Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iceberg Lake Glacier National Park August 4, 2010

When I checked in the night before at the Swift Current Motor Inn, I asked if any of the trails would be opened on Wednesday.  He said they would all be open again and that the Ranger would be leading a hike to Iceberg Lake at 8:30am.  

I showed up at the Swift Current Motor Inn porch at 8:10 to join the Ranger.  I snapped this shot as I was waiting.  What a difference a day makes.  It was already very warm and the views were there.  We hit the trial at 8:40 after the Ranger gave a little talk about sticking together and making lots of noise.  It was her that encountered a grizzly and two cubs on the trail a few days prior.  There were 33 of us, the biggest group I ever hiked with.  Not my most favourite way to go at all, but there is strength in numbers.  It was a very, very busy trail.  Everyone who had been wanting to hike it the last few days and couldn't due to the closure, was out today! 
The trail was narrow and winding plus lush with loads of wildflowers everywhere.   It was a gentle climb through a forest.  Once out of the trees, the views were amazing.  We had the Ptarmigan Wall in front of us which we were headed for as Iceberg Lake was hidden at the base.
The meadows were polluted with color.  
As we got closer to the Ptarmigan Wall, you could see "the hole in the wall" on the upper right.  Supposedly when the sun sets,  how the light shines through the hole is something to see.
We rounded a corner and there in front of us was Iceberg Lake!  WOW!  With no planning of synchronizing our amazement, 33 of us voiced "WOW"  all at the same time!  Ms Ranger turned around and grinned!  She was expecting that from us!
Iceberg Lake is smaller and at the very base of the mountains.  I couldn't get a picture which included the full lake and the full mountain.  This was the best I could do at capturing it all in one photo.  
This place would be a photographer's dream!  All kinds of icebergs of different shapes and sizes were floating in the lake and each casting a reflection.   I didn't know where to look!  This iceberg was my favourite and I took many shots of it at numerous ranges.
The Ranger's plan was to spend an hour here for lunch and then head back.  That wasn't my plan or the plan of a few others who I met along the way.  We made a plan of our own which we ran by the Ranger and she was fine with it and gave us direction and advice to take along with us.   Twelve of us made the plan to dine for 30 minutes then hike back to the fork and veer off to hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel.  Before leaving, I hid a stone.  It is amazing what life holds in store when you are willing to expand your horizons.
After our 30 minutes at the Lake, we took some final shots then gathered together and head along our way noisily.  As we turned to leave, there was a thunderous roar.  A portion of the hard packed snow on the lower part of the mountain just collapsed into the lake.  WOW!  Now there will be more little icebergs floating around..

We reached the fork and turned to follow the Ptarmigan Tunnel trail.  Two decided not to come along with us.  So we were ten, still a strong, safe number!  This hike would add an additional 8km to the 14km which is the round trip distance for Iceberg Lake.   It had already been a large day and we were only going to make it even larger!

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