glacier national park july 2013

Our trip to Glacier National Park started as soon as I was able to leave work on July 5th. That was at noon and I left work in a hurry. Joanne and Cody picked me up from work in the camper and we left from there. We drove from Spokane Washington to Libby Montana and stayed the night at a rv park. The park was pretty nice with great rates. It was something like $32.00 a night for full hookups including cable tv. The campground is called Woodland RV Park. Later that evening we had to laugh. We are not used to having all those kind of hookups. We were sitting in bed watching HGTV on the tv and I was doing work on my laptop with the free wi-fi. Not use to that but it was nice.

joanne making dinner at woodland rv park

joanne making dinner at woodland rv park

our site at woodland rv park

our site at woodland rv park

The next morning we took our time getting to West Glacier. The drive was not far from Libby. We stopped several times along our route and did a few geocaches all while seeing the wonderful sights along highway 2.

loon lake in Montana along our drive

loon lake in Montana along our drive

We arrived at Glacier Campground in West Glacier Montana around noon. We stayed at this location until July 16th. It is a great campground that is very wooded. Electrical and water hookups with a dump station down by the lodge. We would be hosting the Montana Truck Camper Rally at this location in a few days also.

our camp site for the next several days. all set for the rally too.

our camp site for the next several days. all set for the rally too.

campsite is set up and now relax time

campsite is set up and now relax time

We arrived before the start of the rally to get some hiking in Glacier done. The next morning after we arrived we went on a hike to Apgar Lookout. The hike was just over 6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1,835 feet. This is a burnt out area of the park from a fire in 2003 so doing it early in the morning is best. It was a great trail that I have never done and you get rewarded by great views up on top of the mountain.

west glacier entry to the park

west glacier entry to the park

the drive to the trail head is pretty much a single lane road. you will get a few branch scratches on the camper but I don't mind that.

the drive to the trail head is pretty much a single lane road. you will get a few branch scratches on the camper but I don’t mind that.

half circle bridge on our way to the trail head

half circle bridge on our way to the trail head

We arrived to the trail head point and got our stuff gathered. Water, snacks, camera and bear spray for sure. So off we go.

nice cool morning with great views.

nice cool morning with great views.

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did not see much big game wildlife but we did see a lot of birds.

did not see much big game wildlife but we did see a lot of birds.

getting closer to the top.

getting closer to the top.

at the top

at the top

wow what a view from up here

wow what a view from up here

lake mcdonald

lake mcdonald

apgar lookout. not manned at this time.

apgar lookout. not manned at this time.

joanne resting up on the lookout.

joanne resting up on the lookout.

rich, joanne and cody

rich, joanne and cody

the burnt out area allows a new growth to the forest. indian paintbrush was everywhere in bloom.

the burnt out area allows a new growth to the forest. indian paintbrush was everywhere in bloom.

On this hike we did not see any other hikers until we started to head back down. We did have to stand off the trail as a few horseback riders were coming up the trail. We got back to our camper and decided to go to the old entrance of the park on the west side. You can not drive across the bridge but can walk it. We also cooled off at a sandy part of the river. Very cold water but it felt good to cool off.

you can see a log on top of the big rock showing how high the run off gets on this river.

you can see a log on top of the big rock showing how high the run off gets on this river.

pretty blue water from the glacier silt run off.

pretty blue water from the glacier silt run off.

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After cooling off we went back to camp for the rest of the night. On Monday morning we set off for another hike. We drove our camper to the Apgar transfer station where we got on the shuttle to take us to the top of the pass. While we were there and gathering our stuff for the day Cody said “look”. There was one of the biggest black bears I have ever seen. It was about 75 yards away from us just strolling on by.

I got this picture showing the dumpster he walked by so you can see how big the bear really was.

I got this picture showing the dumpster he walked by so you can see how big the bear really was.

We boarded the shuttle a few minutes later and rode up to logan pass. It was fairly chilly and a bit foggy but it was starting to burn off. We waited about 45 minutes before starting our hike to let the fog lift. Todays hike was to Hidden Lake. A total of 6 miles of hiking. Not too bad of elevation gain/loss until after the Hidden Lake overlook halfway there. Then it is a very steep hike down to the lake. Very worth while!

the fog lifting

the fog lifting

a bit breezy but it was getting warmer and warmer.

a bit breezy but it was getting warmer and warmer. lots of snow fields to hike across on this trail too.

it got warm quickly.

it got warm quickly.

a small ponding of water from melt off.

a small ponding of water from melt off.

hidden lake from the overlook

hidden lake from the overlook

lots and lots of mountain goats on this hike.

lots and lots of mountain goats on this hike.

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heading towards the lake from the lookout.

heading towards the lake from the lookout.

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big ole marmots running about.

big ole marmots running about.

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this goat followed us for about a half mile. it got tired of waiting for us slow hikers and eventually walked pass us.

this goat followed us for about a half mile. it got tired of waiting for us slow hikers and eventually walked pass us.

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we made it to the lake.

we made it to the lake.

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the fish were spawning at the outlet of the lake. the trail would close a couple days later because of bears sitting at this spot going after the fish.

the fish were spawning at the outlet of the lake. the trail would close a couple days later because of bears sitting at this spot going after the fish.

