What Occurred To Us At Glacier Nationwide Park

Glacier Nationwide Park has at all times been a bucket checklist merchandise for me, however probably not for Doug. Should you’ve learn his article a few Chasing an Countless Summer time, you’ll know that Doug isn’t an enormous fan of being chilly. In equity, he has at all times labored exterior, and we lived within the Northeast; the chilly has by no means been his pal. However for me, I’ve at all times been a fan of all 4 seasons.

After I was youthful I used to be an avid skier, so the chilly winter months meant that sport had returned to my life every year. Why Glacier Nationwide Park although? It isn’t like I may ski the glaciers. It simply at all times appeared just a little mysterious to me, so I simply kinda needed to see it for myself and test it out. So that is my Glacier story…

We met up with mates in West Yellowstone and toured Yellowstone Nationwide Park with them in mid-August. This was the second time we had skilled Yellowstone, third time exploring Montana, so I knew it was an ideal time of yr to aim to persuade Doug that we must always enterprise the 6 1/2 hour drive additional northwest to Glacier.

I imply, we’re residing the RV Life-style now, and we’re striving to do as lots of our bucket checklist gadgets as we are able to, so my thought was, “Why not?” I’ll admit, persuading Doug to park subsequent to “Big Ice Cubes” as he put it, wasn’t simple. However he knew it was a daydream of mine to go, and we’re working each of our bucket lists, not only a joint checklist, it actually was a superb time of yr to go that far north, so we did it!

We actually fell in love with Montana whereas we had been right here, so we took our time attending to Glacier. Which meant we nearly misplaced that “good time of yr” argument that I had heading into this journey.

After I say we took our time, I imply, we took practically a complete month to make the 6 1/2 hour drive. By the point we arrived on the West Entrance it was now mid-September.

This wasn’t fully unplanned, but it surely was just a little later than we had needed. For the 2022 season the Nationwide Park Service started requiring a Car Registration Go for a big a part of the Going-To-The-Solar Street from 6am to 4pm, which is actually the street that takes you from one aspect of the park to the opposite. That move wouldn’t be required after September eleventh.

Our thought was that if we waited till Labor Day there could be much less individuals making an attempt to get the move every morning as a result of it was the shoulder-season, and we might have much less issues coming into the park. We did nonetheless want the move, however with just a little planning, we didn’t have any points getting one. So in that regard, our plan to attend till after Labor Day did work out.

We arrived on the Hungry Horse Dam Recreation Web site late on the ninth which is barely 20 minutes down the street from the West Gate. The Car Registration Passes are launched at 8am the day previous to your entry date. Sadly, they’re solely launched on-line, and there was ZERO cell service the place we had been staying.

We obtained up early on the tenth, drove out to the place we knew we had service, opened up each telephone’s and a pill and saved refreshing the location till the passes had been launched at 8am. We scored one instantly on my telephone, paid our $2.00 payment and had been set to enter the park on the eleventh.

I needed to do a hike whereas right here, and actually needed to the touch a glacier, however I had completely no thought which hike would enable that to occur. Plus, I now wanted to coax Doug into climbing to a “Big Ice Dice.”

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The morning of the eleventh, we obtained up and drove into the park, we needed to drive Going-To-The-Solar Rd, and if nothing else, I wanted a map! When coming into the West Entrance, the park is de facto rather less than spectacular for the primary 10 miles or so. It’s fairly. I don’t imply to downplay the fantastic thing about it, however we drove previous Lake McDonald, after which the waterfalls that feed the lake.

We drove by way of forests of spruce bushes, however these are all views that each of us have seen earlier than. We’ve seen lakes and waterfalls and bushes. The mountains within the backdrop of the views from the Going-To-The-Solar Street at this stage of the practically 50 mile drive had been pretty small, even in comparison with different mountains that we had seen, and drove over, on our means as much as Glacier.

glacier national park
We stopped to soak up the view whereas driving the Going-To-The-Solar Street in Glacier Nationwide Park.

However then we drove by way of a good activate the street, got here out of the bushes, and all of that modified. All of a sudden we had been trying up at mountains that appeared to haven’t any peak, they simply ran off into the clouds the place their tops had been unseen.

