As recently as 1910 when Glacier National Park was established, an estimated 150 glaciers graced the landscape, five years ago, there were less than 25 and computer based models predict the glaciers may vanish entirely by 2030 (source: Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park USGS).
Bottom line is the glaciers may not be as overwhelming as they once were, but we were treated to THUNDER on the mountain and the skies were blue. That resounding crack didn’t come from weather. It had to come from the glacier. The big cracks must have shaken the entire mountain … akin to an earthquake!
It was a bit scary hearing the few claps of what had to be glacier calving… or at least fracturing. The good news is that we were there to hear it … and observe what’s rapidly becoming an “endangered species” in Glacier National Park.
And then we could see the “BIG” waterfalls. There are several and through the smoke they don’t look nearly as spectacular as they did in person, but I can assure you, THIS is a gorgeous waterfall and there are several more in the vicinity — and we were there during the 100 year drought.
Taking selfies – it was windy and very chilly at the glacier which is why everyone looks so bundled up. So windy that we decided to head back down below the last half mile or so of the trail where a flat, more sheltered area was calling our names to stop for lunch.
After lunch we were ready to face the 5.5 mile return trail. Which is all downhill. Didn’t bother me, but a couple in our group ended up with toes crunched into their shoes, despite the fact that the shoes were well broken in. May have to figure out a solution for that before the next time we do a serious hiking trip.
Just down the trail a bit, we rounded a corner and apparently the chamber of commerce decided to fly in the big horn sheep herd to entertain us! Look closely, there are at least a dozen relaxing adjacent to the trail with the waterfall and the glacier in the distance.
Some coming up…
And some on the ridge over our heads, headed down to the main herd.
After that encounter, we all forgot about being tired or even that our toes were getting crunched downhill! And of course, the wildflowers … maybe not quite as spectacular as on the hike to Iceberg Lake, but still stunning … and August definitely isn’t the height of wildflower season.
One more photo … us. This is Day 2 of 4 straight days of hiking (that’s what happens when you only have a limited time with friends determined to kill the Flatlanders!). So far we’ve hiked about 23 miles over 2 days. I know that’s not much for “normal” hikers, but we’re geezers and flatlanders – a double whammy!
Did I mention today was the smokiest day from the wildfires burning out of control just south of the park – darn wind just had to switch to the south….
Which hike is your favorite in Glacier National Park? Grinnell Glacier is listed on Trip Advisor as the #2 most popular thing to do in the park (#1 is drive Going to the Sun Road, but we’ve done that already on a prior visit). Please leave a comment and share! Cheers! Jan
Bottom line … if you want to see Glacier National Park glaciers for yourself, go now, don’t wait!