Saturday, July 24, 2010

WHAT Was I Thinking?

I'm taking a little break from the Lewis and Clark circuit and spending some time on the east side of Glacier National Park. The main reason I'm here is that I've always wanted to hike up to Grinnell Glacier. It's normally an 11-mile round trip hike with a 1600-foot elevation gain.

However, you can cut several miles off that length by taking 2 boat rides across 2 lakes. The boats leave from Many Glacier Hotel. This is a shot of us getting on the 2nd boat at Lake Josephine.

Once you get off the second boat (the arrow is pointing to the dock), you hike around the end of the lake, over the little bridge, and then start climbing. (And climbing, and climbing...)

Our goal is behind that first mountain, somewhere near the red arrow.

The scenery was probably the prettiest I've ever seen, and wildflowers of all kinds were everywhere.

This is my favorite - called Beargrass.

And why is it called Beargrass? Meriwether Lewis collected a specimen in 1806 and called it beargrass, but no one knows why. Deer, elk, and bighorn sheep savor the flowers, but bears don't. (See - I managed to get in a Lewis and Clark reference!)

At one point on the trail, you have to walk through a waterfall.

This cute little hoary marmot was working the waterfall, posing perfectly above Grinnell Lake.

Then, he came over and sat down beside me. Whoa! Look at those teeth!

Funny, I didn't see him on the way down. I guess he knows nobody has any food left then...

The trail went on and on and on, and I started wondering "What was I thinking?" Near the top, a lot of the trail was covered by snow.

Here the trail had to be marked with little red flags.

But finally, I made it! It was difficult to tell exactly where the glacier was. It appeared to be under a frozen lake and may be easier to see later in the season.

Anyway, I got there, was happy, and it was all downhill from here. This shows the whole glacier, 5 pictures put together. If you want to see it, you better hurry up. All the glaciers in the park are expected to be gone by 2030, only 20 years from now.


  1. Thank you for the beautiful photos and commentary. It is a spectacular place.

  2. Great pictures. Looks like a great hike, but I doubt I can get Anneke up the trail after she broke her ankle in a trail in Big Bend :(

  3. Way to go Diana, in a place full of great hikes, you picked one of the best; and one of the most challenging.

  4. I've climbed more than a few glaciers in my life. But none in short sleeves and sneakers. :)

    Looks like you had a lot of fun.

  5. Spectacular post Diana...I know it was tough but YOU did it and THE photos are AWESOME well worth the your little friend he seems very used to people---
    Thanks for talking that hike for all of us in case we dont make it there by 2030..OMG that sounds so far away but only 20yrs my oh my.

  6. Loved the hike and the photos today. Awesome! Looks like you captured the beauty of the area perfectly.

  7. WOW Great hike and photos.
    Bob & Donna

  8. Great photos especially of that marmot. Well and of the beautiful scenery too. Thanks for taking us along. Definitely worth the detour.

  9. That is our kind of hike! Can't wait to make it out that way. Beautiful scenery, thanks for taking us on the hike with you.

    Kevin and Ruth

  10. As always great pictures and what a hike, thanks
    Dan (Bubbadan)

  11. Fantastic! So you're saying August would be easier? Although 7 miles or so at that altitude would never be easy. Just gorgeous, gorgeous pictures! I'll put it on my list. I'm so glad I have you to check these things out for me.

  12. What fantastic photos!!!
    Now that is a HIKE!!

  13. That is so sad about the glaciers being gone in 20 years, the poor earth is just falling apart. Beautiful pictures though and how great to get the one of the furry critter sitting right next to you, what a wonderful adventure you had!

  14. August WOULD be easier, because you wouldn't have to trudge through the show, and it also might be easier to see the glacier.

  15. Wow! What an amazing, beautiful hike! I loved your pictures and the hoary marmot was the cutest little thing!

    Thanks for linking up to my National Park post! I enjoyed following along on your hike. :)


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