Glacier National Park ~ a slow hiker's guide™

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Grizzly Bear Kills West Glacier Man

 6-29-16

I did not bike this year on the South Boundary Trail which is across the Middle Fork from the fatal bear mauling. It is now off my list of places to safely bike.

 

Going to Sun Road opened June 16, 2016

I heard that the GTSR was to open tomorrow morning so I checked park web site to check status. As of 8 pm 6-16-16 it is showing as open. Will take a ride on Going to Sun Road to Many Glacier sometime Friday.

June 11, 2016

Black Bear shot by Park Rangers in Apgar.
Last week I attended the 'bear fare' which went into great detail about food and bears. Glacier Park bears unlike Yosemite bears don't know how to open a car to get to food. Most of the information was targeted at homeowners who kept chickens.

In Yosemite Park "You are required by federal regulations to store all your "food" properly throughout Yosemite National Park. You must have your food stored unless it's within arm's reach (so, don't go for a swim or take a nap while leaving food out)." This is the second black bear shot by rangers in the last year with food nearby campers / picnickers. Personally when I am sitting at a picnic table with food there is a can of bear spray within an arms length. Actually unless I am inside a building I have bear spray on my belt.

May 27, 2016

Hiked to Avalanche Lake. The trail is slightly muddy no snow. On the return from Avalanche Lake it rained the entire way back to Avalanche Gorge. Photo of Avalanche Lake taken during a steady drizzle. Mist from the rainstorm softened view of Avalanche Lake. I usually don't hike when it is raining but am going to rethink that especially for hikes that involve lakes.

Avalanche Lake

GTSR flooded AGAIN It has been wet in Whitefish but not as wet as the dramatic photo from the Missoulian of the GTSR under a brown, wet, flowing blanket of water!

May 13, 2016

It snowed last night in Glacier Park. Webcams at Two Medicine, St Mary and Many Glacier show snow in those valleys. Apgar Lookout webcam is snow covered but Apgar Village shows rain not snow. Lots of rain in Whitefish and nightime temps were nowhere as cold as had been forecast.

May 8, 2016

High Spring Temperatures knock down winter snowpack. Note: As of 7:50 pm it is raining hard 5 mies north of Whitefish. Valley is wetter than last spring.

May 4, 2016

Running Eagle Falls is located after the Park Visitor Station and before Two Medicine Lake.

Man drowns after jumping from Running Eagle Falls.

May 3, 2016

Biked to Loop from Avalanche. Lots of bear scat on the GTSR but didn't see any bears. Temperature was 78 D F in the shade at the Loop. No snow along the road to the Loop or at the Loop. Plenty of wildflowers. No avalanche at Red Rock Falls ~ this is the second year in a row that there hasn't been an avalanche at Red Rock Falls. In the past the avalanche would cross the road and block Logan Creek.

May 2, 2016

"May 1st, 2016 Montana Water Supply Outlook Reports - High pressure with abundant sunshine causes snowpack to transition to melt well ahead of schedule. Basin-wide snowpack peaked across the state at the beginning of April, with most basins reporting near to slightly below average water year peaks. Sun-Teton-Marias snowpack is near record low and snowmelt runoff is anticipated to be well below average. "

May 1, 2016

GTSR now open to Avalanche

April 29, 2016

Large patches of bare ground now showing on Apgar Lookout webcam. With plenty of rain this spring, wildflowers are making a strong showing.

April 26, 2016

Unlike last spring, the spring of 2016 has been wet.

April 24, 2016

Paintbrush blooming in the meadows near my house. I'm waiting on the car gate to move to Avalanche to bike up to Loop but expect wildflowers to be making a strong showing near the Loop.

April 22, 2016

Biked to Avalanche. Boardwalk almost clear of snow. There is one plow berm that would block wheelchair passage, however car gate remains at Lake McDonald Lodge. Gate historically is open to Avalanche on Mothers Day. More of the large trees beside the boardwalk blew down this winter. Luckily none of them crossed the boardwalk. I have biked to Avalanche four times this spring. Snow melted out before annual plowing started. One large patch of ice was removed once this years spring plowing started.

April 18, 2016

Upper elevation snow levels are 87% of average. Lower elevations clear of snow.

