Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA Adventure Trip (2) : At Glacier National Park of USA

Mountain Goats @ Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
Glacier National Park of USA ( there is also another Glacier National Park, in Canada ) is considered by Native Americans as the "Shining Mountains" and the "Backbone of the World". It preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Our visit here was 2nd time around for me and hubby, while it was the first for my hubby's niece and brother. We were here summer of 2012, and obviously, did not get enough.
hike to Grinell Lake, summer 2012
Actually, I don't think I could ever get enough of Glacier National Park. I won't mind visiting this park, again, and again.

Last summer 2012, one of our target hikes was Grinell Glacier. At that time ( early July), the trail was closed due to dangerous bear activity. Instead of hiking Grinell Glacier, we hiked instead to Grinell Lake, where from the trails of Grinell Lake, we saw bears on Grinell Glacier trail.
Grizzly Bears @ Grinell Glacier Trail as Seen From Grinell Lake Trail, summer 2012
That was then we understood why they had to close the trail to Grinell Glacier for hikers.

When I was planning for our summer 2014 Canadian Rockies trip, I realized when I mapped out our itinerary that Glacier National Park is right next to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Because hiking to Grinell Glacier is really in the top of my bucket list, I asked hubby if it is okay to swing by Glacier National Park again for this Canadian Rockies trip. He said "yes", which made me very excited thinking we would be able to hike to Grinell Glacier this 2nd time around. I was also excited to show to my brother in law and niece the amazing beauty of Glacier National Park, clearly, one of my favorite National Parks.
Along Many Glacier Road, Glacier National Park, summer 2014

April of 2014 when I modified our Canadian Rockies hotel reservations to make way for Glacier National Park in USA. Sadly, at that time, all of Glacier National Park hotels were fully booked for July, except at St. Mary's Lodge. The only available room at St. Mary's Lodge at the time I booked was at $600/night. Though this price is not uncommon for National Park hotels, but St. Mary's Lodge is not one of Glacier's best. I could get more reasonably priced accommodations at better hotels in Glacier if probably I had booked earlier, like what I did in 2012. Instead of staying at Glacier, I decided to stick with our booking at Waterton Lakes National Park in the Canadian side of the International Peace Park. The cost of accommodation at Waterton was more reasonable, but perhaps it was because I booked here earlier than April.
Along Going To the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, summer 2014
Since April, I had been monitoring the conditions of Grinell Glacier trail. Sadly, for our summer 2014 trip, the Grinell Glacier trail was again closed for the last 1.5 mile, meaning, we could not reach Grinell Glacier at all. July 16, the trail was closed due to steep snow crossing ( the trail meanders cliff side exposed to drop-offs, so, the hike was considered dangerous because of the icy conditions and snow bridges could collapse anytime).
Roadside Beauty @ Going To The Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
Since there will be no Grinell Glacier hike because of trail conditions, I was torn between hiking Icerberg Lake ( a long hike, about 10 miles, climbing about 1000+ feet ) in Many Glacier or hiking Hidden Lake ( 6 miles round trip to the lake, and about 900+ climb) plus some sightseeing at Going To the Sun Road. We kind of decided to do Hidden Lake so that we could see more sights that Glacier offers.
Roadside Beauty @ Going To The Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
Roadside Beauty @ Going To The Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
Roadside Beauty @ Going To The Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
With roadside sights like these, who needs to hike? Us! :) Though we enjoy sightseeing drives, but frankly, we get tired easily simply sitting in the car, and stopping once a while for sightseeing. Or we get tired easily too sitting at a particular spot, much more we would get more tired if we simply stay in the hotel. Even at home, whenever we have free time, we enjoy nature wandering, our form of relaxation. Though others may see hiking as strenuous, but for us, hiking is actually very therapeutic and rejuvenating. It gives us positive energy daily. Health professionals would agree that the more you live a sedentary lifestyle, the weaker and sicker you become. The more you live an active and healthy lifestyle, the more physically active and healthier you become.

One of our personal motto is: "Keep walking, let nature relax and rejuvenate you in every step, as you open your eyes, ears, heart and mind to nature's wonders."

Anyway, here are some pictures of our hike to Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park, which could not be experienced at all unless you move your feet.

1st nature's treat and surprise during the hike: mountain goats grazing on grass and fresh blooms.

2nd nature's treat and surprise: field of glacier lilies. As soon as snow melts, glacier lilies bloom! What a timing we had, to enjoy both flowers and snow.

next, what's a hike without photo opps? By the way, I don't wear red hiking shoes, I just have a red colored ice-trekkers. :)
 Though Hidden Lake trail is also icy, but it was not closed for hiking unlike Grinell Glacier Trail because there was no steep drop-offs here and dangerous snow bridges.
If you fell on the trail here, you would just get a very enjoyable slide to the bottom, not a dangerous fall to the bottom of the cliffs unlike in Grinell Glacier.

