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What Occurred To Us At Glacier Nationwide Park


Glacier Nationwide Park has at all times been a bucket record merchandise for me, however probably not for Doug. When you’ve learn his article a couple of Chasing an Limitless Summer season, 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.

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

We met up with buddies 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 try to persuade Doug that we must always enterprise the 6 1/2 hour drive additional northwest to Glacier.

I imply, we’re dwelling the RV Way of life now, and we’re striving to do as lots of our bucket record objects 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 record, it actually was time of yr to go that far north, so we did it!

We really fell in love with Montana whereas we had been right here, so we took our time attending to Glacier. Which meant we virtually misplaced that “excellent time of yr” argument that I had heading into this journey. Once 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 utterly unplanned, nevertheless it was a little bit later than we had wished. For the 2022 season the Nationwide Park Service started requiring a Automobile Registration Cross for a big a part of the Going-To-The-Solar Highway from 6am to 4pm, which is actually the highway that takes you from one aspect of the park to the opposite. That cross wouldn’t be required after September eleventh.

Our thought was that if we waited till Labor Day there could be much less folks attempting to get the cross every morning as a result of it was the shoulder-season, and we’d have much less issues getting into the park. We did nonetheless want the cross, however with a little bit 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 Website late on the ninth which is barely 20 minutes down the highway from the West Gate. The Automobile 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 cellphone’s and a pill and saved refreshing the location till the passes had been launched at 8am. We scored one instantly on my cellphone, paid our $2.00 charge and had been set to enter the park on the eleventh. I wished to do a hike whereas right here, and actually wished 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 mountaineering to a “Big Ice Dice.”

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

We drove by means 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 Highway 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 approach as much as Glacier.

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

However then we drove by means of a decent activate the highway, got here out of the bushes, and all of that modified. Abruptly we had been wanting up at mountains that appeared to don’t have any peak, they simply ran off into the clouds the place their tops had been unseen. Earlier than you notice it, you might be driving up the switchbacks of this highway that has a sheer cliff face off one aspect and the opposite is a stone wall. You may see the lake and contributing streams under you, you possibly can see numerous mountains throughout you. There’s no rushing on this highway.

Even for those who 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 folks park and glamour on the sights, we stopped a number of occasions ourselves. Doug was driving, and since the highway requires such a loopy stage of focus to navigate, he couldn’t respect what I used to be in a position to 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 highway into a decent bend to the correct. There was a really small little pullout that was already full, visitors was stopped as autos slowly made the two tight turns and jockeyed for a parking spot. My eyes caught the motion similtaneously a lady standing subsequent to her parked automotive 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 in a position to level it out to Doug. Now, I had the GoPro in my palms, however the bear was simply out of the space 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 cellphone to try 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 properly. We each obtained to see it, I assume our YouTube followers miss out on our Grizzly expertise, or will they?

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

We continued up the highway, 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 exquisite as I had hoped for. The glaciers actually simply seem like seasonal blizzard that hasn’t melted. But it surely’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 Highway at Logan Cross.

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 wonder that it holds throughout the gates. After Logan Cross, 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 a little bit bit.

We stopped on the St. Mary Customer Middle on the East Gate simply earlier than we exited the park and spoke with a Ranger there for help in deciding on 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 buddies 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 standard 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 path. The hike can 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 wished 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 mountaineering… But it surely 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, nevertheless it’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 normally fills up, and had been pleasantly stunned after we had been informed 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 actual fact take all day to perform, we didn’t additionally should 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 most probably 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 accessible 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 probably be gone a lot of the following day. We made our lunches, packed our mountaineering luggage, and went to mattress early.

We had been up, dressed, and had walked Lagertha, and had been on the highway 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 just a few different folks 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 approach. At about 2 1/2 miles in, the climbing get’s underway. When two off form 40+ yr previous’s begin mountaineering 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 whenever you simply drive the principle highway by means of the park.

We felt very a lot the identical approach in Yellowstone. You may see so much from the principle loop, however you expertise a lot extra for those who 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 just a few of our fellow hikers and had a couple of 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 tough. 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 cross by means of some shrubbery alongside the way in which. 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 correct and I ended useless in my tracks. Doug really bumped into me as a result of I ended and backed up so rapidly. I didn’t dare yell, however I very quietly stated, “BEAR!” and Doug regarded 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 ft from me in the course of the path! I didn’t need to startle it for concern that will immediate it attacking.

