Published: July 5th 2010July 3rd 2010
They never let you forget that you are in bear country. They even sell $10 bells that jingle when you walk to let bears know you're there
Day 10 Glacier National Park
Now that we have our “warm-up” hike under our belts its time to head out for something more demanding. We talked to a number of people for hike recommendations. Our waitress at the Glacier Lodge
said she prefers the Many Glacier area when she hikes. The ranger at the visitors center in West Glacier suggested a few but seemed to like the hike to Iceberg Lake, which just so happens to be in the Many Glacier area of the park. It was five miles up and along a mountain side to a beautiful lake. A ten mile hike is a piece of cake right? Both of us have done running (jogging/walking) races longer than that, so, we figured it shouldn’t be much of a problem - we can do this!
Let me tell you the first quarter mile of this hike was very difficult. We started climbing immediately after the trailhead sign. My guess is we climbed 400-500 feet right out of the gate. After that most of the trail went up at a more gradual pace, but never the less, it went up . . . relentlessly. Total climb for the hike was
There are gorgous views in every direction. This is the view going to the Many Glacier section of Glacier NP
1,200 feet. Incase you are wondering, hiking trails for ten miles is much more difficult than a half marathon. There are boulders to go around, rocks to step over, and pebbles to slip on. Some of the most challenging sections were fording the many (actually lost count) small streams and water falls along the way. It was not uncommon to be jumping from rock to rock in a stream bed four feet from the top of a waterfall that plummeted 20-50 feet down the mountain side. The snows are melting now and water is running from every rock. Hikers in August will miss all the fun! There was one memorable waterfall we crossed. The water was swift, but not too deep. There were a few rocks to jump to as we crossed, the drop to our left was about 50 feet and to our right was the remnants of a huge snow drift. it was about six feet high and went up the mountain for 100 feet of so. We had about four feet in which to maneuver.
The calendar may say Summer for most of us, but believe me, in these mountains it is early Spring. Wild flowers
We were greated by high snow melt at every turn
have finally seen the sun after being under the snowpack since October and the Alpine meadows are dancing with yellow, orange, blue, white, red.
A mile from our destination we traded our steady climb for alternating ups and downs of the rippled hill tops at the higher elevation. Then, since we weren’t having enough fun already, the dirt and rock trail disappeared under the snow. The Park Service had placed heavy orange poles in the snow to roughly mark the direction of the trail. The soft melting snow made walking even more difficult, and when we weren’t walking through the snow, we were sloshing through impromptu streams where the hiking path used to be, or avoiding mud holes. After one last up hill in the snow we stood at the crest of a hill looking down on Iceberg Lake.
Iceberg Lake was hidden in the bottom of a huge bowl - something the geologists here call a “hanging valley.” Except for the area where a stream poured its water over a few rocks and into the lake, the lake surface was frozen and snow covered. The scene was breathtaking. We ate our lunch by the side of this
This temporary mini-fall made our hike a bit more interesting
picture postcard and listened the water fall into the lake while other hikers played in the snow. Two girls tossed a frisbee and three guys from England kicked a soccer ball around - it actually looked like a volley ball to me, my question is this, why would anyone want to carry soccer ball (or a volley ball for that matter) on a strenuous ten mile hike?
The return trip, as you can imagine was much faster than the trip up. Being mostly downhill certainly helped, but the approaching thunderstorm raging in the mountain behind us gave us motivation to get down as fast as possible. We got rained on, but not soaked and as we ate a pasta dinner in a small restaurant near the trailhead we watched the lightning in the dark clouds above.
There are more photos below