Hiking through glacier country

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
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Trip End Jan 31, 2012


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Where I stayed
Granite Park campground

Flag of United States  , Montana
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 4
Once the bus got back to Logan pass started walking along the high line trail. This trail runs from the pass along the side of the valley (high up the side above the road) towards Granite Park campground. Lots of nice views to be had along the whole walk. Spent the first hour chatting with a teacher from spain who didnt really want me to get ahead of her. She sounded as if she was a bit worried about bears on the trail.

Didnt come across any bears but did come across some other animals. First off ended up having a Dall Sheep stuck between myself and another group of people heading the other way. Climbed up above the trail but as the people pushed the sheep closer to where I was it decided to head down hill away from the trail.

Second animal I cam across where the big horns, A number of these could be seen above the trail. Once again one of these animals got caught on the trail between me and another group but this time when it was forced past my position it just stayed on the trail and quickly scooted past.

Eventually reached the Chalete near the campground, grabbed a drink and stayed in the porch for a bit to take in the views. Seems that in the end most of my hike so far has not really been right into the backcountry since most places have been accessable by day hikers or have lodgings for people to stay in.

Headed to the camground next which was suppose to be full but had no once else camping there except me. While hiking there ran into a couple of guys who had seen a bear half a mile from the campground (though heading downhill and away). Decided on an early dinner and while cooking had a scared. All of a sudden something jumped out of the trees behind me and given the talk of bears my heart jumped in my chest. Running into a bear while preparing food has got to be the worst time for it to happen.

Thankfully, in the end, it was just a deer munching on the grass. This though does remind me that unlike some parks the Glacier park ranger recommend leaving everything besides food in your tent. It appears the animals are attracted to the salt you sweat and there have been instance of things such as boots being carried off or mutilated by deers or porcupine.

Finished teh day off wandering up the hill near the campground since the campground itself didnt have any views of the valley beneath it. Heard something outside the tent that night but once again it was only a deer.

Day 5
Heading to Many Glacier town and the nearby campground via Swift current pass. On the way out from camp saw some more deer and a bird of prey gliding overhead. Originally went past the turnoff to SwiftCurrent Lookout but in the end decided to head back and do the 2mile roundtrip side trip.

Illegal to leave my pack at the intersection so had to take it with me up the steep slope. At least took up the first 3 quarters of the way up but then decided to leave it behind. Given the out of way plave with nothing but rock around I couldnt see a bear showing up and could probably get back to my pack quickly if needed. Certainly easier going wthout the pack so was willing to risk it.

Nice 350 degree view from the top of all the surrounding valleys and lakes within them. Even a nice view of a couple of small glaciers. Also interesting to not the building located at the top which had a guy living in it. Not sure what the buildings for but at a gues I would say it was a weather station.

Headed back down after 30minutes or so and kept following the trail over the pass which for the most part was down hill. Best views yet all the way down of the valley with its lakes as well as the nearby glacier. Saw lots of day hikers heading in from the other way.

On the way down ran across a few rangers sitting on a large rock tracking a bear. Unlike Denali I got the impression that not a lot of bears must come into the populated trail areas. Main reason being that it appears that once a bear has been spotted the rangers maintain a watch on it and keep track of where it goes.

Hit Many Glacier and visited the shop there to buy some food before heading to the campground. Not a backcountry campground. Rather a normal campground with a few sites allocated for bckcountry hikers. In the carpark near the store saw lots of people. Appears tha the rangers had set up a number of scopes for people to use to watch the bears who were living on the slopes just above the local area.


Day 6
Had booked a second night in Many Glaciers so headed out for a day hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel. Once again had some nice views along the way and after reaching the tunnel decided to head through. Appears that the tunnel had been blasted through the rock near the top of teh mountain so that donkeys could get through the area. Had originally planned to stop at the tunnel but could see that I would get some nice views further along the trail.

Even though I was heading downhill and would have to head back up, decided to walk down for almost an hour in order to get a better angle to view lake Helen from. Lots of nice views here. While I hadnt seen many people all morning, on the way down the trail, passed a lot of people heading up. Appears that they had all been camping at lake Helen the night before. This would definately be a nice park of the park to explore.

On the way back decided to head up to Iceberg lake which was a side path I had previously passed. This is also the main path that most people doing day hikes in the area take. Made it up to the lake and passed through a nice field of wild flowers. Once I got to the lake I saw a couple of small icebergs but not many. As I read somewhere, the park originally had something like 125 glaciers all of which have shrunk and all of which will disappear by 2020. Guess that when the lake was named the glacier above it was bigger and there was more ice in the lake.

On the way back down someone pointed out a bull moose which I watched as it cooled itself off in a shallow pond. Good thing I had the binoculars since it was a couple of hundred meters away. Also had an elk pointed out to me but this was over half a Km away and even with binoculars looked like a small dot. Finally upon getting near the camping area sawone bear and a bear with 3 cubs on the slope above m. This was the same slope I had seem people looking at the day before in the car park though from the trail I was definately closer to the bears.

Note that the video I have of a slope should be showing a bear moving though at the resolution the video is shown it might be a bit hard to make out the bear moving along the slope.

Day 7
Got up early to catch the bus to Lake St Mary where I could catch the shuttle. After getting on the shuttle decided to do a few short day walks on my way out of the park. Ended up getting off a couple of times before Logan Pass to visit St Marys Falls and Jackson Glacier Lookout.

After that headed back to Logan pas where I changed shuttles and headed back to the entrace of the park and hiked back out to the train station. Had made it with plenty of time to spare.

In the end, probably would have had enough time to hike back over one of the passes from Many Glacier to the Sun Road where the shuttle runs but originally hadnt really given it much thought due to myself thinking I would not have enough time to do a hike and make the train.

 
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