10 days in Glacier NP
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Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
10 days in Glacier NP on 03/25/2013 10:56:36 MDT Print View

Robert wants to go to Glacier National Park next. Since this coming summer is after the Texas legislative session, he can get more time off. He wants to hike Glacier. On previous trips we've done the Wonderland Trail, Big Bend South Rim and Outer Mountain Loop, and about 3/4 of the JMT. On this Glacier trip we'd like to spend about 10 days on the trail, early- to mid-August. We could resupply, or we could carry 10 days' worth and not resupply. On the JMT we were doing 12-16 mile days in August with long daylight hours.

Permit applications are due before next Monday to go in the lottery.

Right now we are thinking that the CDT from Waterton to East Glacier would give a good tour of the park. It is about 100 miles which leaves a bit of down time. Looks like we could park in East Glacier and take a bus to Waterton (we have passports) and then hike back to the car. The Park says bear cans are OK (we have Bearikade Weekenders) but they also have cable hangs at all designated sites, so cans are not actually required.

Questions you all might be able to help me with:
Is the CDT a good route for good scenery etc.? Or would we be missing the good stuff?
Can we anticipate daily mileages comparable to the JMT?
Will getting a permit for this route be well-nigh impossible? Are there strategies anyone can suggest, for picking camps or a schedule that will optimize our chances?
Does anyone have suggestions for better plans?

I've read A Lightweight Guide to Crown of the Continent (very helpful!) but its longer trip suggestion involves packrafting which we are not at this point prepared to undertake.

Thanks!

Mina

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier in August on 03/25/2013 11:45:28 MDT Print View

Is the CDT a good route for good scenery etc.? Or would we be missing the good stuff?

>> Given your length requirements and the relative ease of the logistics you propose, I can't think of a better option.

Can we anticipate daily mileages comparable to the JMT?

>> Yes, if not a bit higher. The altitude is lower and the trails are on the whole a bit less rugged up high.

Will getting a permit for this route be well-nigh impossible? Are there strategies anyone can suggest, for picking camps or a schedule that will optimize our chances?

>> It will be a tough ask, as you're proposing a trip during the busiest week of the year. The best thing you could do to up your chances is go a bit later; late August through early September. Otherwise, being a bit flexible with dates and just asking for a route and letting the NPS pick camps will increase your odds. In the end it comes down to where you are in the shuffle.

Does anyone have suggestions for better plans?

>> A second option to help your permit odds would involved leaving a car in East, take the train to West, hike the 2 miles to Apgar, take the shuttle to the Loop or Logan, and start your trip there. You could hike over Swiftcurrent, take the Highline north and go over Stoney Indian, etc before swinging back south. The Bob would provide many options for a good loop with no permit hassle, but even at its best the mountain scenery is not of the same caliber.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier on 03/25/2013 11:46:39 MDT Print View

Definitely no need to bring bear cans. 40 feet of rope is more than enough.

John Finney
(guavarex) - M

Locale: Z├╝rich, Switzerland
Jealous on 03/25/2013 14:43:10 MDT Print View

Agree, your trip sounds perfect. If for any reason you need to opt for a slightly shorter trip, the Great Northern Traverse is about 60 miles and 6-7 days, and has gorgeous Glacier sites just south of the CA border. I would do it hiking from W to E.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
re: Lottery on 03/25/2013 16:55:38 MDT Print View

FYI, permit requests can be submitted until April 15 for the lottery. You have a bit more time to figure things out.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Thanks! and update on 03/28/2013 09:08:25 MDT Print View

Thanks to all for your confirmation and suggestions.

Further research turned up a Glacier NP Chat group that I joined. Also, although the guidebook says you can take a bus from East Glacier to Waterton Township, it turns out to be a little more complicated than that. Increased border security now requires one-way passengers to get off that bus at the border. Cross-border passengers have to go the entire round trip (i.e. as a "tour" rather than a trailhead shuttle) or the bus company gets in trouble. There is supposed to be another bus running between the Canadian side of the border and Waterton. But their information line isn't open yet for the season (I left them a message but no reply) so I can't confirm yet. In such areas I suppose hitchhiking could be an option. With backcountry packs and a sign.

GNP ranger confirms that the CDT is a great route. She gave me some advice about making our permit application as open-ended as possible, so they can try to get us an itinerary at the busiest time. I understand September is a great time to go but it conflicts with Robert's work schedule.

Will report back with results.

Thanks!

Mina

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: CDT on 03/28/2013 12:35:52 MDT Print View

The border "security" issue is a rather laughable nuisance. Unfortunate, but obligatory. Try to laugh at that taciturn patrollers at Goat Haunt.

In spite of all this, resist the temptation to start at the Chief Mtn TH. The Belly to Many stretch is inferior to Goat Haunt to Many.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
border on 03/28/2013 13:00:32 MDT Print View

Yes, I had to learn patience with border officers the time we took the family on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest that included a ferry ride from Port Angeles to Victoria and then over to Bellingham. There is a US station in Victoria just before you get on the ferry. Not being frequent international travelers, we never thought we'd need our kids' birth certificates for a road trip. They held us up for an hour and questioned each of our 3 kids separately because Robert and I use different last names and the officers thought the kids might not be ours. And this was in the 1990s before all the enhanced security. And all 3 kids look strikingly like us.

Now we have passports and carry them on all our trips.