Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 6

The last full day of exploration of Glacier National Park with my group was centered around the Iceberg Lake hike.

At the beginning of the trail (maybe a half mile in), we noticed about a half dozen people not moving forward. Turns out they spotted a bear in the vicinity. We noticed that it was a bear mom with two cubs. A few minutes of waiting and we proceeded forward with caution. Not more than ten minutes later, we saw another bear mom with two cubs. At first, these cubs climbed a tree but then they walked down. It was unclear what was going to happen with the bear mom protecting her cubs, so our group leader told us to stay back as we let the bears have ample space to cross the trail, if they wanted. At this point, about twenty people were lined up, almost single file, waiting for this bear and her two cubs to cross the trail. We stood patiently waiting, and eventually the bears made their way down the hill.

I didn't get a good photo of this bear encounter (as I didn't have a long lens attached and I was in the back of the group), but a participant in our group captured a great photo:

Bears advancing on the Iceberg Lake trail. Photo credit: Steven Werner.

Does it look like the bears are smiling as they are coming down? 

After the morning bear encounter, it was a bear-free walk for the rest of the hike.

The Iceberg Lake trail.

Scene from the Iceberg Lake trail.

Shortly before the trail ends at Iceberg Lake, there is a smaller lake (I believe it is unnamed) where our group decided to rest and eat our picnic lunch.

The unnamed lake near Iceberg Lake. Great spot to rest with fewer visitors compared to Iceberg Lake.

Views of the unnamed lake.

As we were eating our lunch, we noticed a couple of moose in the distance:

Moose on the hills.

Just prior to arriving to Iceberg Lake, we noticed a mama moose with her calf feeding on the nearby bushes. They were so close to the trail that a ranger had to step in and ask people to stay away at least 25 yards from the animals. 

A moose and her calf on the Iceberg Lake trail.

The moose walked around Iceberg Lake and even went into the water. At an elevation of 6094 feet, Iceberg Lake is surrounded by Mt. Wilbur towards the south, and Iceberg Peak and the Continental Divide to the west. I walked around the lake to capture a few photos:

An iceberg floating in Iceberg Lake.

A view of Iceberg Lake from an unmelted snow patch.

A vertorama (two images stitched together) of Iceberg Lake.

Detail of the rock formations in Iceberg Lake.

This guy had the right idea to bring a hammock...

After about an hour walking around the lake and relaxing, we turned around and started walking back to the trailhead. Along the way, we paused to take some photos of wildflowers:

Beautiful wildflowers on the Iceberg Lake trail.


The Glacier blog series is complete. I will probably do a wrap-up post with my favorite images in the future; doing so will also allow me to post some new images which I've had additional time to review and post-process.

If you want to see the previous Glacier National Park blog posts, the previous entries are linked below:

  • Day 1 (Lake McDonald and Avalanche Creek)
  • Day 2 (Logan Pass and St. Mary and Virginia Falls)
  • Day 3 (Logan Pass trail and Hidden Lake)
  • Day 4 (St. Mary Lake and wildflowers)
  • Day 5 (Grinnell Glacier hike)
     

 

Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 5

Day 5 at Glacier National Park began prior to 5AM to catch the sunrise over Grinnell Peak. It was a three minute hike from the Many Glacier Hotel to get to an overlook of Grinnell Peak and Swiftcurrent Lake. As the sun continued rising, it illuminated the peak and the trees in a golden glow. I post-processed the below image in Lightroom and the LAB Color Mode in Photoshop:

Sunrise over Grinnell Peak in Glacier National Park.

After breakfast, our group had reservations on a boat (actually two boats) to get closer to the Grinnell Glacier trailhead.  The two historic wooden boats—Chief Two Guns on Swiftcurrent Lake and Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine—brought us to the Grinnell Glacier trailhead. The two lakes are only 0.2 miles apart. The Grinnell Glacier hike is about 7.6 miles round trip from the upper boat dock on Lake Josephine (see photo below). Otherwise, if you opt not to take the boat, the hike is 12 miles round trip beginning at the Many Glacier Hotel trailhead.