Earlier than you understand it, you might be driving up the switchbacks of this street that has a sheer cliff face off one aspect and the opposite is a stone wall. You’ll be able to see the lake and contributing streams beneath you, you’ll be able to see numerous mountains throughout you. There’s no rushing on this street.

Even in case you tried, the mountains themselves would pressure you to decelerate and take within the view. The drive is full of twisting, turning, uphill, hairpin turns. There are a number of small pullouts the place individuals park and glamour on the sights, we stopped a number of occasions ourselves.

Doug was driving, and since the street requires such a loopy stage of focus to navigate, he couldn’t respect what I used to be capable of see from passenger seat with out making these stops.

At one level we went round a bend to the left and perhaps 200 yards in entrance of us was as soon as once more the sheer rocks of a cliff that pressured the street into a good bend to the precise. There was a really small little pullout that was already full, site visitors was stopped as autos slowly made the two tight turns and jockeyed for a parking spot. My eyes caught the motion similtaneously a girl standing subsequent to her parked automobile began pointing. I feel we concurrently stated, “THERE’S A BEAR!”

Fortunately we had been at an entire cease, and the bear was straight in entrance of us on the rocks, so I used to be capable of level it out to Doug. Now, I had the GoPro in my palms, however the bear was simply out of the gap for the GoPro to actually see it with a transparent image. The grizzly was navigating the rock wall like Spiderman!

Doug rapidly pulled out his telephone to attempt to seize it on video so we may share it with everybody on our YouTube episode about Glacier, however within the pleasure of the second, the footage got here out extra like one thing you’ll see from a Sasquatch sighting video than that of a bear scaling a mountain. Oh nicely. We each obtained to see it, I suppose our YouTube followers miss out on our Grizzly expertise, or will they?

glacier national park
You can begin to see just a little little bit of a Glacier on the mountains within the distance.

We continued up the street, climbing and climbing seeing scattered glaciers off within the distance alongside a number of mountains as we went. It truly is simply as mysterious and delightful as I had hoped for. The glaciers actually simply appear to be seasonal snowstorm that hasn’t melted.

However it’s September, there hasn’t been any snow but, which implies this snow has been right here since at the very least final yr. Lastly, we reached the very best level on the Going-To-The-Solar Street at Logan Go.

The elevation at this level is 6,646′. Once we began off passing Lake McDonald, we had been at 3,153′. At this level, even Doug was impressed with Glacier Nationwide Park and the sweetness that it holds throughout the gates. After Logan Go, the drive down the mountain has simply as many switchbacks however at the very least your engine and transmission get the chance to chill down just a little bit.

We stopped on the St. Mary Customer Heart on the East Gate simply earlier than we exited the park and spoke with a Ranger there for help in choosing a hike for the morning of the twelfth. She reviewed the map with us and identified that there was one other entrance on the east aspect, north of the one we had been about to exit known as the Many Glacier entrance.

She stated, simply because the title implies, that there are Many Glaciers there and several other hikes that we may do to get to at least one. New mates of ours, Kevin and Taylor (@slowdeathsuv on Instagram) had been in Glacier whereas we had been in Yellowstone.

Taylor had let me know that they did the Grinnell Glacier Overlook hike. The Ranger knowledgeable us that this was one of many extra common hikes as much as a Glacier as a result of it was one of many shorter hikes. By shorter, I imply it’s posted as being 5.7 miles every course. The hike can also be categorized as a ‘Strenuous’ hike on the Glacier Day-Hike suggestion sheet. Canines aren’t allowed to do any of the path hikes inside most Nationwide Parks, Glacier included.

We knew that no matter hike we opted to do, she must keep within the camper, so we needed to do one of many shorter hikes so she wasn’t left too lengthy by herself. The Ranger tell us that the Grinnell Glacier hike was value it, however that we must always plan for a full day of climbing… However it was the shortest hike to get to a glacier.

Osprey Daylite Cinch Daypack

We went out to the truck and talked about it. The place we had been tenting, it was a 2 1/2 hour drive to get to the trailhead of this hike. There’s a campground throughout the Nationwide Park at St. Mary’s, but it surely’s a first-come, first-serve. We did a drive across the campground to find out if there was even websites giant sufficient for our camper. We stopped and requested the Ranger on the campground how late within the day is it earlier than the campground often fills up, and had been pleasantly shocked after we had been instructed it wasn’t till about midday.

