Missoula and Glacier National Park

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in National Parks, Photography, USA | No Comments

After Yellowstone I drove further north to Glacier National Park but on the way there I stopped in Missoula to visit Rachel’s aunt and cousin. I had a great time there and they showed me an awesome place in the mountains where I decided to camp for the night. The sunset was fantastic, the smoke clouds from the wildfire nearby made it even more breathtaking. I also got some wildlife visitors but nothing that tried to eat me 😉 A bit later in the evening, the moon rose over the far mountains and another amazing picture opportunity arose!

The next day I went back to Rachel’s cousin’s home and got some advice on where to go. The Wild Bill OHV track was a great tip and a lot of fun, unfortunately I was too busy navigation through the obstacles thus I don’t have any great pictures of this, but rest assured, it was fun! I wish we had that many off road opportunities in Switzerland!

Glacier NP has two sides, an east and a west side. I arrived at the west side and after a stop at the visitor center I decided to head up to the Kintla Lake Campground. I arrived there at 9am and got the second last spot. The Kintla Lake Campground is a primitive campground with only pit toilets, but as the name suggests lies on the lake and is a good starting point for hiking. I spent the rest of the day relaxing, swimming, reading and dusting the car. Something that has become an almost daily activity in these dry regions with all the gravel roads I am driving…

The first hike brought me to the Upper Kintla Lake and back. All in all an 18.2 mile (30km) hike. The weather was great and the rising sun made for good light conditions. The Upper Kintla Lake was a beautiful place for a rest, a quick swim (it was really cold!) and lunch. Now I only had to hike 9.1 miles back… which turned out to be quite far, but I made it back in one piece 🙂

Having tired legs I decided to spent some time driving and go to the east side over the Going-to-the-Sun Road. If you are spoiled with (swiss) mountain pass roads, this road is nothing spectacular but the people here are very proud of it and it is a nice drive!
Since all the campgrounds on the west side filled up rather quickly I camped outside the park at the foot of Divide Mountain. Another spectacular camp spot. It seemed like the rest of the United States wants to make up with amazing and free camp sites for the shitty experience on the east coast 😀
Anyway, the next day another hike to the Iceberg Lake was planned. This is probably one of the busiest trails in the whole park but is totally worth it and only 10 miles. On this hike I spotted my first Grizzly Bear, luckily it was quite far away from the trail, busy eating berries not humans 😉

The name “Glacier National Park” sets some expectations, like you would see tons of glaciers. Unfortunately, out of the once 150 glaciers there are only 26 left and even those will disappear until 2030. So don’t expect something like the Aletsch Glacier. Nevertheless, the park has tons of great hiking trails and lakes to offer and is definitely worth a visit.

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