You’re alleged to make noise whereas mountaineering 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 informed me to “GO!” I actually struggled with this. Was I alleged to go and depart him there to be attacked by the bear? How far was I alleged to go? What was he really 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 ft behind him I used to be at the moment standing. So I did. This was the 2nd time in my life that I used to be lower than 10 ft 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.

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

I made it about 50 ft again down the path constantly wanting again to verify my knight of a husband was nonetheless protected, after I noticed him lastly begin heading again in my path. I breathed a sigh of aid and slowed my tempo a little bit for him to catch up. We continued again down the path to a big rock the place we had been in a position to 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 informed in regards to the bear whereas we sat there and processed what had simply occurred and thought of our choices of constant the hike. I can’t converse for each of us, however I do know I used to be a bit shaken up. We thought of 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 off form. We weren’t attempting to kill ourselves with this silly hike. Or higher but, be killed!

Wait. Simply wait. Touching a glacier has been on my bucket record for so long as I can bear 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 maintain going. I would like to do that. Not simply because Doug will probably by no means let me stay it down that we made it 3/4 of the way in which there after which circled, however as a result of I NEED TO DO THIS!!

A bucket record 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 means 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 means of the bear zone. They had been comfortable 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.

They’d seen each climbing again up the mountain by means of the comb once they handed the realm. HOLY CRAP!!!! Now I really feel actually fortunate! Not solely did we have now 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 virtually wished they hadn’t informed us that half. However solely part of me. Largely I feel it’s fanatical! And wild! And positively and undeniably one of the vital invigorating experiences of my life to this point!

At 9:45am my watch was studying that we had completed the 5.7 mile hike up the mountain. Per the maps, we needs to be at prime and on the finish of the path. And I assume we sort of are. There are out of the blue benches to relaxation. The bottom is extra flat (ish). There are pit bogs. However there’s no glacier. what there may be 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. Received it! Thanks Nationwide Park Service for that.

No worries although! We’ve executed 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 ft by means of this part of the path. However we saved going. It’s solely .4 miles.

We Made It To The High! We Can See The Glacier!

And properly value that final push. We crested the highest of big boulders and there it was. Probably 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 under us. There it was! An virtually completely white, gargantuan, stable chunk of a “Big Ice Dice!” We did it! We made it to the highest! We made it to the glacier!

It’s superb how our our bodies acquire this little additional quantity of power 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, nevertheless it’s nonetheless fairly excellent. As a result of impulsively I used to be nearly operating by means of the rock subject to get to the lake. I’m unsure if Doug was simply attempting to maintain up with me, or if he felt the identical approach, 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 approach over towards the glacier itself.

We made it about 100 ft earlier than I checked out my watch. I regarded 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 subject that neither considered one of us was really 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 judge my bucket record. 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 record for thus 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 recognize what… I circled. Not as a result of I used to be overly frightened 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 complete expertise has been distinctive. We had simply sat right here sweating to loss of life in 60 diploma climate huffing oxygen into our lungs at an alarming fee and had essentially the most romantic peanut butter and jelly lunch EVER! Yeah. This was sufficient. This second put the massive ol’ checkmark on my Bucket Checklist.

Most Romantic Lunch Date EVER!

We made our approach 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 folks headed up the trail at this hour than there was after we began off. Somebody most likely ought to have informed them how lengthy to plan for this hike…

In the event that they made all of it the way in which to the highest after which got here again down, it could probably be darkish earlier than they reached the underside. However that will likely be their determination 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 comfortable to see us. We had been comfortable to be house. By the tip of the day, after strolling Lagertha just a few occasions, my watch learn that I had accomplished 14.91 miles that day. Nicely over 30,000 steps. I felt it too. My legs and again had been throbbing. All I wished to do was sleep, however that didn’t come simply with all the aches and pains. However you recognize what… Nonetheless value it. All of it.

That’s my Glacier Nationwide Park story. All actual. All factual. I’m tremendous happy with the 2 of us for making all of it the way in which 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 wanting up within the evening sky and having the ability to see the streaks of gasses from our galaxy are magnificent. I undoubtedly assume we must always skip the journey to Aruba typically and luxuriate in what our personal nation has to supply.

Not everybody wants to achieve out and contact a glacier and endure by means 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 try our video of Glacier Nationwide Park so you possibly can watch Doug’s reactions change the increasingly we obtained to see. Plus… Our Grizzly encounter by means 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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