I'm afraid Yosemite would not be my favorite had I not gone in late May. Waterfalls were just amazing then. The wildflowers and mountain is spectacular at Mount Rainier.

I did a bit of Backpacking in Guadalupe National Park last fall. I'm thinking of doing some more backpacking.
I have Saguaro NP planned for April next year(2014) and Black Hills(Custer, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Badlands, Mount Rushmore) planned for end of May. Plan on going to Acadia next year in October.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 06:00 PM
  #11
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Myer,

Temp was slightly warm the first day, but the next days were perfect. It did rain the last day, but that was ok as I sometime enjoy the rain. It rained on us briefly right at the end of Iceberg hike. We just ran out of time to hike St. Mary and Virginia Falls.
We were scared to hike Fishercap that last evening due to the number of bears we had seen. My wife was really freaked out, and she was content to watch bears in the car. We spend a couple of hours just driving down the road near Many Glacier and even had a bear on each side of the car at one point. A ranger came and scared one bear off with gun firing blanks. He had pepper spray out, but I don't think he used it. He said the bear was way to close to the road. I'm not really sure about that as the ranger with him was kinda shaking his head about the whole situation.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 06:10 PM
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I have found that hiking at places with water is much easier than places with no water(Utah or Guadalupe for example). I have one of those water bottles with an internal filter(Sawyer is the brand). I just empty it and get fresh cold water whenever I want. This way we just have to pack one bottle. You just want to make sure you have water sources along the way.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 06:17 PM
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I just had a chance to view your photos. Very nice. Some great wildlife shots, and it looks like you had some very interesting meals.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 05:23 AM
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bulldog - You may be right about our timing at Yosemite, unfortunately since we're combing our trip to Glacier with Mt. Rainier and Yosemite, summer is the only time we can make it. I do have to agree with your about Yellowstone and Zion - both are on my top 10 list too. So many parks...so little time!
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Aug 1st, 2013, 07:38 AM
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I'm tempted to say Glacier has the most beautiful scenery. It has some waterfalls but not the gigantic ones like Yellowstone Lower and Yosemite Falls. But still really nice shapes.

Wildlife for our very short trip was amazing.

Leaving this Sunday for a longer trip there.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 10:11 AM
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It was fun to read your impressions of Glacier. Your photos show waterfalls and wildflowers and wildlife to match the best of other parks. Except for the fact that Zion is my favorite park, simply because I knew it first and best, Glacier would be number one of those I've seen. Perhaps your expectations were higher? If you do manage to go again I bet you enjoy it better for knowing more what to expect and thus being able to enjoy what it offers. I've been three times and each for a only a very short visit, but it is heaven to me. We went last in late May when the pass was still closed and most trails snowed over. It was an incredible visit. Absolutely stunning. And yes, Running Eagle Falls had two streams. http://tinyurl.com/k3x2v79
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Aug 13th, 2013, 05:29 PM
  #17
maj
 
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Glacier was our third national park to see in the late 90's. We loved it at that time -- our first time to see mountains like that and the color of St. Mary's lake was spellbinding. We have since been to other national parks and also the Canadian Rockies (which to me is Glacier on steroids)so I understand why you were maybe a little underwhelmed. Also were in Yosemite in mid May when the Tioga Rd had just opened and the falls were magnificent.

Spirobulldog, my question for you is why is Mt. Rainier so high on your list? We haven't been there yet but hope to in the near future.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 06:52 PM
  #18
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Wildflowers!! I've never seen anything like it. Perhaps we were just there at the right time(2nd week of August 2012)or maybe it's good for several weeks(I'm not sure). Perhaps the weather really cooperating was a big plus too(but for some reason, we have almost always been lucky at National Parks).
Mount Rainier is somewhat like Alaska, so I suspect similar to say Banff, but just one single mountain that is snowcapped very nicely.

The mountain is fantastic too. Somewhat like Alaska even, but just the one solitary mountain there.

To be honest, it really is hard for me to rank them. They are all just different and great in there own ways.

If you do Rainier, you should also include Olympic, North Cascades, and San Juan Islands. Olympic might not be as spectacular, but it has more diversity than any place I've seen(and while they might not be a 10, they are certainly a 9). Meaning great beaches, mountains, rain forest, lakes, etc all withing a few miles of each other. Cascades is similar to Glacier, far less people and more snow. I likes Sunrise at Rainier, but I liked Paradise area better.

I to the Canadian parks, my parents have and they enjoyed it. They generally don't hike, so I'm sure I would really like it. I have been to Alaska(Kenai Fjords and Lake Clark)that is very hard to beat. Crater Lake is spellbinding lake I've seen. Amazing!!

It's hard now knowing whether to go to a park that I've not visited or return to one of them again. Most of them I've only been to one time.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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One very hidden gem is Buffalo National River in Arkansas(I go there several times a year). It has some of my favorite small waterfalls. One in particular, called Glory Hole Falls, is just super. It's only about 20 feet tall, but the setting and the way it falls through the hole in the rock is just great. Pictures and youtube don't begin to do it justice.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 10:50 PM
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Spiro,
I'm not back yet. I'll be back Thur evening. I have to say we saw a lot of excellent waterfalls. Very few of the named falls are visible roadside. You have to work for a lotof what yky get at Glacier.

We didn't see as many bears as last year bht saw some amazing things.
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