About 3 miles up the trail, near the waterfall, we had our first chance to sit down and rest. It is a welcoming spot alongside the river where people can sit and cool their feet. We took time to have a snack here and enjoy the people watching. Moving on, we could see that we'd made significant progress. The huge cirque that holds the lake seemed much closer.
On this next segment of the hike, the swaths of wild flowers were incredible; they were so lush and colorful. We wished Katie was with us to identify them. We recognized thimble berries, Indian paint brush, bear grass and blue bells, but there were soooo many more!! It seemed that the higher up we got, the fresher the flowers were. Also on this section of the hike, Chrissie spotted a herd of mountain goats grazing in a patch of green just below a big snow bank. Goats, but no bears! Further up the trail, hikers coming down told us about two moose enjoying the coolness of a pond down in a meadow on the left side of the trail. Also, in the valley on our left, we could see the river that flows out of Iceberg Lake make its way and drop over two or three falls. Just a short distance before Iceberg Lake, there was a "pre-lake" as Gail called it, with another wonderful array of wildflowers leading up to it!
Finally, we made it to the lake. It was so worth it! The water is deep aqua, which makes the perfect background for the icebergs. There must have been 50-75 people on the beach. They were loving it. People walked out to the icebergs, climbed up, lay down and made snow angels, yelled with delight, and either walked back, or dived in and swam back. We sat next to a fun family of five from Wisconsin, which included three teen daughters. The daughters and their mom all climbed the bergs. Then Chrissie decided she had to do it too. After that Gail thought she must also venture out (it might be her last chance), which she did with the help of borrowed sandals & one of the daughters. Randi had no desire to go, but she succumbed to peer pressure from the "mom" and Chrissie and Gail. She also borrowed sandals and an arm from a daughter and made it to the nearest iceberg, about 6 feet from shore. What fun!! After several more people scaled our iceberg, it could not endure it any more and split apart. The Wisconsin family was not only enjoying Glacier, but they were using their hikes to prepare for hiking the John Muir trail next year. Impressive!
We finished our lunch and decided to head back because it was already after 2 pm; Katie says you need to head back by two.
On the way back, we were tired, but clouds and breezes and stops at the little streams to dip our scarves in the cold water helped us back down the mountain. We refreshed ourselves at the lodge and then headed over to Many Glacier Lodge for a delicious dinner. The Ptarmigan hikers were already there. Gail and Randi didn't see them when they came in, but Chrissie did. She heard about their hike and Kathy's fall at the end of their hike. Sorry, Kathy. We made it back to Great Falls about 10:30. What a fabulous day. None of us were sure we could do the 10 miles, but we did.