There is something so magical about this little corner of Glacier National Park, and everyone knows it. Whether you stand in line at 2am to wait for a non-reservable site, or spend days trying to get a reservable one online 6 months prior, it is always difficult. The process to get a campsite is terrible, and I am so thankful for my small army of “site getters” who helped me manage to put together both sites we needed for this part of the trip. My sister, Sheryl, was the first one who snagged a site online with her quick fingers, but after a little persuasion on our end, we convinced her to join us and keep the site for herself 😉 A dozen or more friends and a few days later of trying to get a site, another friend was able to grab a second site for us… as luck would have it, it was right next door! What are the chances?!
Our first day there was spent trekking up to sister park, Watertown National Park, in Canada. The second day, the Hoffpack hiked one of our favorite trails, the Grinnell Glacier Trail. We saw this cute deer early on.
We met a fellow Midwest family on the trail, and spent the first 4 miles hauling. We are grateful they were able to snap a family pic for us before parting ways.
One of the coolest parts of the trail is this waterfall, a great way to cool off on a hot day like this one!
Grinnell Glacier is one of the few remaining glaciers in the park, and the glacial water nearby is quite refreshing, a perfect place to stop for lunch.
By the time we headed back down, it was getting really toasty outside. We may have gotten a little more wet this time going through the falls 😉
This guy was out foraging as we headed back.
The Dellangelo family had not arrived yet when we returned, so we decided to test out the boats in the creek. This was probably not one of our brightest ideas, as the creek was not high enough to boat most of the way to Swiftcurrent Lake, so we ended up dragging them most of the way.
By the time we got there, we decided my sister and family might be back at the site, so we took off portaging… the mile back to the campsite.
We were so excited that the Dellangelos decided to take such a big trip with their three little girls, and that they made us a part of it! The creek was one of our favorite spots to play.
There is something so special about cousins. They really love each other.
My sister knew that I become hiking possessed when in Glacier, so we were planning to take a separate early hike to Iceberg Lake and meet up in the afternoon, but lucky us, they decided to join us! I don’t think her girls love hiking as much as our kids… yet 😉
We were able to see a couple more grizzlies on this mountain, with ranger led hike nearby.
Iceberg Lake is just amazing, and a great spot for lunch. There were quite a few people jumping in on this sunny afternoon, so of course we had to join in on the fun.
Gav wanted to go all in, but we offered up this smaller iceberg for now.
On the other hand, us crazy parents had to take a swim!
The hike back was another scorcher.
The Dellangelo girls didn’t get to enjoy much of the scenery on the hike back. They were zonked!
One of the best parts of this campground is the great river access, and the kids had a blast redirecting water.
Julia truly is a perfect baby.
I stood on in amazement at how dirty Nora managed to get in the campsite, despite any effort otherwise. It wasn’t that long ago that we had toddlers, but I don’t remember them ever getting that dirty!
We got lucky with our other neighbors, and Braden spent every minute he could playing soccer with his new Montana buddy.
Back to back hikes did not seem to faze our little hikers, so we followed up Iceberg Lake with a 17 miler over Piegan Pass. Mark offered to drop us off at St Mary’s, so we took the shuttle up to Siyeh Bend, and then hiked back over the pass to our campsite.
Just like Ethan’s description in “The Gift of Experience,” the wildflowers were spectacular.
We hiked over the icefield and reached the top of the pass in no time again.
The kids are always so intrigued by the cool fort at the summit.
Because this hike is not easy to maneuver logistically with doing different start and end points, we hardly ran into anyone on the trail, but saw a group that had gone out and back who we asked to snap this pic for us.
The marmots at the higher elevations are always so fun to watch.
This rock was a perfect spot to take a short break.
While we were there, we spotted a mountain goat off in the distance.
The hike down is miles of switchbacks.
All that downhill was too much for Ellie’s shoes, so they met an untimely death. Good thing this was our last big hike of the trip!
One of the most amazing parts of this hike is all of the waterfalls, many of which are unnamed.
We made it back to Grinnell Lake and Lake Josephine with no bears or trouble this time.
By the time we made it back to Many Glacier, the hotel was a welcome sight!
We spent the next morning taking a short hike to Red Rock Falls with the Dellangelo’s.
This may sound creepy, but the kids love swimming in this lake… because of all these snakes?!
Our last afternoon was as warm as all the others, which called for more paddling on the lakes. This time, we decided to paddle Swiftcurrent and portage over to Lake Josephine, a recommendation from our new Montana native friends.
Apparently, right after we took this pic, a big bull moose moved into the scene.
Thankfully, our evening campground walk to this lake was finally successful this time. We were able to see this big guy with an old college friend and her family!
The kids had just met, but they got along like old friends!
It was a quick visit, but so fun to reconnect for our overlapping evening in Glacier!
Gav managed to catch this frog in the lake too, which got just as much attention as the big moose.
We snuck over to the motor inn for one of our favorite traditions, huckleberry ice cream.
Its always hard to say goodbye to Glacier, but it was time to head across the country to the Upper Peninsula for a visit with more family and friends before our summer 2017 trip end! (Travel dates 7/27-8/1/17)