Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day Nineteen: Many Glacier is not to be Missed

Today, with the weather picture perfect after yesterday's storms, we set out by bike to see another part of Glacier National Park -- the Many Glacier area, named, presumably, for the number of glaciers still extant and visible from the area. Although the prediction is that, with global warming, they'll all be gone by 2030. Not a good datum that. On the other hand, we learned in the course of the day that these were relatively recently formed glaciers -- in the 1800s -- not zillions of years ago. Some minor solace in that, perhaps.

It was an incredible day and, in some ways, was as good as, if not better than, biking the Going to the Sun Road. We rode North out of St. Mary about 8 miles to Babb, MT, where we then turned West to ride the approximately 12 mile road into the heart of Many Glacier. The biking distance wasn't a lot -- 32 miles total (including the return later to Babb for the night) -- and the elevation wasn't particularly strenuous either. The only hard (but not exhausting) part was dealing with the leftover Westerly wind from yesterday, which was still gusting pretty heartily.

But it was well worth it. This time there was no morning mist to obscure the vistas. And they were, again, stupendous. I'll let the photos speak -- and you be the judge.

A highlight of the day was when we arrived at the Many Glacier Lodge, a luxury inn built in the early 1900s (and lovingly restored and preserved over the years), right on the edge of Swiftcurrent Lake. We locked up our bikes out front (minimally secure -- we're trusting mainly that no one in their right minds would want to pedal off with all our weight!), and took a beautiful boat ride across the lake, surrounded by mountains and aretes. We then hiked 0.2 miles to the next lake, Josephine, and took another boat to its end. From there, we set off on a 2 mile hike, with 1000 feet of elevation, to Grinnell Glacier overlooking Grinnell Lake (the third lake in the series). The hike was strenuous, but spectacular, with the panaromas changing in breathtaking ways each time we paused to look. Our unexpected reward: a herd (clan? posse? pod? meeting?) of Bighorn Sheep at the top. Beautiful animals -- and we even got to see them butting horns with each other. We actually spottted bears on three different occasions during the day, but the sheep stole the show.

Here are today's route and metrics:




  1. You're not kidding about spectacular. Wow. And again up close on the black bears, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

  2. amazing, amazing,amazing! It is so spectacular!