Glacier National Park 1

Swiftcurrent Pass and Lookout

We arrived at the Many Glacier Campground late in the afternoon on Friday, August 6, 2021 after a full day of driving. A ranger stopped each vehicle at the entrance to the campground to go over bear-safety instructions. They were around; I wouldn’t be going anywhere without my bear spray.

We wanted to get a feel for the area but didn’t have time to do anything big. A 2.6-mile loop around Swiftcurrent Lake with an incredible view of the mountains, water, Many Glacier Lodge and the sunset was the perfect way for quick exploration.

We went to bed with the plan that we would awake early the next morning to hike Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake. The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., but we were not on the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail until 7 a.m. We were still the first ones out there, though. About a mile into the hike I got the strong urge to have the bear spray in my hand. Shortly after this John said, “Bear and a cub. Back away slowly. Oh, two cubs.” I’m very impressed with how calm he was. He – stupidly, in my opinion – tried to get a picture; instead he got a blur. A grizzly mama and two cubs were right on the trail, about 100 feet in front of us. I’m so grateful for this experience, but only because we had no issues. We informed every hiker behind us of what we had seen, and they all followed us out. Then we went to a ranger station and informed them of what we had seen. I was surprised that the ranger didn’t seem that interested.

This is a grizzly.

Plan B: Swiftwater Pass and Lookout. We were on bear alert but instead saw a bull moose laying in the grass, chewing contentedly.

The trail was spectacular, with lakes and Red Rock Waterfall. The mountains are vast and so different than anywhere we’ve ever been. I was quickly falling in love with this place.

We reached the pass, then took the trail to the lookout and battled 50+ mile-an-hour wind gusts and temps in the 40s; I was pretty chilly in my shorts. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

On the return trip, we saw a marmot, a cow moose in the distance and a black bear. Loving all the wildlife!!

Back at the campsite, I got a black raspberry soft-serve twist at the campground store, then we walked to the lodge for dinner. Rain was expected overnight, and we were leaving for the other side of the park, so we decided to take down the tent and sleep in Gus (our CRV). Tomorrow we go over Going to the Sun Road.

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