Climbing to the glacier: Friday, August 5

  1. The morning of the big hike up to Grinnell Glacier, I had to walk out to my car (in the parking lot up the hill) to get my hiking boots. I was happy to get this picture of the hotel, the lake and the mountains.

  2. I joined the National Park Service hike ($13.80) - there must have been 20 people on the hike, or more. First we took the boat over the lake - well, actually, we took two boats. We had to walk over a strip of land to get to the second lake and the second boat. Once we got started up the hill, our fearless leader started in on the various lessons of flora and fauna and geography and glaciers ...

  3. The view on the way up

  4. And one mo' agin

  5. Two baby birds in the nest

  6. The Garden Wall with some glaciers - the large one on the right is called Salamander

  7. A closer view

  8. Looking down. By the way ... this was a difficult hike! Only 3.8 miles up, but 1600 feet elevation gain. Which doesn't really sound like a lot, but somehow it felt like a lot.

  9. Finally, 3 hours later, we reach the glacier. Or almost! We still have 15 minutes to go, and it's all steep uphill! The sign proclaims the glacier is 300 acres - I don't know when that was true, but today it's 165 acres, and losing 5 acres per year. Ten years ago there were 37 glaciers in the park, and today there are 27. The National Park Service believes that by 2030 there will be no glaciers in Glacier National Park.

  10. There she is, the object of all our sweat, the Grinnell Glacier (or a small part of her)

  11. I excitedly took this shot of the little lake, thinking this was it - hah! (See below.)

  12. How glaciers contour stone

  13. The three glacial lakes in a line - one formed after the other.

  14. Ginnell Glacier is fast becoming a lake (can't name it Grinnell Lake, that already exists...) - chunks of ice floating

  15. Almost a Martian landscape, the milky sediment-rich glacier lake with the imposing forms of the ice blocks floating around.

  16. Standing back a bit

  17. Salamander Glacier up top, Grinnell down below. They used to be one glacier.

  18. The lake expands

  19. A baby ptarmigan in a bush, doesn't know what to do surrounded by so many humans, just coos and coos.

  20. Glacier oogling

  21. Stromatolites: fossils of blue-green algae that date back 1.5 BILLION years. Perhaps the oldest living thing that we have a record of. (Void in Kansas and where prohibited.)

  22. Mike: this is another one for you - geologic formations after glacier action.

  23. And this one also for you, Mike: pulling back a bit on the above snapshot, to show the rippling.

  24. Waterfall between glaciers

  25. Waterfall Art Shot (tm).

  26. Incredible view of the valley, to the east.

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: Sunday, August 8 - was I really there 3 days ago?