Saturday, August 30, 2014

Glacier National Park, MT

What can you say about this magnificent place?  Glacier is known as the Crown of the Continent. Descriptive powers fail.   

Apgar Campground

Since arriving on Thursday, I’ve been staying in cramped and crowded Apgar Campground.  The sites are really just gravel pull-outs with no privacy; nevertheless, I feel fortunate to have snagged a spot over Labor Day Weekend.

I'm getting 3 bars of 4G Verizon, but only at the Visitors Center, and no cell service in the campground.  Being unplugged has its advantages, but not when I need to organize a new class and grade mid-terms in another.  

Friend Suzanne arrived yesterday and is just a few sites away in A Loop from me.  Stay tuned to her blog because you know she will have some amazing posts and photos from her time here!

The best feature of Apgar Campground is that it lies along the shores of Lake McDonald.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign ....

A ranger told me yesterday about a recent credible sighting of a mountain lioness and her 3 cubs in the woods around the campground.  Just hours before, a black bear was seen on the campground’s innocuous-looking paved bike path.  Over and over one hears the warnings not to hike alone or without bear spray. 

Going To The Sun

Yesterday offered up some glorious weather so I boarded the park shuttle system

for the trip along Going To The Sun Road.  The road is narrow and steep - a 6% grade for over 11 miles at one point.  The views, however, are incomparable.  

The experience is as thrilling as I imagined and will remain a highlight of my time here.

I spent the afternoon at Logan Pass.  

Climatologists and geologists calculate that by 2030, the glaciers that sustain this ecosystem will have disappeared.  Possibly sooner.  Not that there is any such thing as global warming! Yeah, right.

The Visitors Center hosts a large population of playful acrobatic marmots.

I set out along the Highline Trail – an 11.4 mile stunner.  

At the outset: road to the left, Highline Trail to the right.

I did not come prepared for hiking as I expected more solitude along this trail (and the constant warnings against solo hiking were on my mind).  But there were actually enough people that I hiked for as long as my torn-up sneakers, flimsy flannel shirt, and lack of hiking poles would allow. 

When my fellow hikers thinned out, I turned back.

The hour grew late so it was time to board the shuttle for the return trip.  And more spectacular views.

What next?  Well, with the official end of the summer season approaching, I'll get busy planning my Yellowstone NP adventure.  Any and all suggestions welcome!


  1. Glad you were both able to get sites this weekend. The trails up at Logan Pass were way too crowded when we were there.
    Looks like you'll have to suck it up and take some longer hikes with Suzanne since neither of you should be out there hiking solo given the bear warnings!

  2. Yup. Late August of 2015! Thanks for sharing.

  3. We stayed outside the park last summer and had to drive in every day...lots of driving! Even though it's crowded at least you are right there! Check out this article about a grizzly on the Highline trail:

    This is an amazing park and we hope to visit the East side next summer. I think your idea of hitting Yellowstone after Labor Day is a very good one!

    1. Lisa,

      Thanks so much for that link. My eyes almost almost popped out because I remember that section of the trail very well. A hiker told me later that is the only section with the roping (the green you can see against the rock wall). I was thinking that would be a hell of a place to encounter a bear. There is no way out. That gentleman was extremely lucky to find the one spot where he wouldn't fall to his death.

  4. Not-a-group group hiking--I love it.


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