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My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Illinois
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My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Just back from out trip out west, including our stop in Glacier from July 27th to the 31st.

We spent 4 days here and our highlights, in no particular order, were:

-Hike to Grinnell Glacier

-Hike to Iceberg Lake

-Moose swimming in Fishercap and Redrock Lake

-Watching a deer swim across Bear Creek

-Rams and White Goats along the GTTSR

-Deer that stalked us on the Grinnell trail

-Huckleberry ice cream (taste, not the price)

-Waterfalls & suspension bridge on Triple Divide Pass

-Meeting cool people on the veranda at GPL

-Village Inn-incredible place to stay

-Swiftcurrent Motor Inn-great location

-Pillows at all the lodges

-The views of lakes, mountains, and the wildflowers

-Picnics in the park

-Seeing 8 bears but not being attacked by any of them

Lowlights:

-Service at Italian Garden for breakfast

-Pizza from Italian Garden (I admit I'm spoiled with Chicago pizza)

-Overpriced rooms, especially at GPL

-Jacked up cost to do laundry at Swiftcurrent

-Blatant price gouging around St. Mary--i.e. 30 cents more a gallon for gas and $25 for a box of wine--glad I brought mine from home and only paid $11

-showers in the rooms that were constructed with the assumption that anyone showering would be no more than 3 and 1/2 feet tall

Highlights waaayyyy overpowered the minor lowlights and it was a fabulous, incredible trip. I wish we could have stayed another week and will be sure to allot more time for our next visit.

Oh, and alluding to blowing out my knees, my hubby and I both did some damage on the Grinnell Glacier hike, made it worse on the hike to Iceberg Lake, and only today, 8 days later, am I able to move downwards without major pain--but it was totally worth it!

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Grinnell Glacier
Grinnell Glacier
505 Reviews
Glacier National Park, MT
Iceberg Lake
Iceberg Lake
87 Reviews
Glacier National Park, MT
Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Thank you so much for this post! I'm sorry to hear that you and your husband injured your knees hiking out there & the "lowlights" you encountered. But as you said, the highlights always outweigh the lowlights in Glacier. It is such a magnificent place & I'm glad to hear you found this to be true as well. I was really excited to hear that you were able to hike both Grinnell and Iceberg, as those are two fantastic treks that can occasionally be closed due to bear activity. I was also excited to hear you got to see moose in Fishercap/Red Rock, as it seems less people have seen them this year for whatever reason. You definitely do have to fork over some extra bucks in this corner of the country, but I think it's well worth it! I hope you make it back to the park soon!

Again, thanks for the post!

Sean

Illinois
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2. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Sean-thanks again for all your help and advice in planning this wonderful trip. And yes, the "lowlights" were extremely minor and not unexpected--I know well enough to expect inflated prices in and around the parks but it still bothers me a little because I fear they may be prohibitive and exclude some people from experiencing these wonderful places. I would prefer they triple or quadruple the entrance prices (which in our opinion are way too low)and bring lodging costs in line with what is reasonable for the accommodations. $10.50 for 4 ice creams is also crazy but I'll accept that!

One other thing we thought was so neat was that we kept stumbling across the same people. We're more familiar with Yellowstone and the Smokies where we never seem to cross paths with the same people. In Glacier, at Two Medicine some of the first people we met were a couple where the husband was blind and was hiking with a seeing eye dog. We loved him because he kept shouting out a "Whooooooo" to alert any potential bears. We saw them again on the trail to Iceberg Lake and my daughters were truly inspired that a blind man was making these hikes--as a parent, it was pretty cool to witness their admiration. We also kept running into an Amish couple who were young, obviously in love, and impressed at how fast they hiked, even with her in a long dress. Finally, we ran into some people at the lake on Iceberg and then later that night, saw them at Many Glacier when we went for ice cream and they recognized us and pointed out that we'd been hiking together. It was a nice feeling to be remembered and pretty representative of the character of the fellow visitors we encountered on this great trip.

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Iceberg Lake
Iceberg Lake
87 Reviews
Glacier National Park, MT
indiana
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for Glacier National Park
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3. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Great trip report. My knees never bothered me until we hiked Grinnell a few years ago and now they act up on almost every hike that has elevation loss. I'm interested to know, did you use hiking poles?

Illinois
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4. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

No, we didn't have poles but I think next time we go I will get some because a few people we met out there told us they help with that. We were more than a little unprepared for a hike of that nature--much more challenging than what we're used to but I'm not sure what would have been the best way to condition for that. I walk quite a bit at home but it's all flat--maybe I should have been doing the stairs at home for a couple of hours each day :)

Oh, and btw, one of the best pieces of advice I picked up on this site was to be prepared for rapid weather changes-we couldn't believe how fast rain could blow in on a seemingly cloudless day (glad we carried our rain gear) or how quickly the temps could change.

North Carolina
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5. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

I would love to hear more detail about your stay at Village Inn and Swiftcurrent. Will you be doing reviews?

Illinois
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6. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

I did post reviews of both yesterday so if they're not up yet, they should be later today or tomorrow. I would highly recommend either. Swiftcurrent was the better location for hiking for us but we really loved the Village Inn. Next time we go back, we plan to stay more than one night at the Village Inn and have more time to explore that part of the park--just ran out of time!

North Carolina
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7. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Thanks. I'll check your reviews and pm you if I have more questions. Enzian had recommended the village inn quite highly and swiftcurrent does look like a super alternative for Many Glacier Lodge.

Rancho Cucamonga
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8. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Hey Librarychick,

My husband, my girlfriend & I were in the park the same time you were. We arrived on the 24th and left Aug. 1st. We also had the same experience of running into the same people at different areas of the park. For instance my girlfriend lost her iPod on the swiftcurrent trail coming down from Granite Chalet. Later that evening we were dining at the Cattleman Baron Super Club and 2 guys recognized us from Granite Chalet. At Granite Chalet we were sitting at a picnic table, playing cards, drinking wine and listening to music. They asked us if we had lost something on the trail :-). Now that qualifies as a definite hoot to think she got her iPod back.

Also, we were amazed at these 2 older ladies (78 & not sure how old the other lady was-I’m thinking she was older). They hiked up to Sperry Chalet (hello, we took ponies), then we saw them at the top of Sperry Glacier, then we saw them at Granite Chalet. Talk about putting the young ones to shame! They shared wonderful stories w/us and were way too cute. What really tickles me though, is we were talking to a young Amish couple (I thinking maybe the same couple that you referred too) at the Rising Sun Shuttle Bus stop :-)

We also saw a huge moose grazing in Fishercap, as well as a cinnamon colored bear that ran out right in front of us to take a little swim.

We had a great trip and we have already made plans for next July….Once just isn’t e-nuff!

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

Thanks so much for your trip report. Glacier is on our list for next year. We've been to the Grand Canyon, Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons in the last 2 years. We wanted to come to Glacier this year but had foot surgery and have problems with my knees so thought it best to wait a year. We are going to New England and Acadia NP this fall. I don't know how much hiking I'll be able to do even next year!!! I will read your reviews of the lodges when they are posted. Thanks again.

Charlotte, North...
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10. Re: My Visit to Glacier, or, How I Blew My Knees Out

laughlin: I cannot wait to hear about your trip!!! : ) I bet you had a wonderful time! Will you be writing a trip report?