Category: Glacier National Park
|July 22, 2017||Filed under Glacier National Park, Montana|
The “OMG” moments are nonstop in Glacier National Park, Montana – dramatic cliffs, mirrored lakes, wildflower riots, arrogant waterfalls, and wildlife ready for their close-ups. Established in 1910, GNP covers over a million acres, encompassing and flanking the mountains of the Continental Divide. A week in the Park is barely time enough to behold some of its scenic highlights and experience a few of its 730+ miles of trails. At over 7,100′ altitude, reached by a 1.3-mile uphill hike from the Logan Pass visitor center, the view from Hidden Lake Lookout pictured above took my breath away, literally and figuratively.
In 1850 there were 150 glaciers in the Glacier National Park area; today, there are only 25, many located in the self-denominating Many Glacier region. The fast retreating Grinnell Glacier sits around 6,500 feet elevation. After a 1,800+ foot, 3.5 mile climb, I was elated to stand on an actual mountain glacier, but saddened to know that unabated climate change would render its disappearance in just a decade or so.
“Bear Danger” signs are plentiful in all parts of the Park. With an estimated population of 300 grizzly and 600 black bears in GNP, trails are often closed because of bear activity. Hikers are advised to carry bear spray and observe the top of the food chain at a distance. Although I did not encounter any bears on my day hikes, I saw plenty of other wildlife, including herds of mountain goats, tons of inquisitive pikas and chipmunks, a few grouchy grouses, several bighorn sheep on faraway cliffs, a shy moose, and even a white-striped garter snake (very few reptiles in this alpine environment). (more…)