We are now approaching the end of our fourth week here at Glacier National Park. Shout out to Glacier Campground (www.glaciercampground.com) for being so awesome, that we haven't left in a month. So, with 4 weeks under our belt, we have much to regurgitate and will try not to ramble. Here we go.
As mentioned, we stayed at a campground right outside the West Glacier entrance. Additionally, we either visited or car camped at 7 campgrounds within Glacier park, with our favorite being Two Medicine on the east side. If you are lucky, you can snag a spot overlooking Pray Lake and Sinopah Mountain.
Going to the Sun Road is the main road that connects the west side to the east side. It gets so much snow in the winter, it can take them until mid June to clear off the road. This year, they had the snow taken care of early, but were waiting on construction, so it took them until mid June anyway. If you arrive before the road is open, like us, you get the pleasure of driving 2 1/2 hours around the park to get from the west to the east.
We arrived in Glacier around June 2nd, and spent most of the time exploring the west side up to Avalanche Lake (where the road was blocked off). From that route, you can see Lake McDonald, McDonald Falls, Sacred Dancing Cascades, Johns Lake, Trail of the Cedars, just to name a few. Upon entering the park from the west side, you can also turn left onto Camas Road. This side of the park had a fire in 2003 that wiped out 13% of the park land, and offers a different view than the rest of the park. That side of the park also turns into National Forest Land, and unfortunately, we did not get a chance to camp out there on this trip.
Once it was announced that the Going to the Sun Road was opened to Logans Pass, we broke out in cheers and headed on up to check things out. As we approached the pass, we saw skiers hiking up and ski lines coming down. Nick was upset that he did not have skins for his ski's, and talked about this for the rest of the trip. It was interesting to watch how busy the park got once the road opened. Park shuttles were not running until July 1st, so hundreds of visitors had to drive themselves up the narrow Sun Road, to parking lots holding only 10-20 cars.
The weather in Glacier. I can't tell you how may times we left a sunny, 70 degree west side to a 50 degree and rainy east side. The east side of Glacier gets its weather from the Rocky Mountains and the North, and tends to have more wind, rain and fog. During our stay at Glacier, we were only fortunate enough to have one day on the east side that showed the mountains clearly.
So where are all the glaciers? There are about 25 in the park, including Grinell and Salamander glacier, some of the biggest in the park. They used to measure 200 acres and 43 acres respectively, and have receded from the 710 acres measured in 1850.It is estimated that all glaciers in the park will be melted by 2030, if not earlier.As we are regulars at the nightly ranger talks, we also learned that glaciers store up to 70% of our fresh water supply. www.protectourwinters.com
With over 700 miles of hiking trails, we didn't even scratch the surface, but would like to visit again sometime in the fall, when it is less busy.