Iceberg Lake Trail

Sunday, Sept. 14th, Pat and Harry left today and headed to Coeur d’Alene. And Bob and I drove over the Going-the-Sun-Road to Many Glacier one more time, to the Iceberg Lake hike, a 9.6 mile hike round trip. As we approached Logan Pass there was a lot of snow by the side of the road and on the mountains. The Going-to-the -Sun-Road was closed for several days due to the amount of snowfall lately, it opened up yesterday. On the Many Glacier dirt road there were cars stopped by the side of the road and as we got closer we could also see the most beautiful grizzly bear that I have ever seen. Probably the only grizzly I have seen. From the open roof of the jeep I was able to get a great video of this magnificent animal, who was perfectly content eating berries or leaves in the bushes. We continued on but soon we stopped again when we saw several black bears frolicking in the grass across the river.

Finally we arrived at the trailhead by the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, and started the hike at 1 o’clock. Initially it was a fairly steep ascent but then gradually leveled off and passed through open terrain that offered commanding views of the surrounding mountains. We spotted many bighorn sheep grazing on the hillside. Then we entered a dense forest before arriving at Ptarmigan Falls and crossed the footbridge over Ptarmigan Creek. Breaking out of the trees we saw amazing avalanche chutes, meadows and Wilbur Creek way below us with waterfalls in the distance. After crossing the Iceberg Creek footbridge we saw the most beautiful alpine lakes in Glacier NP. Lying in the shadows of Mt Wilbur,9321ft, and Iceberg Peak, the lake gets little sun thus the ice and snow accumulates on the water and cliff walls. There were still many icebergs floating on the lake, and it was covered with a thin sheet of ice that we could almost reach from the shore. The massive Ptarmigan Wall towering more than 1500 feet above lake is called an arête, a thin ridge of rock separating two valleys that have been carved by glaciers.

We stayed for some time to take in the beauty of this alpine lake but had to get back on the trail before it was too late. As we were hiking along we saw a small group of hikers by the side of the trail and again there was another grizzly bear eating in the bushes. We made a lot of noise, took photos and then hurried down the trail back to our car. We went to Many Glacier Hotel for dinner in the beautiful Ptarmigan Dining Room, our last visit to this historic lodge. At St Mary we met up with Kevin (he was here guiding a group) and stayed with him in his cabin so we didn’t have to make the two hour drive back to West Glacier KOA.