The first, oh, seven miles of the hike were great. The trail to this point is very easy, almost a stroll, with little elevation gained or lost. So, as you might imagine, this part of our trip went quite well. And the miles just seemed to fly under our feet.
While we didn't see any grizzlies, there was certainly evidence of their presence.
When we hit the seven mile mark, we opted to take a little side trip up to the edge of the Continental Divide, to an overlook of Grinnell Glacier. The sign said it was only 0.6 miles. But I'm here to tell you that it was the longest 0.6 miles I've ever walked. I think the trail gained almost 1,500 feet in that half mile. It was brutal.
Here's the divide, with the Atlantic drainage on the left and over the edge, while the Pacific drainage is on the "gentle" slope down to the right.
Grinnell Glacier can be seen in the center and a bit to the right, at the base of the large cliff in the background. In the foreground, near the bottom of the photo, is Salamander Glacier.
We weren't sure how far we actually wanted to hike, but figured we'd just go until we felt like turning around. Unfortunately (for my knee, at least), we didn't reach that point until we hit the 7 mile mark (and after the brutal hike to the overlook). At this point we faced a choice: hike the 7 miles back to Logan Pass, or cut two miles off and continue along the trail, but then face a descent of nearly 2,500 feet and the need to hitchike back to the pass to get our car. For some reason, the prospect of hiking another seven miles seemed much worse than a mere five.
This is a good shot of the first seven miles of the hike. I highlighted the trail (as best as I could) with red, including the side trail up to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook. You might want to click on the image to see it bigger and get a better idea of what a seven mile hike actually looks like.
The highlight of the second half of our hike was passing the infamous "Granite Park Campground", site of the 1967 grizzly mauling made famous in the book "Night of the Grizzlies".
Overall, it was a tremendously enjoyable, yet exhausting trip. We were able to find a ride up to the pass in less than three minutes, which helped. If you ever want to plan a trip to Glacier National Park, I strongly recommend this hike. Just be prepared for a long day.
And in other news, we found out today that we will, in fact, get to live in park housing! Yay! No more having to beg landlords to allow our pets. You have no idea how much of a relief it is to no longer be in "housing limbo."