Hiked Apgar Lookout Trail no snow lower elevation last half mile 100% snow covered. New radio tower along with large metal box about the size of a short tractor trailer container. Underbrush cleared so that the entire length of Lake McDonald is now visible. There is a new webcam which made a brief show on Glacier Parks website but is no longer live.

January 1, 2016

Many Glacier Campground Reservations

Many Glacier Campground Reservations starts 2-3-16.

Warning graphic images on this link of injuries to hands and arm of the hiker bitten by grizzly bear sow in Many Glacier! ! Along with photo of another grizzly bear taken by that same hiker.

Trail Links

Trail Links above is for mobile phone Navigation.

October 1, 2015

Women dies from bear attack ~ Note this attack occurred in Kalispell, MT not in Glacier National Park.

September 29, 2015

"Grizzly Bear Grabs shakes man in Glacier National Park"

. . . "The 65-year male hiker from Wisconsin was hiking alone off- trail near Mt. Henkel in the Many Glacier Valley, where he surprised a sow grizzly with two sub-adult cubs. The hiker was grabbed and shaken by the bear during the encounter. The man successfully deployed his bear spray, causing the bear to release him and leave the area. The hiker received puncture wounds to his lower leg and injuries to his hand. . . A hiker was injured by a grizzly bear on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at approximately 5 pm in Glacier National Park. His injuries were not life threatening." from NPS press release

Just a reminder bear spray works only if you have it with you! This fall with a Very poor berry crop I am carrying it in my yard.

Trail of Cedars repaired. Next time I'm in the area will get photos of trail surface to update my Trail of the Cedars page. The old surface was Very uneven and difficult for those with mobility or vision issues.

September 22, 2015

Summer is OVER, the days are getting much shorter, nights are slowly starting to cool off. Snowfall at upper elevation started several weeks before the end of summer, which is pretty common up in Northwest Montana when above 5,000 feet.

September 17, 2015

Highline Facelift Hungry Horse News article on upgrading of Highline Trail

September 14, 2015

At this point there is only ONE campground open on the Going To The Sun Road ~ Apgar Campground

Fall colors are out on the east side. Good time for Canadians to visit Glacier Park while the Going To The Sun Road is still open.

September 13, 2015

Hiked from Atlantic Falls backcountry campground to Triple Divide Pass. Great fall colors, very scenic hike, a short length of the trail near the pass covered with snow. Snow was soft and easy to get through. Plus added treat of elk bugling. This trail up to Triple Divide Pass and down to Red Eagle Campground is now on my list for next years multiple day hiking, with the first night at Cut Bank Campground then over to Atlantic Falls, possibly a side hike to Morning Star. Up and over Triple Divide to Red Eagle Lake and out at Saint Mary. During July while the days are longer.

Medicine Grizzly Lake from Triple Divide Pass Trail.

Glacier Park finally closed St Mary Campground due to the number of bears in the campground enjoying the multitude of berries. This full closure follows a partial closure with only hard sided campers allowed. Back in the 1950's or possibly the early 1960's GNP planted various berry producing plants in the this and other campgrounds to attract bears to the campgrounds.

September 9, 2015

Warmer temperatures forecast for later this week. Great Falls Tribune on current status of forest fires. Last day of free shuttle service was Labor Day. Shuttle will start again Next year July 1, 2016.

The rescue described in the link below took place while I was at Sperry Chalet and occurred the day before I hiked up with two other hikers to Sperry Glacier. September trips to Sperry Glacier are now on my annual hike list.

Triple Divide Pass Trail


Medicine Grizzly Lake

September 11, 2015

Rescue at Sperry Glacier

Fall colors 2015

September 7 2015. Cracker Lake Trail & Campground closed because of a Carcass

September 5, 2015

GTSR Closed between Big Bend and Jackson Glacier Overlook.- winter weather conditions. September is often a quick transition in weather month. From hot, dry conditions to cool to cold and snowy conditions over a period of a few days. Same thing happened last year at this time.

Going To The Sun Road reopened to through traffic.

September 4, 2015

Hopefully Glacier Park has been getting as much rain as Whitefish.

September 3, 2015

It's Raining ! ! Early today light rain, this afternoon windy and harder rainfall. Many of the backcountry campsites closed due to forest fires are now open. Currently eight are closed due to wildfires. Most of those most likely won't reopen this year.