We made the choice that as an alternative of doing our hike on twelfth, we might stand up early, pack up, and transfer the camper over to the St. Mary Campground. Like this we had been solely half-hour from the trailhead as an alternative of the two 1/2 hours. So, even when the hike did in reality take all day to perform, we didn’t additionally need to account for the 5 hour spherical journey from Lagertha.

We’d simply do our hike on the thirteenth as an alternative. On the suggestion of our pal Vera, we stopped at Murdock’s and picked up some canned oxygen as a result of we’re flatlanders, and the elevation was more than likely going to get to us. Now, apart from shifting the camper, we had been set for our hike.

Glacier National Park
Our view from our website within the St. Mary Campground inside Glacier Nationwide Park.

The subsequent morning we made it over to the brand new location with time to spare, and some websites nonetheless out there that we may squeeze into, and obtained ourselves set again up. The remainder of the day was spent with Lagertha ensuring she had greater than sufficient train and time with us since we might possible be gone a lot of the following day. We made our lunches, packed our climbing baggage, and went to mattress early.

We had been up, dressed, and had walked Lagertha, and had been on the street by 6am on the thirteenth. We drove as much as the Many Glacier entrance and had been on the trailhead for the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Hike by 7am.

There have been a couple of different individuals headed out on the hike across the similar time as us, we handed some on the path, some handed us. Some we simply performed leap frog with the entire means. At about 2 1/2 miles in, the climbing get’s underway. When two out of form 40+ yr previous’s begin climbing up a rattling mountain I can promise you, it isn’t fairly.

It was a balmy 40 levels out after we began, and we had been each sweating and gasping for air. The canned oxygen was a real life saver, as a result of we saved going. We took breaks after we wanted too. We stopped and ate a sandwich, however we saved going. Doing a hike, any hike, you actually get to see and respect the views a lot greater than if you simply drive the principle street by way of the park.

We felt very a lot the identical means in Yellowstone. You’ll be able to see loads from the principle loop, however you expertise a lot extra in case you depart the pavement behind you. Plus, you get to see issues that a lot of the guests to the park don’t get to see.

Canned Oxygen – Moveable Oxygen Can

At about 9am we had handed a couple of of our fellow hikers and had a few 10 minute lead on anybody behind us. We aren’t certain what the time hole was in entrance of us, however we hadn’t seen anybody for some time. The hike is difficult. It’s arduous. It’s strenuous. The upper you go, there are extra rocks than bushes. The path is single lane in most areas. You cross tiny little waterfall creeks, traverse rocky outcroppings, and move by way of some shrubbery alongside the best way. However we’re drained…

Glacier National Park
Climbing Up The Path To Get To The Grinnell Glacier – Drained, However Nonetheless Going.

I’m in entrance. Doug is behind me. We go round a bend to the precise and I finished useless in my tracks. Doug truly bumped into me as a result of I finished and backed up so rapidly. I didn’t dare yell, however I very quietly stated, “BEAR!” and Doug seemed up in entrance of me. This was no small black bear cub. No. This was a full grown behemoth grizzly bear and it was lower than 5 toes from me in the course of the path! I didn’t need to startle it for concern that will immediate it attacking.

You’re presupposed to make noise whereas climbing so the bears get spooked earlier than you get close to them. We had been making noise. Belief me. If nothing else, we had been gasping for air like 2 fish out of water! Like fools, we didn’t pack bear spray, and even when we had, I don’t know that we had a necessity to make use of it at this level. It wasn’t coming after us. It was simply standing there. Consuming it’s berries from the bushes. Is 9am breakfast time for 500 lb grizzlies? I don’t know!

Doug rapidly obtained in entrance of me and instructed me to “GO!” I actually struggled with this. Was I presupposed to go and depart him there to be attacked by the bear? How far was I presupposed to go? What was he truly able to doing if the bear did assault us? What was I able to doing if it attacked him whereas I used to be ‘going?’ What was I going to do, throw my granola bar at it?

He rapidly let me know that he meant GO! And he meant NOW! And far additional than the preliminary 3 toes behind him I used to be presently standing. So I did. This was the 2nd time in my life that I used to be lower than 10 toes from a rattling bear on a hike. The first time was on our household journey to Yellowstone and that encounter was much more comical than this was.

glacier national park
Grizzly On The Path Whereas Climbing the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Path in Glacier Nationwide Park.

