Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Number 8 - Speaking of Glaciers

I am writing 10 posts about my 10 favorite hikes, here is more information.

I am having so much fun revisiting these places!

Trail: Avalanche Falls and Hidden Lake
Ranking: number 8
Where: Glacier National Park, Montana
When: August 2007
Cost: The fee to get into Glacier National Park is currently $25. If you plan to go more than once get an annual pass for $35. If you plan on visiting more than one national park in a year, get a NP annual pass, I believe they are $50.
Who: A high school friend and I camped in Glacier for 2 or 3 nights. We hadn’t seen each other in 11 years (since high school graduation). He recently came to visit me in Charlotte, after another 8 years of not seeing each other! Side note: my 20th high school reunion is this year, just got the official invite. Yikes, I feel old.

Today, through the magic of new technology, I am giving you pictures of pictures.

These pictures are all hazy because of nearby wildfires.

I have to do this with 3 of my hikes. 2 are from days when I still used film (I switched in 2006 to digital) but this hike is because I deleted every single picture off a memory card. I thought it would be fine because I had the prints, and because they were on my computer. But then the computer crashed. Somewhere I think I have pictures on a memory stick from before the crash, but I have no idea where it is, or if the Glacier NP park photos were even on it. I hope I find the memory stick (or thumb drive or whatever they are called), because I have amazing photos from a trip to Mt. Rainier . . .

But for today, pictures of pictures. Maybe next time I will attempt to figure out scanner on printer.

I drive 8 gabillion miles by myself through North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. I stop in Ohio and Nebraska to visit with friends. At the Applebees in western Nebraska the hot, dry air hits my face like a high speed train - and just what I feared, later that day I am driving through a storm as green as pea soup - and I find refuge at a Subway to live out my final minutes. But I am just a Nervous Nellie - the tornado was miles away, silly. I stay in Cheyenne and attempt the next day to make it to Missoula in one day. Eastern Montana is flat and ugly and smells like chemicals. I get ahold of my friend and ask him if we can meet at the Denny's in Butte, instead of Missoula. I reach the mountains, and a static storm, and the temperature drops from 101 to 68 in 5 minutes. All I smell is wood burning. Suddenly everything is so gorgeous I can't keep my mouth closed. I want to move to these lovely tiny towns next to the highway. I see a farmer mowing his field literally of gold, like the Sting song. There's probably a rainbow too. Finally, after a gabillion hours of driving, I find my friend in Butte. The next morning, armed with walkie talkies for fun, we drive to Glacier National Park. 

Glacier National Park is a hiker’s dream. I didn’t know this, but the park’s western half – the west side of the continental divide - is very wet and woodsy, while the park’s eastern side is drier and tall, brown meadows cover a lot of land. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of forest on the Eastern side too.

My 3 days in Glacier were induced with smoke from nearby wild fires. I am sure I smelled like smoke, and sometimes my eyes would water. Thunderstorms made us nervous, especially during the practically silent nights. SPOOKY. Campfires were banned, so we ate at the diner in the park A LOT, or made do with cold sandwiches and pasta.

 As soon as we set up camp the first day, we decided to hike up Avalanche Falls. It was later in the day, so the amount of people we saw dwindled as we hiked. The trail reminded me A LOT of hiking in Ithaca, NY, as it weaved around and over gorges. We felt we were in deep forest here. The trail, which is easy to moderate, eventually ends at a lake full of dead trees, which must have gotten there by an avalanche, of course. My friend and I had just reunited the evening before . . . so we still had plenty of catching up and memory sharing to do.

Another must hike in the park is the Hidden Lake trail up at Logan’s Pass, although it is heavily used. We were there early and hiked on both sides of the road. Although I could have done a heavy day hike at this point, we decided to keep it light, and just enjoy the views. We were there in early August, still summer, but not for long. Not only were there A LOT of people at Logan's Pass, but there were a ton of marmots who did not have an ounce of fear for humans. 

The trail on the other side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The Hidden Lake Trail

The Going to the Sun road was an adventure. I don’t know about this upcoming summer, but in 2007 there was a lot of road and tunnel work being done, which meant long periods of waiting. But we had no problems getting out and enjoying the views more.

On our last day we exited the park at St. Mary and reentered at Many Glacier. I don’t remember the name of the hike we did, but we went around a lake – there are many to go around.

I feel like this post was more about my time in Glacier National Park than a specific hike itself. Yet, when I think of my many hikes, I cannot leave out Glacier! I feel fortunate to be able to experience this park, even if we didn’t go deep into it. 


  1. Ahhhh! This is amazing. I love your descriptions of driving through Montana and am so impressed/envious of your solo cross-country road trip. I want to go to Glacier so badly. Larry and I got freaked out when we read about Going to the Sun road - are there steep drop offs?

    Also, the annual National Parks pass is $80 now - but still totally worth it. I think we need to get a new one this year.

    1. I want to go to Glacier too. I regret living out West and never making it to Montana or Idaho.

      Loving these trail stories, Karen! I might have to bust out some of my old trail stories too!


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