Glacier National Park, Montana -Day 6

We again woke up at 5am to get a jump on the day and people. We drove to Many Glacier and our plan was to hike the 12 mile round trip to Grinnell Glacier. The glaciers in the park are shrinking and they estimate that by 2030 most of the ice formations will not meet the definition of a glacier so this was one we really wanted to see. Along the road to Many Glacier we spotted a Grizzly! We couldn’t believe it…we’d been looking for one all along and there he was clumsily walking through the forest. We couldn’t get any good photos of him since there were so many trees in the way and we just sat there in amazement! We watched him get up on his hind legs, stand up, lean backwards against a tree and start to scratch his back. It was hilarious to see his “arms” in the air waiving like “he just don’t care”!

Sadly, this is the best photo of the Griz scratching his back

We were the first to get to the trail head parking lot and took off as soon as we could. It was crazy to see signs posted all around warning of bear activity in the area. One sign read “we cannot guarantee your safety”. I don’t usually expect anyone else to guarantee my safety but I’m sure many others do. We made lots of noise along our hike and kept our eyes peeled for any other bears. Hiking up was awesome. We were the only ones on the trail, the sun was coming up as was the temperature. We hiked by 3 lakes the first being the one pictured below, Swiftcurrent Lake.

The 2nd is Lake Josephine. The trail was still fairly flat around this lake but then it gradually starts to climb from there. The trail also becomes pretty narrow. Like a single track for hiking.

The 3rd and most beautiful lake (in my opinion) was Lower Grinnell Lake. It has such a deep emerald color that I couldn’t take my eyes off of it as we hiked along. We were told that the emerald color comes from the minerals on the glacier. The minerals are so fine and refract the light and gives it that spectacular color. The picture just doesn’t do it justice.

There were plenty of friendly-seeming marmots along this trail. This little guy was sitting at the top of a rock and was making a high pitched noise. I figured he was looking for his friends but what do I know…I don’t speak marmot.

We finally reached the glacier and it was beautiful! Ice everywhere melting into a kind of lake. We sat on the rocks next to the water/ice and could feel the chill in the air even though the sun was beating down. We made our sandwiches of salami and sharp white cheddar on a bagel and ate while we took in the views.

As we were heading back down we could see the three lakes and where we had started from. It was just wide open views. We had a long way to go (and a short time to get there). ha ha.

After snacking we headed back down only to find that the crowds were climbing up the mountain. Glad we started early to avoid the people but we did have to contend with the hoards on the way back. There were so many people coming up the trail that we figured we didn’t need to make as much noise for the bears since it sounded like Costco on a Sunday afternoon. Apparently, we were wrong. Hubby yells out “bear” and I looked up to see a huge black bear on the trail directly in front of us about 100 or so feet away. He was beautiful, shiny, and jet black in color! I yelled at him to make him move along right as hubby was trying to get a photo of him. Sadly, all we got a photo of was his bum!

A little ways down the trail a tiny little garter snake crossed my path and I screamed like a little school girl. I love how the bear didn’t make me scream but the snake scared the shit out of me! Guess I know what kind of animals I’m NOT fond of.

After the long hike we figured that a beer was definitely in order! We headed to the Many Glacier Lodge to seek the sunny deck and a cold beverage. We both had the Big Sky Brewery Summer Honey ale which was the perfect compliment to a hot day. We sat on the deck for a while hoping to catch a glimpse of a moose near the water (apparently he was there the day before) but no luck.


~ by willtriforbeer on August 22, 2012.

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