I made it about 50 toes again down the path constantly trying again to verify my knight of a husband was nonetheless protected, after I noticed him lastly begin heading again in my course. I breathed a sigh of aid and slowed my tempo just a little for him to catch up. We continued again down the path to a big rock the place we had been capable of sit down at a protected distance from Mr. Grizzly. By this time, the ten minute hole had closed behind us and other people had been beginning to catch up.

There have been about 5 hikers that we instructed concerning the bear whereas we sat there and processed what had simply occurred and regarded our choices of constant the hike. I can’t communicate for each of us, however I do know I used to be a bit shaken up. We considered turning round and beginning to head again to the truck. We’d made it over 4 miles up. We’d seen the glacier within the distance. We had been out of form. We weren’t making an attempt to kill ourselves with this silly hike. Or higher but, be killed!

Wait. Simply wait. Touching a glacier has been on my bucket checklist for so long as I can keep in mind. I persuaded Doug to park subsequent to ‘Big Ice Cubes’ so I may very well be right here. Then I satisfied him to endure an 11.4 mile hike so I may contact one. WHAT AM I THINKING?! I must preserve going. I would like to do that. Not simply because Doug will possible by no means let me stay it down that we made it 3/4 of the best way there after which rotated, however as a result of I NEED TO DO THIS!!

A bucket checklist merchandise is inside my grasp and I can’t backdown now as a result of a grizzly was out consuming it’s breakfast. Nope! Not taking place! Not one of the 5 hikers that had handed us got here again. We hadn’t heard any screaming. In order that was that. We saved going. I’ll admit to being fairly nervous as we continued. Particularly after we went again by way of the bear zone and much more so when it was gone and I didn’t know the place it was. However we saved on trekking.

Ultimately, we caught again as much as one of many {couples} that had continued previous the us by way of the bear zone. They had been pleased for us that we had made the choice to proceed on the hike. They even stated that they had been speaking about us and had been actually hoping that we didn’t determine to go again down after making it up to now. However additionally they knowledgeable us that what we walked into wasn’t only a grizzly consuming breakfast. Seems it was a Momma Bear and her Cub out consuming breakfast.

That they had seen each climbing again up the mountain by way of the comb after they handed the realm. HOLY CRAP!!!! Now I really feel actually fortunate! Not solely did we’ve got a grizzly bear expertise, however we had a Momma Bear Grizzly expertise and we weren’t attacked whereas she was defending her child. A part of me nearly wished they hadn’t instructed us that half. However solely part of me. Principally I feel it’s fanatical! And wild! And positively and undeniably some of the invigorating experiences of my life to date!

At 9:45am my watch was studying that we had achieved the 5.7 mile hike up the mountain. Per the maps, we ought to be at high and on the finish of the path. And I suppose we type of are. There are out of the blue benches to relaxation. The bottom is extra flat (ish). There are pit bathrooms. However there’s no glacier. You realize what there’s although… An indication that claims one other .4 miles to the Grinnell Glacier Lake. Oh! Okay! So the map solely tells you the way far it’s to the benches and toilet. Obtained it! Thanks Nationwide Park Service for that.

No worries although! We’ve performed 5.7 miles up to now, what’s one other .4? We’ve obtained this! Or so we thought… That final .4 miles is sort of straight up! I feel we had been taking a break each 10 toes by way of this part of the path. However we saved going. It’s solely .4 miles.

glacier national park
We Made It To The Prime! We Can See The Glacier!

And nicely value that final push. We crested the highest of large boulders and there it was. Essentially the most pristine crystal clear blue lake I’ve ever seen… proper in entrance of us. It had colossal chucks of ice all all through it that I can solely name Iceberg’s. And barely up the adjoining mountain was the iceberg that had shaped this unimaginable excessive elevation lake. The identical iceberg that created the little waterfall creeks we had crossed on our journey up. The identical iceberg that contributed to Josephine Lake far beneath us. There it was! An nearly completely white, gargantuan, strong chunk of a “Big Ice Dice!” We did it! We made it to the highest! We made it to the glacier!

