Grinnell Lake, Glacier NP

We are leaving Canada today to begin our trip south, and the first stop is Glacier National Park in Montana. We crossed the border into the States, and found out that anything that grows in the south is not allowed across the border. I gave the guard only some of my food, as we had just stocked up before we left Canada. We are staying at the St Mary KOA for three weeks while we explore the Park.

Grinnell Lake-25Our first hike on Wednesday, Aug 5th was to Grinnell Glacier, a 10.3 mile round trip hike, and it is the most frequently visited glacier in GNP. We drove to Many Glacier Hotel to see if we could catch the tour boat to the upper end of Lake Josephine to shorten the hike. However, the boat was full so we drove to the Swiftcurrent picnic area and parked the Jeep, and hiked along the Swiftcurrent Lake and the North Shore Lake Josephine Trail to the Grinnell Glacier Trail. Then the elevation begins and the views keep getting better as we climbed through the subalpine firs. Finally we had a bird’s eye view of Grinnell Lake with the tall cliffs of Angel Wing towering above, and we could see the lake’s incredible emerald color, which is caused by suspended “glacial flour”, rocks ground into a fine powder by glaciers. We ascended several steep switchbacks on the southern flank of Mount Grinnell, emerging into alpine meadows high above the turquoise pool of Grinnell Lake and the beautiful waterfall at its head. As the trail gains altitude, panoramic views of the many peaks could be seen, including Mount Siyeh, Cataract Mountain, the Garden Wall and Mount Gould. As we arrived at Upper Grinnell Lake, we could see the fissures and ice caves of Grinnell Glacier. The long narrow glacier above and to the north, called “the Salamander” clinging to the cliffs of the Garden Wall, was once connected to the main glacier until recently. And the tiny glacier high on the shoulder of Mount Gould is called Gem Icefield, formerly a glacier but has fallen victim to the climate change like many others in the Park. Click on thumbnail to view images

We stopped for lunch on the shores of Upper Grinnell Lake taking in the magnificent views of the peaks and the milky aquamarine color of the lake. We talked to a lot of the other hikers who had made their way up to the Grinnell Glacier, truly a magnificent trail. On our way down we saw a Bighorn sheep on the side of the trail, everyone stopping to capture pictures of this wild animal. We made it back down the trail and stopped at Many Glacier Hotel for a quick celebratory beer and met some of the hikers we saw on the trail and found out that they are Buckeyes. What a small world!!!