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Glacier National Park - Belly River Trail - Sept. 18-22, 2015


PaulGS

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Living in Calgary, Alberta, I had never visited Glacier National Park even though it is only 2 1/2 hours south of Calgary so this year I decided it was time.

I submitted my dates for September back in April and got the dates and locations I requested. As this was my first backpacking trip to Glacier and a solo trip, I kept

my distances and elevation manageable. After all, I can always come back next year! B)

 

Here are some photos and commentary from my trip.

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Chief Mountain from the Alberta side of the border. A perfect fall day to drive down to Montana.

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I arrived at Glacier National Park about 11 AM as I wanted to make sure I could get a site at Many Glacier campground for the first night before setting off.

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I had time to visit the Many Glacier Hotel and got to hear a park ranger give an excellent talk on bears back at the campground that evening.

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After spending a windy but dry evening at the Many Glacier campground, I drove up back towards the Canadian border, parking at the Belly River

trailhead which is only 200 yards from the border. Heading out, the weather was pleasant.

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It was about a six mile hike to my first campground at Gable Creek. The clouds soon rolled in and the wind picked up. 

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Loved crossing the suspension bridge the next morning. Early the following week it was due to be removed for the season.

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The Belly River ranger station.

On my second day, I hiked about 10 miles to the head of Glenns Lake and stay at the campground there for two nights.

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With my tent set up, it looked stormy off west in the mountains, but for the first night and most of the second day, the bad weather held back. 

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Chief Mountain from Glenns Lake.

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My first evening at Glenns Lake was uneventful. On the second day, the weather grew much darker and very windy. On the second evening, very high winds (a ranger

said up to 65 MPH!) blew through the valley along with heavy rains. Thankfully my tent had some protection from trees against the heavy winds and came through ok.

Packing up a soggy tent while working to keep my sleeping bag dry wasn't a lot of fun though. 

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On this day I was heading to Elizabeth Lake. At first the weather didn't look promising but it got better and better until I arrived at Elizabeth Lake where it

was very nice.

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Elizabeth Lake.

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Suspension bridge at the foot of Elizabeth Lake. This bridge takes one up the trail to the Ptarmigan Tunnel. My trail on the way out would return me

back to my starting point so the Ptarmigan Tunnel will have to wait until another trip.

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Beautiful weather on my final day hiking out. 

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The only sign of bears I saw while backpacking. I am thinking this is a grizzly paw print. Can anyone confirm?

 

All in all I had a great trip visiting Montana and Glacier National Park. Going in September there weren't many people in the backcountry (and no bugs) which made

the trip even more enjoyable. Hopefully it won't be too long before I go backpacking in this wonderful part of the world again.

 

Edited by PaulGS
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Looks like a great trip!

That's a big bear footprint - I've seen black bear prints that big, but never seen a grizzly print.

Edited by toejam
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I'm going on a girlfriend hiking trip to Glacier next July.  We rented a cabin in the park for a week. Your photos have me chomping at the bit. So beautiful.

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  • 1 month later...
On November 30, 2015 at 9:52 PM, PaulGS said:

That's planning ahead TollerMom! You should have a great time. 

Any particular part of Glacier you plan to see?

We are staying in a cabin in Apgar.  I want to be sure I hike the Grinnelll trail to the glaciers and see Iceberg Lake. My cousins wife grew up in the area, her dad was a backcountry ranger in the 60's in glacier, so she'll show me some secret spots.  We also want to head into Canada (a first for many of us) and see the park up north.  I just ordered a good (hopefully) trail map from Hike734.  I'm just goo-goo over the photos of the area.. Many Glacier etc. 

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  • 1 month later...
J-Squared

We did family trip to Glacier (RV and dayhiking) and so far it is my favorite National Park!  Grinnel Glacier and Iceberg Lake were two of our favorite hikes.  It was nice to be able to catch shuttles throughout the park so we could do point-to-point hikes.  Great trip report, I would love to do some backpacking there!

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  • 4 months later...
On 1/26/2016 at 10:50 AM, TollerMom said:

We are staying in a cabin in Apgar.  I want to be sure I hike the Grinnelll trail to the glaciers and see Iceberg Lake. My cousins wife grew up in the area, her dad was a backcountry ranger in the 60's in glacier, so she'll show me some secret spots.  We also want to head into Canada (a first for many of us) and see the park up north.  I just ordered a good (hopefully) trail map from Hike734.  I'm just goo-goo over the photos of the area.. Many Glacier etc. 

I just ordered the Hike734 map to start planning a Glacier trip next summer. Did you have any issues with the map? Supplement it with anything else?

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TollerMom

Our trip to Glacier was fantastic.  The shuttle system was ideal for accessing most of our hikes.  Although we had the 734 map and Nat Geo maps, and Moon and Falcon hiking books, the places we went were pretty straightforward.  As a bonus, we met up with some long time park locals who hiked with us. If I can sit still long enough to post, I'll get a quick trip report out.

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