Well, I’m here to tell you, that place actually exists and it actually does look that good. That little booger of land is called Wild Goose Island. It’s in St. Mary Lake alongside Going To The Sun Road, and you don’t even have to be Stanley Kubrick to photograph it nicely. I know because I am at best an amateur photographer and I got this photo with my phone.
If you want to see scenery that amazing with the eyeballs that are inside your face, then you need to book your trip to Montana right this very minute. We flew into Jackson Hole, WY, visited the Tetons (covered in part 1) and Yellowstone (covered in part 2), and then made the drive up to Glacier, but it’s possible to fly much closer–into Kalispell for example, a.k.a. Glacier Park International Airport.
Then you’re probably going to want to get yourself a car. There is a heap of non-car stuff to do in Glacier–hiking, boating, you name it really–but there’s also a lot of park to see, and being able to get around easily is nice. We rented this sweet Kia Rio in Jackson Hole and drove it over a thousand miles.
We hung out in Glacier National Park for three days and in that time we did three hikes. In fact, we were so excited to hike that we jumped out of the car at the first trailhead we saw, alongside the road to our hotel, Many Glacier Hotel. This was the sign we saw:
After a few short minutes of walking, we arrived at this waterfall. I’m normally not a fan of portrait-mode picture taking, but Apikuni Falls are tall.
I researched their actual height and the figure of 300ft came up, but I’m not sure how exact that is. If it’s correct, that’s also 100 yards, or the length of one football course. I think it’s called a course. Might be a “diamond.” Anyway, its 100 yards long, whatever you call it. Note that those tiny green pointy things at the top are full-sized trees.
Also, along the way up we saw some pretty flowers.
We headed over to our hotel and checked in, then went for a stroll as the sun started to go down. This is a view over the falls at Swiftcurrent Lake, right next to the hotel.
In the morning, we hiked up to Iceberg Lake, 4.8 miles of absolutely gorgeous alpine trail. As we got close to the lake, the trail was covered over with snow. The lake itself was still frozen as well, a fact which we realized at the same moment as we realized we were walking on it. Just to be on the safe side, we got off the ice lest we fall through and have a very wet, cold day.
We also checked out the Swiftcurrent Pass trail on the following day, but were stymied around five miles up by the lack of footbridges. It being so early in the season, the rangers hadn’t put together the bridges that normally make it easy to cross the streams on that trail up near the switchbacks. We took off our boots and forded the streams barefoot, but this made for some very cold feet walking on some very pointy rocks in some pretty fast-moving water.
Myself, I don’t like walking in fast-moving water. In my experience, fast-moving water is deceptively powerful, and you can find yourself on your ass with a busted elbow in no time. I also dislike walking barefoot on pointy rocks, which is why I wear shoes. Rocks don’t care, though. They love poking me in the feet so much they’ll jump right into my boots and poke the hell out of me.
This is a pile of pointy, feet-pokey rocks I collected in just one hike.
Oh well. If I have to get poked in the feet by rocks in order to experience the trails of Glacier National Park, it’s a small price to pay. I highly recommend heading up to Montana to check this place out. Maybe go a little later in the season than we did, though, like July or August. That way Going To The Sun Road will be open all the way. It was closed when we were there, so we had to drive all the way around the park to see both sides. It was still totally worth it, though. We even saw a grizzly bear cub from the car, not to mention some bighorn sheep up at Logan Pass.
We were only in Glacier National Park for a few days, so we only barely scratched the surface of what the park has to offer. I have no doubt that we could be there every summer for the rest of our lives and still see new stuff every day. It’s just one of those amazing places in the world.
You definitely want to book your stay early. We were lucky in terms of availability, but that had a lot to do with the fact that we were there before the season really began. If I had it to do over, I’d book a year in advance and go during the high season so all the trails would be open.
One final tip: when you’re up there, head out to Two Sisters Cafe just outside the park in Babb. Their burger is unbelievable. I have eaten burgers all over the world, and I have the love handles to prove it. Trust me on this one, The Two Sisters burger is top notch!