Bears are very active ~ looking for food. Due to spring and summer dry conditions there are few berries for the bears, with the exception of Mountain Ash. In developed areas of Flathead County bears are eating apples.

Saint Mary Campground is open to HARD-SIDED VEHICLES ONLY in the campground due to bear frequenting as of 8/28/2015.

Just back from two nights at Sperry Chalet. Hiked to Comeau Pass & Lincoln Pass. USGS info on Sperry Glacier. The view from Comeau Pass is one of the most intriguing in Glacier Park. Unless you hike a good ways across slick red argillite the only snow or ice visible is the terminus of Sperry Glacier. I hope to be able to find out from USGS the height of that wall of snow & ice.

Scrambled half way up Lincoln Peak.

young mountain goat Sperry Chalet 9-1-15

September 1, 2015

Essex evacuation lifted.

August 31, 2015

Hwy 2 is open.

August 27, 2015

Hwy 2 closed at Essex

Essex being evacuated!

Hwy 2 closed ESSEX AREA, MILE 176.5 TO 185 Signed Route: US-2

Highline Trail to get a 'Face-lift'

While the Highline Trail info is good news for everyone, todays air quality report is very bad news. Air quality in Libby, Flathead Valley, and Hamilton is currently VERY UNHEALTHY

August 24, 2015

Some days are clear blue skies more often the air is filled with smoke from local and distant wildfires. Today is one of those very smoky days. Not the smokiest but the webcam from Lake McDonald gives you a fairly dramatic rendering. Scroll down this page a short ways to get a good idea how smoke is blurring distant views. Caution on a day like this it is NOT a good idea to start a strenuous hike.

August 22, 2015

Pilot cars escort traffic through fire zone at Essex.

It snowed last night at higher elevations in Glacier National Park.

Fourteen backcountry sites closed, down from eighteen a few days ago. Most in the Waterton area have re-opened. Check with back country permit offices for current data. Eight days left as today no longer counts till single night restriction is lifted for the more popular sites.

August 21, 2015

Twenty-three trails closed
Eighteen Backcountry Campgrounds closed
Unhealthy levels of smoke.

Looks like the Thompson Fire is burning in the valley below the Dawson Pass / Pitamakan Pass traverse. This winter I hope to add the Dawson / Pitamakan Trail to my site. I hiked it last summer after 24 years of saying not in my lifetime.

Things are looking pretty grim for Essex according to the thermal map by mapping support.

August 20, 2015

Highway 2 closed near Essex due to Sheep Fire
Traffic is being turned around near the small community of Pinnacle on the west side, and Bear Creek on the east. from Missoulian

GNP posted a map on their Facebook page for those drivers with vehicles OVER 21 feet!

GNP fire danger rating has gone up to Extreme

smoke Lake Mcdonald 8-24-15

Webcam from August 24, 2015

August 19, 2015

Essex prepares for possible Evacuation

Currently twenty-three hiking hiking trails closed as a result of fires in Glacier National Park. Apgar makes twenty closed trails but it is closed for the last one hundred feet for construction.

There are now 18 backcountry campgrounds closed. Since you have to have a permit to camp in the backcountry I'm not listing them here unless GNP web live update goes down again.
Trail Closures Fielding Coal Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Elk Mountain Overlook Trail- Thompson Fire Ole Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Park Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Scalplock Lookout Trail-Thompson Fire Apgar Lookout Trail, the last 100 feet of the trail, which is all areas past the hitching post - hazardous conditions due to construction Saint Mary Lake Trail from Red Eagle Trail to Virginia Falls and St. Mary Falls trailhead – Reynolds fire Siyeh Pass Trail from Siyeh Pass to Sun Rift Gorge - Reynolds fire Otokomi Trail - Reynolds fire Cole Creek Trail - Thompson fire Nyack Creek Trail - Thompson fire Cutbank Pass Trail - Thompson fire Park Creek to Coal Creek cutoff trail – Thompson fire Dry Fork Trail, from Pitamakan Pass to Two Medicine Campground trailhead and Two Medicine Entrance trailhead - Thompson fire Morning Star Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Pitamakan Pass - Thompson fire Atlantic Creek Trail from Cutbank Auto Campground to Triple Divide Pass - Thompson fire Medicine Grizzly Lake Trail - Thompson fire Dawson Pass Trail/North Shore of Two Medicine Lake - Thompson Fire Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail – Thompson Fire Waterton Lake Trail from Goat Haunt to the International boundary - Waterton Lake Fire Waterton Valley Trail from Stoney Indian Junction to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire Boulder Pass Trail from Lake Francis Campground to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire *The Boat is still running from Waterton to Goat Haunt with no Backcountry access*

