It just wouldn’t be right to go to the backpacking paradise that is Glacier National Park without doing some hiking. To that end we decided to hike the 10 miles (round trip) to Iceberg lake. The trail starts near Many Glacier Hotel which happens to be on the opposite side of the park from where we were staying, a mere 2 hours drive over the Going to the Sun road. There was a Ranger guided hike at 8:30 in the morning so we went for that.
Of course, the scenery from the road was beautiful but we also saw plenty of animals. A herd of Elk were grazing in a field and 2 Coyotes were hunting mice or rabbits or something. When we got to the trail head, we were a few minutes late so the Ranger and the group had already started off. Not a big deal, we’d just meet them on the trail. We grabbed our packs and off we went. First thing we see? A bear, just a black bear but only about 50 ft off the trail and very startling. Then we caught up to the group about a tenth of a mile in. The group with the Ranger was about 25 strong and included an 80 something year old man and his family. He had hiked this same trail about 30 years earlier and was looking to see how things had changed (or remained the same).
About a mile in we took a break and the Ranger started a game featuring the local flora. She’d tell the person immediately behind her the name of some wild flower and that person would tell everyone that passed the name of the flower. Then she’d tell the next person… and so on. It was fun! There were so many different flowers, we cycled through everyone about twice and only covered about half of them!
As with everywhere we’ve been, the scenery was amazing throughout the entire hike. The hike itself was incredibly rewarding and the lake was the prettiest lake this side of Crater Lake. I can now say I’ve stood on an Iceberg for the first time, although Rachel was afraid to jump across the small gap of glacier runoff water to join me. I have to admit, the thought it would get bumped and float out into the lake leaving me stranded was definitely there.
A hike back, another bear and a restful evening. A great day in Glacier!