Hiking in Glacier NP

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
snyder lake campground
Lincon lake
Otokomi Lake

Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorry but Long, long  entry.

Unfortunately wasnt able to get the walks I wanted since there was always at least one campsite along the route that was reserved and unavailable. Rather than doing a circular traverse ended up hiking into and out of a number of different parts in the park. Would of liked to have hiked over gunmans pass and past spearmans glacier but not to be and given the number of kms I did could possibly of done it if I had hiked a long day.

Also the first couple of days while nice were not really what I expected and a bit disappointing though the scenery did improve over the following days. That the problem when your not sure about where to hike in a park. Its a bit of pot luck.

When first trying to do my permit I was told that unlike Denali I wasnt allowed to exit and return into the backcountry on the same permit. Guess this causes problems for the computerised system since it calculates the distance and elevation gain/loss that occurs each day between camp sites. Originally told I would have to come all the way back to a visitor ceter to get a permit which meant I would have no idea what was free before coming out. Thankfully the head ranger allowed me to create only a single permit even though  I was catching the shuttle between backcountry hikes.

Also found that this is probably one of the more expensive parks since the camp grounds are maintained by the rangers and each one has a drop toilet and bear pole that needs to be serviced.

Should be noted that while the park is known a glacier park there were no glacier rivers and all the glaciers I could see were quite small. All glaciers are shrinking and if I remember correctly the park is likely to have no more glaciers (compared to the original 125) in it by 2020. Rather it will just have the scares left on the land caused by glacial activity

Ended up finding out that I also wasnt limit to the park shuttle that ran along the sun road since there was a shuttle from many Glaciers campsite that connected with the shuttle. In the end though I probably had had enough time on the last day to hike one of the passes back to the sun road rather than shuttling it around since the time on my tick was for east glacier and northwest glacier station (2 hours later than ticket time) and the bus was an hour late.

Day 1

Had to walk 3miles from the train station to get to the visitor center where i needed to pick up my permit.

After uming and aring about where to hike, caught the shuttle bus out near the trail head to Sperimans glacier and headed up to Snyder Lake. 3 hours of up hill walking towards the lake which was nice for camping. Basically a lake surrounded by cliff faces and trees. Also didnt find the walk up very interesting since was walking through a pretty dense forest with few views other than trees prior to reaching the lake.

Campgrounds in glacier are well developed. Basically have a limit number of camp sites (reason for permits) cut into the bush and cant really see the other campers. Also have a toilet area and a food storage and preparation area. Here is where you find the poles with hooks at the top where you need to hoist up your food. Chatted with an american couple that night while cooking who had been lucky enough to get a permit for the sites of gunman pass.

Day 2

Long hike through lots of trees again with little views. Guess not a lot of people head out this way since the trail is pretty rough and overgrown. Happy I put the rainpant on since my legs would have been soaked otherwise. While it wasn’t raining the brush was certainly wet.

Not a particularly exciting hike today. Ended up being a long day of hiking through the trees with the trees having a lot of undergrowth making visibility hard. Especially as I got closer to the lake the brush around me started to go up to shoulder hieght in some places. Definately would not want to hiking offtrail through here like I did in Denali.

Like the Lincon lake better than the Snyder one though I could see that the trail to the Speriman Glacier ran above the lake and had views down to it so that would definately have been the better walk.

The trail I followed today was definately narrower and rougher than the one I follwed the other day. Guess its to far for a day hike and not interesting enough for an overnight one. Main reason I did it was that it gave me a small loop hike rather than just heading in and out and trying to find another place for the night since my other desired options were all booked.

Found that I was the only one camping at the lake besides the ranger who was there and who checked my permit.

Day 3
Hike out early from Lincon lake since I had a lot of walking to do and a long bus trip between trails. Again not a particular interesting hike except for the deer I came across just as I was about to head out onto the road for the bus stop.

Next Caught the bus to Logan pass. Definately the part of the park I should of headed to from the start. Spent about an hour meandering up a road along a steep glacial valley wall up to a pass. Had great views from the pass of the valley I had come out of and the surrounding mountains. Also given the amount of traffic around the place I can see why they introduced the shuttle system

At Logans pass wandered around a bit and saw some Dall Sheep before changing buses and heading down the other side of the pass. Getting late by now so had to hoike it to the camp site. Really enjoyed the walk along the trail to Otokomi Lake. The trail basically followed a river that had cut a canyon into the rock. Had nice views down into the canyon, back towards the mountains I was walking away from, views of the river and views of the mountains surrounding the lake. Managed to get to the lake before dark and had some time to wander along part of the trail that ran around the lake.

Glacial lake was similar to the ones I had seen earlier but the walk up to it had definately been more interesting. Headed back to camp before dark and lowered my bear canister down from the pole. While there were two other couples around didnt really chat with then since the sites are fairly isolated from each other due to the rough underbrush and the only real chance you have to chat is at the meal preparation area. I had already finished eating before the started so didnt really chat to anyone.

Day 4
Had to catch a bus to the next trail head after exiting Otokomi Lake but decided I had plenty of time and since it had been getting dark when I wandered around the lake before, spent some time that morning wandering near the lake. After that headed back to the raod but with the sun out ended up taking longer than expected since I kept heading down to the river and exploring.

Eventually got back to the road and after waiting a bit for the next shuttle bus headed back towards Logan pass.

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