Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

Glacier National Park – Round 2

Post by:  Jake
7/15/11

Last weekend Veronica and I hoped back in the car for the 3.5-hour drive north to Glacier National Park for another fun weekend spent hiking and biking some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  We played hosts to Pete and Kristin, a couple out of town friends that were visiting with their beautiful 2-year old daughter.  While our last trip to the park was only 3 days prior, the changes we saw between trips were certainly noticeable.  Snow bridges had collapsed, the high country was starting to open, and the water in the raging rivers had begun to recede.

During this trip we spent the first day hiking yet another brand new (to us) trail, this time to Sperry Chalet.  While I have been coming to the park nearly every year for the past 22-years, this easily accessible trail has always looked a bit too daunting to attempt till now.  6.7 miles of steady climbing up 3,300 feet of elevation gain take hikers from Lake McDonald lodge to the 98-year old Sperry Chalet.  While visitors with reservations can get a room for the night at the Chalet, it usually books solid for the summer several months in advance.  That means, to do a day hike to the Chalet you’ll need to hike a total of 13.4 miles up and down quite a bit of elevation.  While the Chalet wasn’t quite open when we arrived (due to the massive snow this year) we did talk to a few employees who stated on a normal day during the summer you can order a hot breakfast, a sack lunch, or a hot dinner from the diner.  Certainly enough motivation for me to come back! 

Our next day in the park we again biked the closed-to-vehicles Going-To-The-Sun-Road.  11-miles up and 11-miles back down on the west side of Logan Pass.  Magnificent views of snow capped peaks and lush forests, hundreds of waterfalls, and abundant wildlife make biking this road an absolute must-do for any cyclist.  As I said in an earlier post, every visit to the park is unique and this was absolutely true again as we saw not one, but two black bears! 

On our last day our intense friends ran a 1/2 marathon, just for the fun of it.  While they were running, we hopped on one of the new free park shuttle busses and rode to Apgar to grab some lunch.  After ordering a couple wraps, we lucked out by getting right back on another shuttle headed back to Avalanche.  We were told busses run an hour apart, so chances are pretty good that you could be waiting for quite a while for one of these busses.  Apparently, only 2% of the parks 2.5-million visitors use the shuttle system, and with an hour wait between tiny little busses it’s no wonder.  Additionally, a car filled with as many people as you can pack in costs $25 to enter the park while each and every biker is charged $15 each to enter! As Pete would say, Edward Abby is rolling in his grave!

Back at the car, we met up with our friends and did one last quick hike up to Avalanche lake.  Although I’ve hiked to Avalanche lake dozens of times, it never gets old.  I could sit at its shore for days staring up at the cliffs with cascading waterfalls pounding down, and mountain goats roaming.  If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a moose down low or some grizzly bears roaming on the high snowfields.  For another perspective of this Glacier Park trip check out our friends blogs here and herePete is a hardcore super distance runner.  He’s been training all summer in the Wasatch mountains of Utah for a 100-mile trail run!  Kristin’s one of the most active mom’s I’ve ever seen, running 1/2 marathons for fun on vacation!  She’s got some outstanding perspectives on raising kids and staying active.

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Posted in Adventure Sports and Travel.

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