Friday, August 27, 2010

Grinnell Glacier

One of the reasons that I wanted to camp at Many Glacier is that it is immediately adjacent to the trailhead to Grinnell Glacier. Because I couldn't get the boat ticket for the ranger-led hike up to the glacier, I decided to hike alongside the two lakes that the boar traverses. The weather was warm and sunny once again! As it turned out, I got there quicker than the boats with all the loading and unloading! The boat saves you about 2 mile hike each way.

On the lakeside trail adjacent to the second lake (Josephine Lake), I found some fresh grizzly bear scat! Fortunate for me, no encounter!

The Ranger who led the hike was a geologist. He was very informative about how Glacier is one of the best examples of upward thrusting sedimentary and metamorphic rock. What is now the Rocky Mountains is an old ocean sea bed that was lifted due to the collision of plates. And the rock is SO old that there are hardly any fossils, just some fossilized algae pools!

On the way up to the summit, we had a gorgeous overlook of Grinnell Lake and I composed a poem largely on the spot while I was waiting for the rest of the group. The group moved rather slowly as there were a number of older, unfit people trying to make the climb.

The terminus for the hike was a viewpoint of the glacier. So I decided to separate from the group, fjord a stream and make my way onto the glacier surface (the sign said that it wasn't recommended so you know what that means... you can do it!). The glacier surface had lots of cracks (crevasses) and the surface that was not covered with snow had rock on its surface. Did yoiu know that the turquoise color of these glacial lacks is from the dust created by the glacier pushing rocks agains other rocks and creating a dust known as glacial flour? Sadly there are only 25 glaciers left in Glacier NP. There once was 150. Due to global warming, experts do not believe that there will be any alpine glaciers left here by 2030.

I headed down mid-afternoon and was quite tired at the end of the Day. I climbed only 1700 feet but covered about 14 miles roundtrip.

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