Open Burning NW Montana Banned


August 20, 2015

Highway 2 closed near Essex due to Sheep Fire

Traffic is being turned around near the small community of Pinnacle on the west side, and Bear Creek on the east. from Missoulian

GNP posted a map on their Facebook page for those drivers with vehicles OVER 21 feet! ! !

GNP fire danger rating has gone up to Extreme

August 19, 2015

Essex prepares for possible Evacuation

Currently twenty-three hiking hiking trails closed as a result of fires in Glacier National Park. Apgar makes twenty closed trails but it is closed for the last one hundred feet for construction.

There are now 18 backcountry campgrounds closed. Since you have to have a permit to camp in the backcountry I'm not listing them here unless GNP web live update goes down again.
Trail Closures Fielding Coal Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Elk Mountain Overlook Trail- Thompson Fire Ole Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Park Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Scalplock Lookout Trail-Thompson Fire Apgar Lookout Trail, the last 100 feet of the trail, which is all areas past the hitching post - hazardous conditions due to construction St. Mary Lake Trail from Red Eagle Trail to Virginia Falls and Saint Mary Falls trailhead – Reynolds fire Siyeh Pass Trail from Siyeh Pass to Sun Rift Gorge - Reynolds fire Otokomi Trail - Reynolds fire Cole Creek Trail - Thompson fire Nyack Creek Trail - Thompson fire Cutbank Pass Trail - Thompson fire Park Creek to Coal Creek cutoff trail – Thompson fire Dry Fork Trail, from Pitamakan Pass to Two Medicine Campground trailhead and Two Medicine Entrance trailhead - Thompson fire Morning Star Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Pitamakan Pass - Thompson fire Atlantic Creek Trail from Cutbank Auto Campground to Triple Divide Pass - Thompson fire Medicine Grizzly Lake Trail - Thompson fire Dawson Pass Trail/North Shore of Two Medecine Lake - Thompson Fire Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail – Thompson Fire Waterton Lake Trail from Goat Haunt to the International boundary - Waterton Lake Fire Waterton Valley Trail from Stoney Indian Junction to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire Boulder Pass Trail from Lake Francis Campground to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire *The Boat is still running from Waterton to Goat Haunt with no Backcountry access*

August 18, 2015

While data driven aspects of GNP website are back on-line data is at least 48 hours out of sync with reality, in some cases six days out of synch. All campgrounds are showing spaces open as of 8:52 pm 8-18-15. Sadly the date shown is 8-12-15 which is six days ago.

mountain goat eating red monkey flower


While this year is a major fire year for NW Montana as far as acres burned in Glacier Park it is a small child next to a very tall adult compared to 2003. Wildfires burned over 100,000 acres in Glacier Park. I was on a chair going up Big Mountain when the Roberts Fire swept over the ridge above Lake McDonald. Note: I was almost blown off the chair as a strong storm front swept into NW Montana. I spoke with people that were on the Lake McDonald boat ride when that happened and they described it as a wall of flame rushing down from the ridge line down to McDonald Lake.

Currently there are 16 backcountry campgrounds closed due to forest fires. On August 11 there were ten backcountry campgrounds closed due to forest fires

Updated Trail Closed List
Boulder Pass Trail (Janet,Francis,Hawksbill,Hole-in-Wall) Goat Haunt R.S. to Lake Janet Cpgd./ 3.2 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to wildland fire. 8/15/2015
Lake Janet Cpgd. to Lake Francis Cpgd. Jct./ 2.8 mi. Trail clear. 8/1/15 per 923 Trail closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Lake Francis Cpg. to Brown Pass/ 2.3 mi. Trail closed from Francis Lake CG to Goat Haunt due to Waterton Fire. 8/17/15 per 801
North Boundary Trail Waterton Lake Trail to International Boundary / 5.8 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to a wildland fire. 8/15/2015
Waterton River Cpg. to International Boundary / 3.3 mi. Clear 7/12/2015 per 923 Trail Closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Waterton River Cpg. to International Boundary / 3.3 mi. Clear 7/12/2015 per 923 Trail Closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Waterton Valley Trails (Kootenai Lakes) Goat Haunt R.S. to Kootenai Lakes Cpgd./ 2.5 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to wildland fire. 8/15/2015

