A Trip to Glacier National Park

A Trip to Glacier National Park

Apr 27, 2017

by JoAnn Parks | No. 141 (Cadott, WI)

glacier-2.jpg

We hiked near the lakes. Photo courtesy of Jean Dressel and JoAnn Parks.

In honor of the National Park Service 100th birthday in 2016, No. 141 members Jean Dressel and JoAnn Parks took a camping/hiking trip to Glacier National Park (GNP) in July.

At St. Mary's Lake, we hiked to many waterfalls and lakes and past year-old forest fire burns that had quickly started to regenerate.

Wildlife was abundant as we saw mountain goats, big horn sheep, marmots, deer, moose, black bear, and grizzly bears with cubs (from a distance). There must have been a million different flowers in bloom also. The most profuse was the bear grass blossoms, which is neither a grass nor eaten by the bears. Lewis and Clark named it because they saw bears in fields of it.

We hiked by Swiftcurrent Lake, Lake Josephine, and Grinnell Lake but the trail that continued on to Grinnell Glacier was snow covered (in July) and closed.

US GNP merges with Canada’s Waterton National Park (WNP) and together they are known as the International Peace Parks. We joined a ranger-led hike from WNP back into the US. It is an eight-mile hike with both US and Canadian rangers sharing a wealth of knowledge about the parks. There is a special ceremony held on the border half way through the hike. In the evening, we had a peaceful boat ride on Waterton Lake back to Canada.

The day we planned to hike the Highline Trail was so foggy that it was almost impossible to drive the Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass to the trailhead, but we made it. We were lucky to get reservations at the Granite Chalet for that night so we had to go fog or not.

The fog lifted half-way through the day so we took the Grinnell Glacier Spur off the Highline Trail and were able to see part of the glacier and were now looking down at Grinnell Lake that we hiked by the day before on the other side of the mountain. We had rain, sleet, and snow hiking up, but the sun came out as we crested the top.

We spent a night at Granite Park Chalet with clear weather for hiking the next day. We also camped at Lake McDonald and rested before hiking to Trout Lake the last day at GNP.

TIPS FOR GLACIER NATIONAL PARK:

  1. Early reservations (6 months prior to arrival) are extremely important at the NPS campgrounds as they fill up fast.
  2. It is very important to obey the man-made signs and to observe and respect the natural ones.
  3. Your passport is required when hiking the International Peace Parks (managed by United States and Canada).
  4. When in grizzly country, make a lot of noise and carry bear spray!
  5. It is well worth your time to take in a few ranger talks in the evening!
  6. A high-protein diet helps with the altitude change so we packed peanut butter and bacon sandwiches for lunch.
  7. The visitor centers are full of information and the rangers very helpful.
  8. You must be prepared for any type of weather like the day on the Highline Trail we had fog, rain, snow, sleet and sunshine! 
  9. Knowledge of the terrain and wildlife is essential.


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