Third Date Change was Charm: Perfect Weather for Grinnell Glacier
The date was a moving target: first Katie had to work around family plans; then the weather didn’t cooperate, which left some of the gals who had planned to go not able to make the trip; but in the end, five of the GiG plus Christina from Austria ventured up to Grinnell Glacier on a gorgeous, cool day.
The day started at 5 a.m. at the GFPS Distict Offices, a stop in Browning and then with dropping Gail and Sue at the boat dock at the Many Glacier Lodge/Hotel, while the rest parked the car and prepared to hike the entire 12 miles.
We had a few logistical issues but everything worked out until our return trip: Gail and Sue were able to get tickets for the boat, despite being on the wait list, while Katie, Mary N, Bonnie J and Christina hiked the NE shores of Swift Current and Josephine lakes. The hikers had to hustle to catch those who took the boat, but our timing turned out perfectly as we met at the junction where the boat dock spur joins the main trail.
This hike was loaded with people: busloads of students from Colorado as well as those from within and out of state and the country. We were passed constantly and also did our share of passing, making for delays. We played leapfrog with the ranger-led hike. Christina commented that in Austria you would never see so many people on the trail. The crowds did dampen the experience a bit, but the views were awe-inspiring as usual.
At the top, where the glacier has created a lake from its melt, it was quite cold. Even with three layers, as well as mittens and hats on, some were still chilled, so we didn’t spend too much time at the glacier overlook, and no one ventured to the actual glacier. However, Gail and Mary did touch part of the glacier, a berg floating in the lake (called “Upper Grinnell Lake,” unofficially). It is always fun to glance up at the over look at the people who are looking down on the glacier from the Logan Pass side. And it's interesting to see the stromatolites,an ancient matted clump of algae, one of the only places in the world to see them.
We then headed back down the mountain, which really was a challenge with the people passing, going both up and down, at this point. We arrived at the dock a bit early, surprisingly, so Gail and Sue were able to catch the 3:45 boat instead of waiting for the 4:15. However, we hit our one snafu of the day: the boat was full so Bonnie, who had hoped to rest her legs on the return trip and take the boat for the last two miles, was out of luck and had to hike back with Katie, Mary and Christina.
Along the return, we were all impressed with Christina’s recall of the flower names that she had just learned. Not only did she memorize these flower names, but she did so in English, a foreign language to her.
We ate dinner at the Interlaken Lounge inside the Many Glacier Hotel and headed back home by 9:30, with a stop in Valier for Wilcoxson’s huckleberry ice cream sandwiches.
Who went: Mary N, Bonnie J, Gail, Sue, Katie, Christina
Flowers/Berries We Saw
Beardtongue/fuzzy tongue penstemon
False hellebore (corn plant)
Fringed grass of Parnassus
Monkey flower (pink)
Showy fleabane daisy
Spiraea (pink and white)
Sticky geranium (pink)
Western tobacco root (valerian)