August 15, 2015

As of noon today fire is near to going over the continental divide into drainage north of Two Medicine. Luckily for the moment that area is mainly rock on the western side of the divide. Heavily treed on eastern side of divide.

August 11, 2015

New fire restrictions for backcountry!


Story with photos of helicopter rescue in Nyack from Thompson Fire

Currently there are now ten backcountry campgrounds closed due to various fires in Glacier Park. Two front country campgrounds are closed ~ Rising Sun and Cut Bank Campground.
KOA and Johnson's Campgrounds remain as options in the St Mary area along with KOA in West Glacier.

August 9, 2015

Thirteen backpackers, including slow hiker were evacuated from Red Eagle Lake backcountry campsites due to the Thompson Fire. Below photos were taken during that evacuation.
Top photo from my campsite at foot of Red Eagle Lake. Twenty minutes before it was blue skies, fire appeared shortly after a brief Thunderstorm. First indication was a dark cloud with yellowish highlights on the lower side of the cloud while looking towards Red Eagle Pass. Top photo was taken about five minutes later just before I started to strike my tent.


Thompson Fire from Red Eagle Foot
Thompson Fire 3:46 pm

Correct time is 3:46 pm. I was unable to show how the smoke swept down from Red Eagle Pass and rapidly filled the Red Eagle Lake. We were lucky enough to just stay ahead of the smoke as the head of Red Eagle Lake has a steep rise creating a temporary smoke block. By the time I got to St Mary Campground the entire east side was filled with smoke from the Thompson Fire.


August 5, 2015

From USFS Fire Report
"From USFS Fire Report "Fire managers are feeling more confident in the security of the perimeter fire lines. As a result, three Hotshot crews plus additional resources will be reassigned to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Crews will concentrate on removing hazards and extinguishing hot spots adjacent to the road. As firefighters are now able to focus more resources along Going to the Sun Road, there is an expectation that the road will reopen sometime during this summer season as soon as it is safe for public travel. This remains a major priority for Glacier National Park. All businesses are open in St Mary to provide a variety of services for summer vacationers."

August 3, 2015

Smoke filled skies from western forest fires.
Reynolds Creek Wildfire is still burning as of August 3, 2015. East side of Going To Sun Road remains closed also due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire. All facilities at Rising Sun are closed due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire.
Fire not visible from pass!

July 28, 2015

Logan Pass reopened July 29, 2015, after closing due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire.

New Fire Line created with explosives. Link to article in Great Falls Tribune. It has been raining lightly in Northwest Montana, along with cooler temperatures and some snow at higher elevations.

July 27, 2015

St Mary Visitor Center reopened today.
Currently raining in West and East Glacier, plus Many Glacier.

July 26, 2015

Logan Pass July 29, 2015 to reopen

Just back from backpacking to Snyder Lake campground for one night followed by backpacking to Sperry Chalet campground for the second night. Red Monkey Flowers blooming on Sperry Chalet Trail near the rock ledge section of trail. Thunderstorm swept in from the west while I was hiking up to Sperry Chalet campground. Luckily light rain which turned into very hard driving rain just after I got to Sperry Dinning Hall. Enjoyed a tuna sandwich along with hot coffee as the skies opened up. First bug free backpacking trip this summer. Second rainstorm arrived just after dark. GNP opened Lake Ellen Wilson to camping yesterday. Lots of totally unprepared for rain hikers on the Sperry Trail. Mountain goats and kids frolicking on the plateau near the backcountry campground.
My hiking mileage total as of today for 2015 is 233 miles, with 33,869 feet of elevation gain. This total is for hikes in Glacier National Park and doesn't include any of my hikes this spring on the Whitefish Trails.

Winter / Spring 2015 Information.

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