Another early hiking day. This place is really busy. We left the RV at around 7:30 am but the GPS took us on a wild goose chase on roads that could not get us to our destination. I usually check the route but I forgot to last night.
The Glacier Gorge trailhead we were going to is one of the busiest in the park. It can only handle about 25 cars. The much larger Bear Lake trailhead is just a bit farther down the road. If both are full they run shuttle buses from a lot closer to the start of Bear Lake Road. The other day the ranger at the visitor’s center had said that if you get there much past 8 am both lots will be full.
As we drove up the road it was now about 8 and the sign said that Glacier Gorge was full but Bear Lake still had spots. This just meant a slightly longer hike. As luck would have it I saw a spot open in Glacier Gorge as we went by and quickly grabbed it.
Another reason we went early was the weather forecast. It called for 40% chance of rain starting at about 9 am. At least that was off by a few hours. We had beautiful blue skies on the hike up to the lake. The skies did start to darken as we were there. About 1/3 of the way back, around noon, we got rained on for about 1/2 hour. We can’t complain much as I think this is the first hike this year where we really got wet.
The hike has much the same stats as yesterday’s, 9.1 km and a 900 foot vertical climb. It was a bit rockier and started about 1000 feet higher at 9400 feet so it was more of a workout but not too bad.
Lots of people passed us.
Two guys were fishing down in Glacier Creek. I have no idea how there could be any fish as the creek is really steep with lots of waterfalls.
Our first stop was Albert Falls.
Along with everyone else.
Working our way upwards the trees started getting sparser so we could see some farther off views.
We then climbed some final steep switchbacks to the lake.
A bit of snow just before we got there.
We walked around to the point in the middle of the picture above. It was a bit crowded.
The wide view.
We picked a spot and even though it was only 10:45, it had been a long time since breakfast so we had lunch.
The group of ladies calling themselves “Roads Scholars” were altogether and it was much emptier when they left.
We sat there a long time enjoying the view and resting up for the trip back.
One guy even carried up an inflatable boat to do some fishing.
The clouds were starting come in and darken so we headed back at about 11:30. There had only been about 10-15 people at the lake during most of our time there. As we headed back down the switchbacks people just seemed to be pouring in.
We spent some time and explored the creek below the trail.
Then the rain started around noon. First a few very heavy drops and then a good solid rain.
The thing we couldn’t understand was that there were still a lot of people heading up the trail. A lot of them had no rain gear and were just in shorts and T-shirts. Even with rain gear it was not fun. I guess the mentality was “We are here and we are going to do this trail no matter what”.
We heard a lot of thunder and saw some good lightning bolts off in the distance which made heading up the trail an even worse idea.
We got back to the car around 1 pm and headed home. Later in the afternoon the sun came back out but there were still lots of dark clouds around.
As we are not morning people we fell into bed for a long nap.