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Small waterfall with epic background, Glacier National Park

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A year ago today… I hiked up to Ruby Lake, in the High Sierras. 11,000 feet never felt so good!

The lake itself is nestled in a glacial Cirque, a round depression left by the last holdout of a glacier bounded by a terminal moraine. It’s not known how deep this lake is, but it remarkably clear and you can see very far into the water from the shore. The glacier was visible prominently until about a hundred years ago, and now remains only under a large pile of rocks. 

A beautiful photo of first light at Glacier National Park in Montana. Of the image, photographer Kevin LeFevre says: “While shooting the sunrise at Bowman Lake, we were graced with this meandering doe. I scrambled to change my camera settings to accommodate the movement and pulled off this solitary photo. A once in a lifetime.” While parts of Glacier are closed because of ‪‎Reynolds Creek Fire‬, most of the park remains open, including Bowman Lake area. Photo courtesy of Kevin LeFevre.

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Glacier National Park - West Glacier

By early afternoon I had made my way back over the border, through the town of Whitefish, Montana and up to Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. I reserved a walk-in campsite and was ready to explore the park for the weekend. Unfortunately, the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road was still not fully open for the season, which meant that I wasn’t able to explore much beyond Avalanche campground/trailhead on the West side. In order to get to the east Glacier regions I would have to eventually make the long drive around the park. However, I was happy with my time on Lake McDonald and the beautiful weather I had over the weekend.

My itinerary for the visit was as follows:

  • Reserved a campsite in Apgar Campground for 2 nights @ $20/night
  • Enjoyed the views on the Lake McDonald Shore, explored the Apgar Village and Visitor Center to get shuttle schedules and trail conditions
  • Attended a Ranger Talk at Apgar Amphitheater

DAY 2

  • Took the free park shuttle to the Avalanche Lake trailhead
  • Hiked 5mi roundtrip to Avalanche Lake
  • Took the free shuttle to Lake McDonald Lodge village for lunch
  • Hiked another 5mi up to the Johns Lake Loop and McDonald Falls
  • Made dinner then bought a Huckleberry Milkshake at Eddie’s
  • Watched the sunset on Lake McDonald
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Glacier National Park - Canada

After spending a short amount of time in Mount Revelstoke I decided to head to Glacier National Park (in BC Canada) in the same afternoon to finish the day with a more challenging hike. I stopped at the Illecillewaet Trailhead which offers several trails leading up into the mountains and I chose to do the 6mi round-trip Great Glacier Trail. After a steady uphill ascent, crossing rivers and climbing switchbacks the trail opened up to an incredible view. I was surrounded by peaks and rushing waters from dwindling glaciers. I did some rock hopping to climb higher and then sat on the summit for an hour while taking in the scenery. I’m glad I made this stop and would highly recommend this trail for anyone passing through the park!

After finding that the park campgrounds were still closed for the season, I made my way down the mountain to free recreational site campground at Waitabit Creek in the small town of Donald. There were plenty of campsite including some prime ones along the river with views of snowy peaks.