Passengers departing the Morning Eagle on their way to traverse the Grinnell Glacier trail.

The Grinnell Glacier hike saw a moderate ascent almost immediately. I captured the below photo of our group going up:

The beginning of the Grinnell Glacier hike.

After about fifteen or twenty minutes of ascent, one was treated to beautiful views. Note the boat ramp in the center of the frame and the bridge in the lower right that was near the beginning of the Grinnell Glacier trail:

Views from the Grinnell Glacier hike.

About 3/4 of the way to the Grinnell Glacier, one will come across a waterfall. Those that aren't afraid of the slippery rocks can veery toward the left and get little exposure to the waters. Others, perhaps afraid of heights, braced for a little cooling off, as seen in the below two photos. This portion of the hike is one of the congested spots.

Walking through a small waterfall on the Grinnell Glacier hike.

Made it! A waterproof jacket and quick-drying pants are helpful.

Another thirty more minutes and you come across the Grinnell Glacier and Upper Grinnell Lake. Our group spent about an hour here, capturing photos and walking on the edge of the lake.

Final destination: Grinnell Glacier and Upper Grinnell Lake.

Grinnell Glacier and Upper Grinnell Lake.

On the way back, the sun was high up in the sky, which made the deep ceruleans/turquoise colors of Grinnell Lake incredible to behold. The turquoise color of Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park is a result of "glacial milk," a suspension of fine particles of limestone (calcium carbonate) ground by glacial movement from the Grinnell Glacier over a limestone bed. In the photo below, you can make out the stream of glacial waters entering the lake near the bottom right corner. I hadn't seen colors like this since my trip to New Zealand.

Deep turquoise color of Grinnell Lake. 

On the way back, you're also afforded spectacular views of all three lakes: Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Swiftcurrent Lake:

A view of Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Swiftcurrent Lake from the Grinnell Glacier trail.

At around 3:45PM, the Morning Eagle was on its way to pick up passengers on Lake Josephine. Our boat would arrive thirty minutes later.

The Morning Eagle arriving to dock at Lake Josephine.

Aboard the Chief Two Guns, I ended the afternoon by taking photos of the renowned Many Glacier Hotel.

Many Glacier Hotel as seen from aboard the Chief Two Guns.


If you enjoyed this post, please see my earlier entries from my visit to Glacier National Park:

Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 4

On Day 4 at Glacier National Park, the wake-up call was in the early morning hours (around 5AM) to photograph the sunrise over St. Mary Lake. We were treated to a calm morning with relatively cloud-free skies. 

Sunrise over St. Mary Lake. Wild Goose Island is visible at the center of the lake.

After coming back to our hotel for breakfast, we packed up our bags and continued on our way toward the iconic Many Glacier Hotel, the largest hotel in Glacier National Park. 

Along the way, we stopped in a massive flower field to take a few photos. My identification of wildflowers is non-existent, so I am relying on this website to help identify flowers (you can narrow your search by location, elevation, flower color, and flower shape). 

Bigleaf lupine in a flower field at Glacier National Park. 

There's a metaphor embedded in the image below. Dare to be different, perhaps? Don't be afraid to stand out?

A lone blanket flower is seen among the lupines. Source.

A photo for scale and density of these wildflowers:

An RV on its way to Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park.

After a great dinner inside the Ptarmigan Dining Room (dinner menu here) of Many Glacier Hotel, we had the evening to relax. I took some time to edit photos from the past couple of days and then stepped out on the balcony to catch the fleeting light.

Last light over Swiftcurrent Lake and Mount Grinnell.


See my prior blog posts from Glacier National Park below:

 

 

Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 3

The highlight of the third day in Glacier National Park was driving over the Going-to-the-Sun Road to the Logan Pass trailhead. From this location, it was a moderate hike to the top overlooking Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain. The view from the top was incredible.

View of Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain.

At this location, we spent an hour walking around and taking photographs. Someone on the ledge had powerful binoculars and spotted a mountain goat about a mile away (maybe the distance was shorter, but the goat appeared as a tiny white speck). I zoomed in with my telephoto lens as the mountain goat began its descent:

The long trek to Hidden Lake begins.

