Glacier National Park

Jumping for joy at Grinnell Glacier at Glacier National Park

After a great stay in Whitefish MT, it was time to make my way to Glacier National Park. As a national park lover I have always dreamed of visiting GNP. It has always been so highly recommended. I have probably visited Yellowstone NP at least 10 times but never have made my way north to this breathtaking piece of American beauty.

There was a fire next to the  Western Mcconnell Lake in the west side of the park. Unfortunately the western side of Going to the Sun Road  was closed so I had to drive the long way from Whitefish all the way around to the eastern side of the park.

I arrived at the Many Glacier Lodge in the late afternoon after a few hours of driving. The Many Glacier Lodge is very cool and ranks up there with with other great National Park Lodges that I have visited like the one in Yellowstone. It was windy and there were lots of fast moving clouds in the area. I was concerned about my photos this evening but they turned out to be some of the best I took in the park.

After getting settled in the Many Glacier parking lot I made some food then started exploring the immediate area around Josephine Lake. 

The inside of the Lobby of the Many Glacier Lodge was spectacular and held all the charm and grandeur that it should.  My dad would have loved to see this. He is also a fan of national park lodges. 

There were some great hiking trails around Josephine Lake and I enjoyed a nice 3 mile stroll.  It was cool and windy but I was quickly falling in love with this National Park. It is not nearly as busy as Yellowstone and I was seeing more wildlife excluding all the buffalo.

The next morning I got up and prepared myself for a day hike to Grinnell Glacier.  For quite a long time I have been wanting to get up close and personal with a glacier. Glaciers are retreating and who knows If I will ever get this opportunity again. It was time to check this bucket list item off!

Along the trail there is the megafauna. It is what the call the massive amount of vegetation and wild life that converges in this area. You will find Pacific Northwest, Plains, and Rocky Mountain plants and animals flourishing and intermingling all throughout the park.

The trail starts out with a some easy hiking along Josephine Lake. Narrow boardwalks were in place to help you get across the muddy and marshy parts of the trail.

At the end of Josephine Lake the trail forks up and presented some pretty steep and exposed trail.

Grinnell Lake down below. It really looked like something out of a fairy tale.

More exposure as you make your way across and up the cliff bands. 
I was seeing tons of wildlife in Glacier. Here is a mountain goat doing fearless mountain goat things. 

Look closely for the wild chicken. It was funny to watch it move along slowly pecking like a hen would.

The  bighorn sheep were all over and eating their fill of berries, currents, and leaves. They were not afraid of the hikers and giving us plenty of opportunities to get good photos.

My first views of Upper Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier. 

Strange patterns left behind from the retreating glacier.

Upon arriving at the Upper Grinnell Lake there was a large rock area by the shore of the lake across from the glacier. Most of the visitors stopped here. You were close to the glacier at this point but I wanted to get close enough to where I could stand, touch, and feel it. To do this I had to make a tricky stream crossing at the outlet of the lake. The water was freezing and without my trekking poles it was very sketchy to cross to the other side where the glacier is resting. For almost the entire time I was there I was the only one that made the leap across the outlet of the lake. Cold water was waiting for me if I made a mistake jumping across the slippery stones.

It was a special moment to reach the edge of Grinnell Glacier. It was still very large and was alive. You could hear it cracking, dripping, trickling, and all around making a lot of noise. I took a moment to take it in and really enjoy my first glacier encounter.

The glacier was alive and very exotic. Dirt and debris covered the top of the ice. I wondered how long the rocks have been buried inside the icy tomb.

What a great day I was having. It was a bit crowded on the hike but on this side of the lake there was nobody!

Making my way back I ran into some more rams. This guy was majestic.

One of my best moose sighting ever! A very large bull and a cow. I was able to get some good pictures and video on my cell phone. This is one time where I wished I had a better camera. My Pixel 2 xl is a great phone camera but the zoom is lacking,,,, Go figure.

This evening it was time to celebrate my arrival and my first encounter with a glacier with this steak dinner. Ribeye steak, fried sweet potatoes, and a salad with fresh blackberries. The steak was cooked perfect and just seasoned with salt and pepper. It was as delicious as it looks! Bluetooth speaker and bear warning sign for ambiance.

The next morning I got up early and left the Many Glacier Lodge made my way to Logan Pass. I drove up the eastern side of the Going to the Sun Road and parked at the visitor center where I made some hotdogs, kim chi and ate chips and salsa prior to my hike.

I love saying that…. Going to the Sun Road!

I went for a quick hike on the Highline Trail. It was spectacular and gave me views of the west side of the park. Whitefish was way off in the distance.  

I had fun observing this silver marmot. He was shredding a ton of grass and taking it to his den. I remember the sounds of him ripping up the vegetation like a madman.

A great shot of the exposure on the Highline Trail. It really was not that bad and there was a cable you could hold on to for some extra security.

Gotta love the old shuttle busses at the top of Logan Pass. I believe they were restored and converted to electric.

It was time to head off and explore Hidden Lake. This turned out to be a great decision. Hidden lake is located just off the top of Logan Pass with the trail starting behind the visitor center.

All my pictures taken in Glacier National Park turned out unbelieveable with no editing. This place is just that amazing.

Hidden Lake was spectacular. After a short hike the wooden path ended at an overlook and after that the trail was rough and steep. I only saw a handful of other visitors making their way to the shore of the laek. By the time I got to the edge of the lake I had the whole place to myself. 

When I first arrived at Hidden Lake I explored the outlet and found these falls.

The outlet quickly dropped off and I could no longer hike down. You could see forest fires burning off in the distance south of GNP.

Then headed the other way and found a little trail that followed the south edge of the lake. It was a dreamy kind of trail and I kept expecting to see wildlife around every corner but only saw a few birds and squirrels.

I was blown away by the rich rugged natural beauty. GNP is my new favorite national park. 
This is such an amazing picture. One of my personal favorites. I love the contrast between the wildflowers and the mountains in the background. No editing here just natural beauty. The wild flowers were really popping for late August and I was so grateful for the clear day. 

One last shot of the van before making my way across eastern Montana. I had a great journey following  the Continental Divide all the way from New Mexico to the top of Montana in GNP. Glacier was the grand finale. In a way this was the end of the main adventure, making it all the way to Glacier was a huge accomplishment and a dream come true.

It was the end of August and this far north you could feel fall fast approaching. What a beautiful country we live in and for the first time in my life I was starting to realise how big it is.

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