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the outlet of the lake

the outlet of the lake

time to hike back.

time to hike back.

It was a very nice hike, so glad we did it. Afterwards we headed back to the campground. When we arrived at the campground we found some fellow truck camper friends that had arrived a few days before the Montana truck camper rally. We talked awhile around our campsite that night.

The next morning we headed back into glacier to do more hiking. This time it was to the east side of the park and to go see St Mary falls, Virginia Falls and Baring Falls. We ended up doing about 5 1/2 miles on this trip. It was a pretty easy mostly flat trail.

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st mary falls

st mary falls

bridge crossing  st mary falls

bridge crossing st mary falls

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Virginia falls

Virginia falls

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st mary lake

st mary lake

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baring falls

baring falls

bridge crossing baring falls

bridge crossing baring falls

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After this hike we eventually made it back to camp where we found a few more truck camper friends who arrived early for the rally. We gathered and had an impromptu potluck dinner and enjoyed our company. The next morning we all went to the little restaurant they had by the lodge of the campground for breakfast. It was very good.

breakfast gathering

breakfast gathering

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After breakfast we drove up to Polebridge Montana to get some of the best bakery goodies around. It is about 30 miles away on the northwest edge of glacier. It takes about an hour to get there as the road is somewhat rough in places and it switches from pavement to gravel a few times. Not a bad drive and well worth it.

polebridge Montana at the "merc"

polebridge Montana at the “merc”

buying bakery goodies inside

buying bakery goodies inside

ask anyone who has had the bakery goodies here before. they will tell you just how good it is.

ask anyone who has had the bakery goodies here before. they will tell you just how good it is.

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After eating some of our goodies we departed. Some went on other journeys for the day. We had one truck camper family join us on a couple geocache hunts on our way back to camp.

parked along a river searching for a geocache. we found it.

parked along a river searching for a geocache. we found it.

We did one more cache hunt which we found. Then our friends left to go elsewhere for the day. We stopped and did a little hike in a burnt out area of the park. A short 1 mile hike today, Huckleberry interpretive trail.

grizzly bear area.

grizzly bear area.

it amazes me how mother nature recovers from a fire.

it amazes me how mother nature recovers from a fire.

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We then went back to camp after this hike. The next few days were the Montana Truck Camper Rally.

Here is a link to that blog report: https://thetclife.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/montana-truck-camper-rally-july-11-14-2013/

On sunday the 14th after we cleaned up from the farewell breakfast for the rally we drove to Hungry Horse Dam and to see a couple campgrounds. You can not tour the dam anymore but they have a pretty informative visitors center.

hungry horse reservoir.

hungry horse reservoir.

After our driving and looking around there we went into glacier and stopped at Apgar village. Cody has been doing so well on our hikes so it was time to pay up with some ice cream.

chocolate ice cream of course.

chocolate ice cream of course.

lake mcdonald

lake mcdonald

We returned to camp yet again and enjoyed the company of a couple people who stayed a bit longer after the rally.

Monday was the day of our big hike. A trail I have tried to hike many many times but never got to because there was too much snow or bad weather or bear closures. Well, today the trail was open with great weather. A many year dream coming true. The trail… the highline trail. We started at the top of Logan Pass and hiked it down to “the loop” which is a hairpin turn on the Going To The Sun Road. We also took a spur trail to Grinnell glacier overlook. Total miles hiked this day was 12.8 miles.

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a little bit after the start of the trail is a sheer cliff. they do have a rope for you to hold onto while you hike by the area.

a little bit after the start of the trail is a sheer cliff. they do have a rope for you to hold onto while you hike by the area.

the trail with the road below.

the trail with the road below.

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that is cody and i in the picture.

that is cody and i in the picture.

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a rest from the hike.

a rest from the hike.

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only about 100 yard snowfield to cross.

only about 100 yard snowfield to cross.

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lots of flowers in bloom along the way.

lots of flowers in bloom along the way.

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avalanche area with trees growing once again.

avalanche area with trees growing once again.

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spur trail intersection

spur trail intersection

The spur trail to Grinnell Glacier overlook might only be .6 miles one way but it is VERY steep. In that .6 miles it has an elevation gain of just over 900 feet. It took us a bit more than an hour to get to the top. It was worth every step.

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that notch to the right is where we are going.

that notch to the right is where we are going.

the pictures do not do show how pretty the blue colors of the glacier are. I guess you will have to hike it yourself to see the real color.

the pictures do not do show how pretty the blue colors of the glacier are. I guess you will have to hike it yourself to see the real color.

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resting on the top edge of the rocky mountains.

resting on the top edge of the rocky mountains.

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the granite park chalet

the granite park chalet

inside the chalet.

inside the chalet.

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from the chalet it is another 4 miles to complete our hike.

from the chalet it is another 4 miles to complete our hike.

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WE DID IT! the end of the trail at the loop.

WE DID IT! the end of the trail at the loop.

The trail was everything and more that I thought it would be. After so many attempts of doing the hike it was such a great feeling of accomplishment.  We went back to Apgar Village to have dinner then went on back to camp. We sat for a little bit then went to bed. The next morning we left to go home. A sad time, leaving. We so wanted to just continue our trip but we can not at this time. So we will have to think about our next trip in the future. It was a wonderful time that we will never forget.

glacier national park july 2013