It’s wonderful how our our bodies acquire this little further quantity of vitality after we can see a end line. Like we’ve been holding onto it for simply this very second in our expedition. Yeah, I do know, it’s known as adrenaline, but it surely’s nonetheless fairly excellent. As a result of impulsively I used to be nearly operating by way of the rock area to get to the lake. I’m undecided if Doug was simply making an attempt to maintain up with me, or if he felt the identical means, however I simply wanted to the touch it!

We sat down on a flat rock proper alongside Grinnell Lake. We ate our lunch. We loved and appreciated the view. We took the time to permit our our bodies a second of relaxation, after which we put our palms right down to the lake. The floor of the water had the thinnest little layer of ice throughout it. It broke so simply after we put our fingertips to it after which broke much more as we submerged our palms. It was so chilly, but additionally so refreshing after our trek. We took our required selfie and began on our means over towards the glacier itself.

We made it about 100 toes earlier than I checked out my watch. I seemed over on the glacier and the hike that also wanted to occur earlier than we obtained there. It was most likely shut to a different 1 1/2 miles away, and thru an entire boulder area that neither considered one of us was actually ready to do. It was now 10:30am. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get right here. In all probability, at the very least, one other hour earlier than we may get to the glacier itself, and we nonetheless wanted to get again down the mountain.

We nonetheless had Lagertha patiently ready for us within the camper, and our legs had been already feeling like Jell-O. I took a minute to guage my bucket checklist. May I do that? Yeah. I could make it over there. I can contact it. Do I would like to do that? It’s been on my checklist for therefore lengthy. We’re proper right here. We’ve come this far. However at what expense?

Is being right here on this lovely second not sufficient? Will our again and legs maintain out lengthy sufficient for us so as to add 3 extra miles to this hike? And you realize what… I rotated. Not as a result of I used to be overly anxious about Lagertha. Not as a result of I used to be involved with our our bodies giving up on us. However as a result of this unbelievable wonderous second sitting beside a glacial lake 6.1 miles up a mountain with my husband was sufficient.

I didn’t want to the touch the precise glacier to make it particular. This entire expertise has been distinctive. We had simply sat right here sweating to dying in 60 diploma climate huffing oxygen into our lungs at an alarming fee and had probably the most romantic peanut butter and jelly lunch EVER! Yeah. This was sufficient. This second put the large ol’ checkmark on my Bucket Record.

glacier national park
Most Romantic Lunch Date EVER!

We made our means again down the mountain. We made it down in 2 1/2 hours. Humorous how gravity and elevated oxygen within the air help in making the respectable a lot quicker than the accent. There have been considerably extra individuals headed up the trail at this hour than there was after we began off. Somebody most likely ought to have instructed them how lengthy to plan for this hike…

In the event that they made all of it the best way to the highest after which got here again down, it could possible be darkish earlier than they reached the underside. However that might be their choice to make. For us, we did it! The ache in our knees and in our backs as we climbed into the truck was value each single a kind of arduous steps.

We had been again to the camper by 2pm. Lagertha was pleased to see us. We had been pleased to be house. By the tip of the day, after strolling Lagertha a couple of occasions, my watch learn that I had accomplished 14.91 miles that day. Effectively over 30,000 steps. I felt it too. My legs and again had been throbbing. All I needed to do was sleep, however that didn’t come simply with all the aches and pains. However you realize what… Nonetheless value it. All of it.

That’s my Glacier Nationwide Park story. All actual. All factual. I’m tremendous pleased with the 2 of us for making all of it the best way and never backing down. Do I feel everybody ought to go to Glacier NP? Yeah. I do. I feel it’s completely lovely and seeing these huge mountains and the glaciers scattered all through them is one thing we must always all see. I feel trying up within the evening sky and having the ability to see the streaks of gasses from our galaxy are magnificent. I positively assume we must always skip the journey to Aruba typically and luxuriate in what our personal nation has to supply.

Not everybody wants to succeed in out and contact a glacier and undergo by way of 12.2 miles in an try. I’m glad we did although. I wouldn’t commerce these 10 minutes sitting subsequent to Grinnell Glacier Lake for the world. It is best to take a look at our video of Glacier Nationwide Park so you’ll be able to watch Doug’s reactions change the an increasing number of we obtained to see. Plus… Our Grizzly encounter by way of the Bear Zone made it on digital camera! Y’all thought I used to be kidding that it was a 500lb bear!

Watch our Video of our Journey To Glacier Nationwide Park Right here

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