While we were on the boat ride touring St. Mary lake, the guide was asked about where the places to hike were in the park. He mentioned that Iceberg Lake was a must-see in Many Glacier. We already heard about Iceberg Lake, but that moment confirmed we had to go. We spent the night before the hike packing our backpacks and getting supplies. The trail is only 5 miles in and the same 5 miles back, but we always try to hike prepared. We actually had the conversation during the hike about how many people we see with one plastic water bottle and flip-flops walking some of these trails. Do we over prepare?
The weather here has been unseasonably warm and dry, so hiking without proper hydration and preparation seems unwise to us. Regardless of what other people bring on their hike, we always have an extra set of clothes, socks, rain jacket, plenty of water, and some food. Most trails that we’ve done have been well populated and moderately easy, but we’d rather be over-prepared than run into a problem and not have proper supplies. Especially after seeing how fast the weather can change here in the park.
Perfect example – Sherry carries a first aid tote in her hiking bag. It has essentials like bandages, Neosporin, pain meds, burn creams, bug bite creams, etc. While doing the iceberg hike, Sherry’s boot wore a blister on the back of her ankle. She thinks something was in her sock like a rock or twig and that’s what rubbed the blister. Nevertheless, she needed the first aid kit. We got to the lake and she soaked her feet in the ice cold water for a few seconds (any longer and she wouldn’t have been able to feel her toes – hence the name, Iceberg Lake). Sean helped her wrap a piece of gauze and tape around her ankle so the boot wouldn’t rub any worse (all those years as a soccer coach wrapping sprained ankles was really paying off!). She also put on her fresh pair of socks from her pack. If we didn’t carry our backpacks, we would not have been able to take care of a small blister that by the end of the second 5 miles could have been a huge blister. What does Sean carry? Well, he had fig newton’s, Gatorade… LOL Lesson for the day – bring a backpack and be prepared. We also recommend wristbands. We wear a band called a Road ID.
It has our names, emergency contacts, and any medical information the paramedics might need if we were unconscious. For example, Sherry’s says that she’s allergic to penicillin, and both our IDs say that we are full-time RV travelers. You could add your blood type, allergies, medical conditions, etc. It is like wearing a medical ID bracelet. We have noticed that almost every park ranger we have seen has one on. We would recommend them for anyone who runs, hikes, bikes, etc. We like the idea that we have emergency information on our wrists in case we have trouble and can’t communicate. You can also purchase ones that have a link to an online database with all your medical information. We don’t have that much in either of our medical histories, so it didn’t make sense for us to upgrade to a fancy schmancy wristband. However, the ones we have do add a little bit of peace of mind while doing outdoor activities. After our hike we had a chance to talk to some locals about ‘tourists’ and novice hikers not going prepared on these longer ‘Day Hikes’ Consensus was they were taking too many risks not preparing. We agree. 🙂
Sherry stopped to take off her hiking boot to see what was causing the irritation on her ankle
We always hike prepared! Backpack, extra water, food, extra clothes, Road ID, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.
The park is seeing record numbers of people this year, and we can really notice at smaller locations like Many Glacier. There are two hotels located within Many Glacier and one campground. The parking situation is minimal, and we ended up parking off the side of the main road with many other cars (on gravel of course, we are very careful with the dry weather to stay off dry grass with the truck). We were probably a half mile from the actual trailhead, which is fine since we were there to hike in the first place. Once we got the trailhead, the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile is straight uphill, a good section of this part of the trail has rough stairs. It then levels out to a gradual rolling incline, but it wasn’t rigorous climbing.
The trail leading down to Iceberg Lake.
There are other places on the trail where the incline increases, but there’s enough flat to balance the occasional upward battle. The trail is winding and beautiful. It passes through alpine meadows, forested areas, waterfalls, streams, and sharp drop-offs. We even got to see a MOOSE!
“Moose and squirrel” say this in a Russian accent and think Bullwinkle. LOL
Sherry has been whining (her words) about not seeing any moose yet, so this was a real treat! It was a female grazing in a meadow below a part of the trail that followed a cliff face. We were able to look down on her and take pictures.Once we got to the lake, it didn’t disappoint!
Tiny icebergs – straight ahead.
The view is spectacular. Information about this area says that depending on the temperatures, icebergs may or may not be present. There were tiny pieces of ice still floating in the water, but we were kicking ourselves for not coming sooner to maybe see bigger icebergs. Of course, Sean still made the Titanic joke – no matter the size of the icebergs in the lake, they are apparently still “dead ahead”. Lol.
Sherry had no shoes on because we had just wrapped her foot to take care of the oncoming blister.
We stayed for about 30 minutes at the lake. We met a young guy traveling alone from California and talked to him for most of the time that we were there. People are always curious about our adventure once we tell them that we are traveling for a year around the country. It is fun to share our experience and talk to people about enjoying life. We go back to the same saying over and over: experiences, not things. We are trying to share that motto with as many people we meet. We admit that we were part of the culture that valued things and having material items. We even bought into the idea that more things make you happy. We think there is a societal pull to have more stuff than your neighbor, or that somehow your personal value is calculated by how big, nice, expensive your ‘stuff’ is. After living for almost 2 months now in our 37 foot ‘house’, we don’t miss much ‘stuff’ from our house in St. Louis. If we had kids, maybe. BUT, we met a girl at a Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago who is living in an R.V. with her husband and two small kids. They are having a house built, and they moved into the R.V. temporarily. She said it is less space to clean, and they don’t mind it at all. It’s all a matter of perspective we guess. Maybe more ‘living space’ makes some people happier. Right now, we are perfectly content in our tiny living space because we actually have a whole country of living space yet to be discovered. We’ll gladly take that for now.
The water is SO clear and blue!
Sherry felt like her face was gritty from sweat, so she stopped at this little water feature for a quick rinse.
As we said in our post about the East Glacier Fire, we started seeing smoke rising up over the mountains as we were hiking back to the trailhead. What a scary site, even from many miles away. As of today, we have heard that the fire has burned well over a thousand acres. Some of the premier firefighting crews in the country have been called in to try and contain the blaze. Hopefully, the weather will change but for now it isn’t cooperating, High winds and dry conditions are making for a very dangerous job for those men and women. Please keep them in your thoughts as they work their very dangerous job!
Here is a link for park information: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
For more photos: http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Iceberg-Lake/