The family in the two following pictures below did not fall, they really purposely slide. :) Their actions gave others the strength to continue on the trail, since others were intimidated crossing this section where the icy trail is narrow and looks steep, where they could easily slip and slide down.
 I thought the family below would take the short cut to the trailhead, but I guess, they did not get enough of snow sledding fun they decided to climb up again, yes, to sled again! SUMMER SNOW SLEDDING! :) In t-shirts! Because despite there was still deep snow, but it was far from cold at all. The temperature was very pleasant, in the 60s or 70s F I think.
 For us, we just always wear long sleeves hiking shirt for sun protection.
 The hiking shirt material is actually cooler than regular shirt, plus it has high SPF, so we only need to put SPF on our exposed skin, such as the face, neck, and hands. We do not need to put SPF on our arms anymore. Plus hiking shirt material is very good for warm weather, because it easily dries, not like cotton which would trap all your moisture and you would be hiking heavily in sweat. Warm weather and snow? Yes, in the summer at Glacier National Park, in Montana, USA.

On our way to Hidden Lake, I saw this hard core outdoor photographer. I describe him as hard core, since he hikes with all his heavy photography equipment.
 In some parts of the trail, we had to stop coz mountain goats were crossing.
 Sadly, when we got to the overlook ( after 1.5 miles ), the trail that goes down to the lake was closed due to busy grizzly bear activity at the lake. Bears were busy feeding at the lake coz of spawning salmon.
We had no choice but to enjoy the scenery from the Hidden Lake Overlook, which still was very pretty.
 That was then we understood why there were so many mountain goats in the higher elevation trail. Humans are after all safer for the mountain goats than the grizzly bears. Like this mountain goat below, didn't mind all the hikers, he walked side by side with us.
More snapshots at Hidden Lake Overlook.
With the mountain goat.

Perhaps the most famous person to ever hike this trail was George H. W. Bush ( ). In 1983 the then-Vice President George H. W. Bush hiked to Hidden Lake and fished for trout for several hours.

After our hike at Hidden Lake, we drove back to Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort, in Waterton Lakes National Park, our temporary home at Waterton Glacier International Peace Park exploring. However, as usual, it was not a straight drive back to Waterton, we took a lot of stops, to enjoy roadside beauty. :)
roadside waterfall at Glacier National Park ( along the Going to the Sun Road )

When we travel, every step of the journey is a destination, we don't rush going from point A to point B, we see to it that we enjoy the most of the scenery we see.

Will we go back here at Glacier National Park someday? DEFINITELY, as hiking to Grinell Glacier is still high in my dreams. Even though for the two times we were here, the trail was closed, but it's always a joy to experience other trails of Glacier National Park. We could probably go back here again and again, yet, still not hike 20% of its many trails.

If you have time, you can check my first post of this series: @ Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada and our itinerary for this Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA Adventure Trip.
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  1. What a perfect place for a hike.


  2. That's really amazing. I mean suddenly there's snow...

  3. Glacier and the Canadian Rockies were one of my favorite trips - ... spent 3 weeks camping and it was awesome - it looks like you had an awesome time also

  4. Just totally breath taking when you visit Glacier National Park, the tips you share is just amazing for those who wish to visit the place without any knowledge where to start.

  5. what a wonderful place to visit. One of these days I hope I'll be there too

  6. Such beauty! I'm so inggit, sis betchai! I hope one day, I can see these views personally

  7. The beauty of Nature at its best. Amazing photos sis.

  8. The bears! Were they grizzly bears? Scary! Nevertheless, the pictures are breathtaking! (as always!) I would love to slide down the slope like you did. Must have been so much fun!

  9. Who wouldn't want to visit such an awesome place? You're lucky to have seen it firsthand!

  10. Absolutely gorgeous AteB! I would love to see that with my own eyes someday! For now, I am contented with the pictures you've shared, thank you!

  11. As always. Love all the shots, Ate! :) Would love to visit this amazing place, one day... in God's perfect time! :)

  12. wow great shots! best if you have tumblr account to showcase your talent in photography

  13. We're so blessed to have the chance to see mother nature's beauty. But of course you're more blessed because you've already been there to experience it. Magnificent shots as always :-)

  14. I love your motto, Ate Betchai and you've certainly lived up to it. You never disappoint! Such beauty always amaze me and had always kept me breathless. Thanks for always taking us with you. I look forward for your next adventure :-)

    Love and hugs!

  15. warm weather and snow! we'd love that too. :)