|Lower Grinnell Lake|
One can hike the whole way to Grinnell Glacier, just over 11.5 miles round-trip. Or one can pay for a boat ride on a historic wooden boat which shortens the hike by nearly four miles. The Ranger led hike takes the boat route. We don't often get to go out on the water and we really wanted to hike with a Ranger, so we took the boat. As a result our trip hike was just a shade over 7.5 miles long round-trip, not counting all the wandering we did up at Upper Grinnnell Lake and the Glacier area itself.
And actually there were two cool, old, wooden boats to get to the trail. The first boat leaves from the rear of the Many Glacier Lodge and took us across Swiftcurrent Lake. We then got out and hiked just a scant bit of forest until we emerged from the trees on the shore of Lake Josephine where we got on our second boat. During the cruise the Ranger introduced himself as David Benson and gave us a little bio. He's been a Ranger in Glacier for 19 summers, during which he leads hikes and conducts research on ptarmigan. The rest of the year he is a biology professor in the mid-west. He showed us some photos comparing the glacier in historic times to now to demonstrated how much it has receded in the past hundred years or so.
We took this as a very good sign for our hike.
|Fringed Grass of Parnassus|
|Lower Grinnell Lake with Salamander Glacier at top right and Gem Glacier on the top in the center of the photo.|
|Grinnell Glacier spread along the bottom, Gem Glacier at the top of the ridge in the center, and Salamander on the right in the middle of the frame.|
|Matt walking across some of the countless stromatolite fossils.|
|See those horizontal lines? Those were from a glacier dragging other rocks across the top of this one.|