We were so excited as we crossed into Glacier National Park last week. We were here two years ago and had to cut our trip short, so this stop was much anticipated. Of course the beauty of Glacier never gets old.
We arrived in late afternoon, parked our trailer and set off on the “Going To The Sun Road” in early evening. After several stops and many “oooh and ahhh” moments, we made it to the top of Logan Pass and were greeted by four big horn sheep.
An omen for a great National Park visit for sure. This road is generally packed with cars and pick-up trucks but it slows down in the evenings and the daylight goes on forever so it’s a great time to be out. We finished with the iconic location of Wild Goose Island and although the sunset didn’t work, Mike ended up back there later for a sunrise shot.
It became our routine to head out in the evenings after dinner in search of wildlife. The Rangers, the Visitor Center, and even the introduction movie had stressed the fact that Glacier has a very healthy bear population, and we were determined to find as many of them as we could.
We found a great meadow not too far into the park and were rewarded at least three times-twice with a mother and her cub. We saw both Grizzly and Black Bears at this location. But we also found them even when we weren’t looking, often right on the side of the road.
Very cool. But it wasn’t just bears, we also were up close and personal with mountain goats.
We thought they were elusive, but not these guys, sometimes you have to shush them off of the trail.
One of the big items on our agenda for this trip was to hike the Highline Trail. I was pretty apprehensive because it was twelve miles long, but I figured I could make it since we had been walking so much on this trip.
We had so many 10 plus mile days I thought it would be okay. Well it was more than okay, it was spectacular. You follow the Continental Divide along a ridge from Logan Pass, at the top, to Granite Park Chalet seven or so miles away.
The views along the way are unbelievable.
There is no road in to the chalet so all the supplies have been brought in by helicopter. We welcomed the opportunity to rest and buy much needed water. Mike got to follow the rest of the men after a grizzly was spotted out near the trail.
Not too bad so far.
Next, there was a four mile hike down to the loop road where our truck had been parked. Oh my gosh…this was a killer. Of course my legs are already gone and now the constant downhill slope through “the furnace” as one ranger described it, was taking its toll. Oh yeah don’t forget the flies and mosquitoes. Yikes I would have paid a lot of money to get airlifted out of there! Of course we made it, but it did take several days of recovery for me and my feet are still not too happy. Would I do it again? Not sure–ask me later.
We also spent a day at an area of the park called Many Glaciers. It is a small area with a lot of trailheads (no hiking for me!!) but also a Swiss chalet hotel on the banks of a lake. Wow, I think it may be on my list of places to stay on my next trip to Glacier. Very peaceful way to spend an afternoon.
We finally said good-bye to Glacier and headed north into Canada for Waterton Lakes National Park.
So different from Glacier but with the same amazing views.
The village of Waterton is inside the national park and it was perfect. Small enough to walk everywhere and big enough to find a restaurant or two to enjoy. The lake offers a boat trip back into Glacier with some incredible views but, unfortunately, we had a bit a bad weather, so that wasn’t an option!
We had a huge rainstorm on one afternoon and a gigantic hailstorm the next afternoon. The hailstones were so big, the size of marbles, we thought our windows might break and the sound was deafening.
It was a first for us but no damage. All in all it was a great way to spend a few “hike recovery” days. All rested up, we make our way further north to Banff National Park, stay tuned.