Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Grinnell Glacier

If you hike popular trails in Glacier National Park during early September, you do not hike alone.  Especially not on the trip to Grinnell Glacier from Many Glacier.
Water and rock on the trail to see the glacier.
The hikers I pass are talkative, sharing delight in the scenery and assuring me the climb is “worth it.”  (Guess they don’t know that I love the climbing part.)  I get the impression that because I am solo, they are more open to stopping to chat. A few seem worried about me hiking by myself, and leave me with a cautionary “Be careful.”  How do they all seem to know I’m solo, and not just ahead of my hiking partner?

A few miles in, I start to hear stories of the grizzly and her two cubs.  Each passing version of the story has a different angle.  “The grizzlies were above the trail.” “They went down the valley.”  “Those tourists ran towards the grizzlies and got close to the cubs!”  “Look at this photo of the crazy tourists getting right up close to the mama and cubs—they are such idiots!” 

Two hikers are stopped with binoculars pointing across the valley.  They point and finally I can see the grizzly followed by her two cubs, tiny specks on the far hillside. 
On that far cliff is the grizzly and cubs.
I’m glad I didn’t see them up close.  They traveled quickly, to now be that far away already.

I keep climbing up to the glacier.  Making extra noise.  Then the sight takes my breath away.
WOW this is Grinnell Glacier!  What a sight!  It is worth it!
All of these glaciers and ice fields used to be one continuous glacier, but are now getting smaller and breaking up as a result of climate change.  I'm glad I got to see this glacier now, while it's still here.  Because it'll be gone soon.
On the return trip, I wonder if I will see the grizzlies again.  There are long stretches without any other hikers, so I sing and make noise around blind corners.

All is clear though.  
For more information on this hike:
Grinnell Glacier

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