From Badlands, we headed northwest to Glacier National Park in Montana. I definitely never thought that by 2018 I would have experienced Glacier National Park, but I am so glad we went north for this trip. It was such an incredible break from the hot and humid Caribbean island heat that I am used to. Actually, scratch that, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to Grenadian heat. We weren’t sure how to prepare for the weather in Montana, but we were both relieved we brought plenty of layers, for both warmth and rain protection! We didn’t catch a break from the wind in our tent here either, but we were happy to set up camp for three nights straight. This is what the campsites look like at St. Mary Campgrounds.
This was our first time staying in bear country. Lucky for us, the park ranger let us know that we were staying in a berry patch, which bears love. Every time you leave your campsite, you are required to put up all food or any items that come into contact with food away in your car or in the food storage lockers provided by the camp (bring your own lock). By the end of the day, I thought less about bears and more about staying warm as the temperatures dropped into the 30s. We had our reservations about camping at Glacier in June (because the legendary Going to Sun Road would still be closed and trails may be closed due to the lack of melting of snow and ice), but we definitely did not regret it. We never felt crowded and we were still able to hike amazing trails like Grinnell Glacier Trail. We carried bear spray with us at all time, which you can purchase at amazon: Frontiersman Bear Spray They also have it available to rent/buy at convenient stores. It took us well over 14 hours to get to Glacier from Badlands, however, the sun doesn’t set until 10 pm, so we still had daylight to set up camp upon arrival. We went from sweating in the Badlands to shivering in our beanies and jackets at Glacier. We had planned for three days at Glacier and the first day was spent driving through Montana.
On the second day, we woke up early and had homemade Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast before hitting the road (thanks Rachel). After eating, we met Cheeto, the fox. I wasn’t able to capture a picture of Cheeto, but if you stay at St. Mary’s campground, I would be willing to bet you will see him sniffing around the campsites looking for food. We drove around the St. Mary’s area of the camp til about 8 am when the park rangers would be available at the Glacier National Park information center. Below are pictures of the St. Mary’s area, which is part of East Glacier, along with two other areas, Many Glaciers and Two Medicine.
We came into this camping experience with an open mind, and lots of ideas about what we wanted to do knowing we might be limited due to the weather. I bring lists of trails I want to do and let the rangers make the best recommendations due to current weather conditions and wildlife. After talking with the park ranger David, it was decided that we would hike the Grinnell Glacier trail in the Many Glaciers area of the park nearby the town of Babb, MT. If you asking me, Many Glaciers is by far the prettiest location in Glacier National park, including the West Glacier Park. In order to get to Grinnell Glacier Trail from the hotel parking of the Many Glaciers lodge, we had to first hike through the Swift Current trail, then Lake Josephine Trail, and finally up to Grinnell Glacier. This hike was incredibly scenic. When we first began hiking through the Swiftcurrent trail, we were surprised to see snow! Below are pictures from the Swiftcurrent trail.
Josephine Lake was equally as beautiful, and we started to see wildflowers! In the picture below, you can see how the trail is surrounded by flowers and you have glacier water to your left. What a view.
I gotta be honest. I was tired on the way back. So I would point out flowers, while Jon would take pictures (and I would get a break :] ). He took awesome pictures of all the flowers growing in the mountains. If you want to check out his instagram – Jon Warmack’s Instagram. I am sure he will be posting a lot of flower pictures and more from our trip soon!
The next and final part of the trail was the hike up towards Grinnell Glacier. As we gained elevation, we started to see multicolored rocks and whole lot of glacier water pouring down the mountains.
The Grinnell Glacier trail is 7.6 miles with 1840 ft of elevation gained. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the trail, because it was still closed at this point in the summer. However, Grinnell Lake was absolutely worth the hike and challenging elevation climb.
On our way up, Mother Nature had a hard time deciding if it was going to rain or nah. The weather seemed to change every ten minutes, but thats what rain jackets are for! Once we reached this magnificent view, I took a break and ate lunch, while Jon went on to find a marmot and a pika!
We were exhausted after this enduring day of hiking, so when we got back to camp we built a fire and had our foil packet Mexican chicken and taters with our coke and vanilla infused whiskey!
On the third day, it was cold, ranging from 40-50s during the day, and ever changing precipitation of rain and/or sleet. Since the Going to Sun Road was closed, we had to take Highway 2 to West Glacier, which took nearly 2 hours, however, it was a beautiful drive through many national forests and along side rivers! We stopped at the Two Medicine area, and hiked the Eagle Falls trail, while it was sleeting in the 40s. I hiked in my Chacos with wool socks, because my feet needed a break from my hiking boots.
When we arrived at West Glacier, it was sleeting, but we drove around to try to see what we could. Unfortunately, trails were closed, so we decided to have lunch at West Glacier Restaurant. While our bellies were full, I would not recommend. The food seemed to just be heated up. We ordered queso and chips, and I am fairly certain the queso came from a Tostitos jar and a Tostitos bag of chips. We didn’t let it get us down, and checked out Lake McDonald. I was unable to capture a good picture of the lake, due to the weather. This picture does not do it justice.
That night we drove around St. Mary’s area and decided to hike down to St. Mary’s falls.
It was getting late, so we decided to turn back instead of going on to Virginia Falls. The wind was miserable that night, so we had to skip the fire and have sandwiches again while watching Grey’s Anatomy. We also saw a deer in the St. Mary’s area!
I would wholeheartedly recommend going to Glacier in June. With that being said, I would also love to go back and see what it’s like in July with more trails open and drive the legendary Going to Sun Road. This is by far, one of the most scenic parks I have been to so far. It’s definitely worth the journey to Montana, and Waterton Lakes National Park is a short 45 minute drive up to Alberta, CA!