Our last full day at Many Glacier started with a drive over to the other side of Swiftcurrent lake, where I took a photo of the lodge, and of another moose (but probably the same one as before).
After the pit stop for the moose photo, we started on our hike for the day. We originally planned to head up to Iceberg Lake, however there was a grizzly bear with her three cubs on the trail the day before, so they closed the trail past Ptarmigan Falls. We actually met the couple that had their trip interrupted by the bear; they were waiting for the boat with us on our first day in the park. She told us all about her encounter, which ended safely.
Quite a bit of the park was closed off due to bear activity. This day’s hike was along the edge of an area that was all closed off, we were not supposed to go uphill, ever.
After a while, I decided it was time to take some macro photos. I have a special lens (5o mm f/1.8 Canon fixed length lens), that I mount backwards with an aluminum ring, after I force it to lock at f/11. Since our walk was cut short by grizzly activity, there was plenty of time for me to take photos along the way. Many of these photos are focus stacked, and even panorama stacked, to get them to fit in the frame and have more in focus than a small sliver. Feel free to ask me sometime how to focus stack. If you ever take macro shots it can be a neat tool.
Ptarmigan Falls is the half way point to Iceberg Lake, and was our turnaround point for our hike. We sat above the falls and ate a snack, and then I took a photo of an Ichneumon wasp while everyone else taking a break gave me funny looks. Ichneumon wasps are very small and don’t sting, they are quite different than yellow jackets.
We then headed back down the mountain, but I kept my macro lens in my pack. All of the rest of these photos are taken with my telephoto lens. I’m really happy with my chipmunk photo; it was fun to watch him climb around and eat those seeds.
We got back from the hike and ate lunch. Then we went on a short ranger led hike to nearby Fishercap Lake, and got another chance to see another moose, as well as some deer.
After the tour, we did a little laundry. It was fairly cold most of the trip, so Megan wore most of her clothes just about every day. While the machines were running, I went out and took more macro photos. Unfortunatly, I didn’t notice that the lens was set to f/1.8, so all of these photos have an extremely narrow depth of field (focus range). It gives them an ethereal effect, but I had to toss almost all of them because they weren’t what I wanted.
That was an early night for us. We enjoyed fondue at the “Swiss Lounge” in the lodge, and then just sat outside on the back deck for a while. As promised, I took a photo of the interior of the lodge.
The next morning we headed out towards Logan’s Pass. The drive up was enjoyable, and we stopped frequently to go on short hikes. This time we were going to drive up, park at the top, and go for a hike in the alpine meadows. Little did we know that when we got there it would be completely covered in fog. We ate lunch up there, but the fog never left, so we just continued on down to the western side of the mountain.
Once we got down to the western side, we went for a hike up to Avalanche Lake. This was an absolutely stunning alpine glacial cirque. These photos do not do it justice at all. The best part was the black bear feeding on the mountainside across the lake. We enjoyed lunch number two while watching the bear munch on berries.
The western side of the mountains in Glacier National Park are actually rain forests, so they are covered in moss, lichen, and mushrooms. Not the place you would expect a rain forest, and it looked fairly similar to Olympic National Park.
Lake McDonald is quite large, and our cabin for the night was right next to the lake. We stayed at the cabins next to the Lake McDonald Lodge.
The next day we drove back to Logan Pass, because we really wanted to see the views from up there. Megan grabbed a quick shot of some deer that were crossing the road on the way up. The drive was a lot of fun, because we went up so early that there were not very many cars on the road. When we got up there, we ran into the same problem of everything being covered in fog. Just so we are clear, I’m calling it fog, but really it is just cloud cover. After eating a snack, we decided that we might as well go for a hike to Hidden Lake Overlook.
It ended up ok, as there were some breaks in the fog once we left the area of the pass, but it was very cold the whole time. There was one sharp rise up, where once we passed the ridge, the fog just rolled back and left a nice area that was open. As we continued on we walked in and out of the fog, but once we got close to Hidden Lake, it was all just covered in fog. We met some people traveling back, and they told us if we waited 20 minutes, there might be a short break where we could see the lake. So, when we got there, we waited around.
We took some photos, and eventually met a couple that were also risking the fog, and found out they were from University City, and she grew up in a house two blocks from where we live. Then, finally, after about 25 minutes, there was a break, and we could see part of the lake.
It did drizzle off and on the whole time we were hiking. Really, it drizzled off an on our entire trip. The weather took an interesting turn on the way back from the lake when it started to hail on us. It was not quite hail, which recirculates, really it was just ice pellets. Once that cleared we actually got a hint of blue sky, almost.
When we got back to the car at Logan Pass, we decided it was not worth walking on the Highline Trail, as it gives a great scenic view of the western valley. Unfortunately, it looked like it was just going to be covered the whole time, so we just went back down to Lake McDonald. We went on a short hike north of the lake, and then went down to West Glacier to eat dinner at the diner in town. Again, the food was edible. We donated our bear spray at the ranger station, then went back to our cabin for the night.
The next day we just got up and drove to Missoula for our plane trip back. We had a great trip, I hope you enjoyed the photos!