Glacier National Park, Montana with Gwyn and Angie

21st - 28th August 2013

The day our friends were arriving at Bozeman had its good points and bad points. By the time we collected them from the airport at midnight, we were up one digital camera and one canoe and our credit card was feeling jaded. Unfortunately we decided to spend the evening hours waiting for their flight at a fishing access near the airport. Here not only did we totally fail to find the river in the thick undergrowth, we also managed to snap one fishing rod and discover that the house battery on Harvey-the-RV was completely dead. Undaunted we collected our friends and introduced them to the delights of “Wally-hopping”, (camping at Walmart) and RV repair.

Our trip to Glacier National Park took the scenic route. First we had to head to Kalispell to collect our newly purchased canoe. In contrast to the previous night, we camped at the commercial camp ground on the river which was considerably more expensive but quieter than Walmart and almost as busy!

Finally the next day Gwyn and Angie's tour of Montana could really begin in earnest as we entered Glacier National Park and set up camp at Two Medicines Camp ground, before heading out to canoe the lake in our canoe convoy!

Sevy Paddlesteerus meet Kally-Spell.

After Gwyn's introduction to American Fly Fishing, on the lake that evening, our friends headed off, with some trepidation, to spend their first night under canvas in Bear infested territory. Armed with their new can of bear spray, thankfully they survived the night, although with how much sleep was hard to tell! Still, they had energy enough for an eight mile hike around the lake and to visit the twin waterfalls the next morning.

On the return trip we introduced them to American wildlife. First a large moose was spotted in a meadow and the new camera with its mega zoom got its first workout. Later in the walk we took a detour to view another small waterfall, where a persistent ground squirrel took an unnatural interest in Angie's boot!

Two Medicines Lake

Phil and Gwyn above the waterfall.

Gwyn – last man across the wobbly bridge

Angie fends off the ground squirrel attack!

A loose moose!

Sunset at Prey Lake.

More paddling and fishing followed the hike and that second evening in Two Medicines, Gwyn landed his first American trout.

The world's most scenic bus stop?

Logan Pass

Our friends only had four weeks to tour with us, so we pressed on to another part of the park and set up camp in Rising Sun Camp ground. Grizzly Bears had been active at Rising Sun, so tents weren't allowed. The four of us squeezed back into Harvey for a couple of nights. We'd visited Glacier first on our tour of Montana, to ensure the free shuttle bus service would still be running. We took full advantage of it by taking a trip up to the high point at Logan Pass, where we hiked to Hidden Lake Overlook, braving Bighorn sheep and angry ground squirrels on the way. Our friends hiked all the way down to the Lake, while we snook back to camp for a sneaky ice cream to fortify us for the next day's hike.

Hidden View Overlook – Beware thieving Ground Squirrels!

Bighorn Sheep

Seen the bear yet?

Reunited back at camp we had our first camp fire, perhaps it would deter the bears!

Our next hike also left from Logan Pass. This time we chose the “Highline Trail”, which got its name for obvious reasons. About a third of the hike involved walking on a very narrow trail cut into the side of a cliff. A bear incident added excitement to an already nerve-racking walk. Ahead of us a Grizzly Bear crossed the trail and headed into the trees. Luckily it was on a less precipitous section of trail and there were about 30 people between us and it, so our survival chances were pretty good. The only casualty of the whole thing was a lady who decided to do exactly what you are advised not to do, run away. In the process she tripped and cut her head but had about 30 first aid kits offered in assistance!


Another breath-taking stretch of Highline Trail

We survived the Highline Trail!

Gwyn overlooking Grinnell Glacier

After a break for lunch we reached an intersection on the trail. A side trail led up a steep hill to a point where you could overlook Grinnell Glacier. Three of the team weren't keen to add to the twelve mile hike we were already undertaking but Gwyn set off alone up the steep trail with such gusto that by the time we realised he didn't have a camera on him, about 30 seconds later, he was already out of earshot.

About this time the three lazier members of the crew were mumbling about how it would be nice to have a cup of tea and set off hopefully towards the “Granite Chalet” in the distance. Much debate followed, would they serve tea, would they have ice cream and other essentials. However they were to be disappointed on reaching the chalet, to find them unable to serve hot drinks as all drinking water was brought up to the chalet by hikers who were staying there. Ice cream was also impossible as all other supplies were fetched weekly by mule and the mule didn't have a deep freeze! We made do with a chocolate fix and a rest until Gwyn caught up with us again.

The walk was truly stunning with fabulous scenery at every turn and it was a high point of the visit to Glacier National Park. The last four miles of the walk, downhill through woodland, were not quite as stunning and to our tired feet, seemed to go on for about eight miles!

Early next morning, warned that camp sites at Many Glacier were often filled by 10 am, we set off to that third section of the park we wanted to explore. We were surprised on the way there, when a Grizzly Bear casually sauntered across the road in front of us. Sure enough, at the camp ground, there was a frantic scrum under way for sites. Luckily the camp ground hosts had organised a system indicating which sites were to be vacated by noon and we quickly bagged a site where the occupants were about to leave. It was a lovely site too, with plenty of space for the tent as well as Harvey and our own resident noisy squirrel.

Our legs were still weary from the previous day's hike, so we ventured out on Many Glacier Lake, the boys in one canoe, fishing, the girls sight-seeing in the other and checking out the quality of the ice cream at the lodge on the way! The friendly sales clerk insisted that the portions of ice cream the girls had served themselves were so small that he would only charge for one!

Is that Ice-Cream we smell?

On the final day in Glacier National Park we took the highly recommended hike to Iceberg Lake. The reason for the Lake's name was apparent when we arrived. Unfortunately the weather didn't really co-operate and we spent much of the hike walking in the rain in waterproofs, glad we'd bought new sets to replace our old leaky ones! The trip was worth the effort as the lake was a totally surreal sight. All that was missing were penguins!

We ate our lunch at the lake, in the rain, terrorised by a marauding ground squirrel looking for scraps. It was strictly forbidden to feed wild animals in the Park but it seemed no one had told the squirrel!

Of course by the time we'd descended almost back to the trail head, the sun was shining brightly again. We'd definitely earned an ice cream stop on the way back to camp.

That evening our friends walked from the camp site to Many Glacier Lake and on the way were adopted by a German tourist who had just had a scary, close encounter with a bear and was glad to be in a bigger group for the walk back!

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