We spent about thirty to forty five minutes paying attention to the mountain goat. Some visitors were trying to "will" the mountain goat to come closer to our vantage point. Eventually, everyone got their wish:

After a long wait, everyone's favorite mountain goat makes its appearance above Hidden Lake.

The mountain goat found something interesting near these rocks.

After photographing the mountain goat, it was time to start trekking back to the trailhead (the trailhead further down to Hidden Lake was closed by park rangers due to bear sightings in the vicinity). Along the way, two more mountain goats appeared, this time a mother mountain goat with a baby mountain goat (a baby mountain goat is called a kid):

A mother mountain goat (a nanny) and her baby goat (a kid).

Approaching the beginning of the Logan Pass trailhead, it was clear there was something happening in the distance. A lot of people were looking out into the meadow about two hundred yards away from the trailhead. There was a grizzly bear in the vicinity! I captured the below photo with my telephoto lens at maximum focal length (400mm):

Grizzly bear seen from a distance.

As I and dozens of other visitors continued down the path toward the trailhead (Logan Pass Visitor Center), the grizzly bear was on the move. There were two rangers eyeing the situation. Eventually, one ranger blocked visitors from continuing down the path from the north and the other ranger blocked the path from the south, giving the grizzly approximately three hundred yards of space to cross the trail. I captured the below photo about a minute before the grizzly crossed the trail:

Grizzly Bear sighting at the Logan Pass trailhead in Glacier National Park.

It was a safe grizzly encounter and the rangers at Glacier National Park did a great job keeping people safe and letting the grizzly bear pass through without any issues.

After lunch at Logan Pass, we got back in our vehicles and drove back to St. Mary Lodge. After dinner, we departed for an evening photo session with nearby waterfalls.

The sun peeking through at Glacier National Park.

The final destination of the evening was near the Rising Sun campground to capture the sunset over St. Mary Lake. I spent a few minutes walking about, marveling at the beauty around me,

Contrast at St. Mary Lake.

We spent about forty five minutes setting up tripods, talking long exposures, and capturing the sunset. At the end of the evening, the sun illuminated the clouds and made for a spectacular light show. Below is my initial edit of the scene as it unfolded:

Sunset over St. Mary Lake at Glacier National Park. Note the crescent moon in the upper left corner.


My earlier recaps from Glacier National Park:

Day 1
Day 2

Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 2

The second day in Glacier National Park was full of spectacular sights. Today's wake up call was 5:30AM, with a morning photo session at Avalanche Creek. 

Avalanche Creek at dawn.

At 11AM, we departed from Lake McDonald Lodge to travel over the continental divide. We stopped along the road a couple of times to take in views like this:

Passing near the continental divide in Glacier National Park.

 Tunnel view of Glacier National Park.

Tunnel view of Glacier National Park.

In the afternoon, we arrived to Saint Mary Lodge on the east side of Glacier National Park. After some rest and a late lunch, we were off to photograph some of the waterfalls in this area of the park (St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls).

A view of the bottom portion of Virginia Falls.

As we circled back to the beginning of the trailhead, I caught the sun reflecting off the mountain peaks:

Golden light. Trees are charred from a fire that burned through this section of Glacier National Park in 2015.

Scenes from Glacier National Park: Day 1

I am currently in Glacier National Park in Montana, visiting this park for the first time. The cell service and Wi-Fi here are spotty or non-existent, but I will try to provide some updates from my trip on this blog. 

Today (Day 1): I drove up from the Flathead Valley region toward the West entrance of Glacier National Park. I took an afternoon hike toward Avalanche Lake (about 4.5 miles roundtrip), which I completed in about two hours. 

In the evening, the group with which I am traveling stopped near the Avalanche lake trail to capture some long exposure images of Avalanche Creek.

Avalanche Creek in Glacier National Park.

Wildflowers growing near Avalanche Creek.

After dinner at Lake McDonald lodge, I captured a couple of images of the evening light and the lodge:

Home for the night: Lake McDonald Lodge.

Evening light at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

More photos to come from Glacier National Park as I edit them while on the road.