Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Glacier National Park: Kayaked one lake; hiked to another

Yesterday we kayaked on Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park's largest lake and thought to be named for explorer Duncan McDonald who carved his name in a nearby tree in the late 1800s. The Native American name was "Sacred Dancing," which might refer to ceremonies held near the lake. It's a beautiful, clear lake.

Today we took the park's free shuttle about 15 miles up Going to the Sun Road to the trail head for Avalanche Lake. The hike to the lake is the park's most popular hike, so we saw plenty of people. But we also had long spaces where it seemed like we were all by our selves. The trail took us through a 400-600 year-old forest with a moss-covered floor, past a creek and all the way to a turquoise lake.  
Bev's kayak near the edge of McDonald Lake.  The lake is clear, which means not much stuff is growing in it.  And because not much stuff is growing, it's not much of a fishing lake, although it is home to some trout, whitefish, kokanee salmon, and suckers. We didn't see anyone fishing on the lake.
Jim on Lake McDonald. There is no marina with gasoline on the lake, so there are not a lot of power boats -- which is OK by us.
Lake McDonald, mountains and Jim again. The lake is ten miles long and as deep as 500 feet.
Glacier's sister park is Waterton Lakes National Park, just across the US border in Canada.  Together the two parks are the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  Here's Bev and a Mountie at the Waterton information center in Glacier.
Last night we took Cooper for a walk along Lake McDonald. Cooper may be 15, but he's still a handsome dog. However, he's never been especially happy that someone other than Jim joined the pack.
A nice hiker near the beginning of the trail offered to take this pic.
Also near the beginning of the hike were trees that look like they snapped during a micro burst.  We're thinking it might have happened during a quick moving storm we experienced when we were at Glacier last August. That storm also toppled trees near (but fortunately not on) our campsite.
Bev did not edit this photo -- Avalanche Lake really looks this color of blue.
Jim at Avalanche Lake.
I just happened to catch a butterfly on these asters. Flowers are in bloom all over Glacier.  
This mule deer walked right by us on the Avalanche Lake trail.
And thank goodness for a telephoto lens when we caught a glimpse of this guy on the trail.  In reality, we saw him stuffed at the Waterton Lakes Info Center. If we'd really seen him on the trail, it would have been in the post title and Bev would still be recovering. 


  1. In the late 90's we were dropped off by the hiker's shuttle at the start of Garden Wall Hike eatlybin the morning. After the shuttle left, we saw a grizzley bear at the start of the hike. Nowhere to go, so we just sang loudly as we quickly headed down the trail and away from the bear. When we got up to hiking camp about 1/2 way on our hike, a ranger was surprised to see us because the trail was closed due to bear on the trail. Scary!

    1. That is scary. Just in case we have an encounter like yours, what song were you singing? It seemed to work:)