Mysteries at the National Parks

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A friend just told me about a new Travel Channel show called Mysteries at the National Parks. Here is their description:

America’s network of national parks represents vast, dense expanses of virtually unexplored wilderness — hotbeds for mysteries and the unexplained. Each episode delivers several haunting stories to add to the backdrop and natural beauty of some of the country’s most famous national parks.

I found some of the episodes on YouTube. They seem a bit cheesy, but I am looking forward to watching them during Halloween time. Enjoy!

 

The Highline Trail

One of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park is the Highline Trail. You access the trailhead from the Logan Pass Visitor Center area. The trail is 15.2 miles long and gains over 1,900 feet of elevation, so it is pretty strenuous if you hike the whole trail. If you want to shorten the hike, you can hike to Haystack Pass (3.6 miles) and back (about 7 miles round trip.)

Near the first part of the trail you reach the ledge on the Garden Wall that hangs high above the Going to the Sun Road. If you have a fear of heights, this part may be tough. The ledge is only 4-6 feet wide and drops off about 100 feet on one side. There is a cable attached to the wall that you can hold on to. We saw some little kids that were very scared on this part.

After this part, the views start to get amazing. If you do not get on the Highline Trail early, prepare to see crowds. The Logan Pass parking lot gets packed too. It fills by 10am most mornings in July and August! We saw less than 10 people on the trail in the morning and had to let many people pass us on the way back. That tends to slow you down, so plan plenty of time.

We had two mountain goats blocking the trail at one point! A ranger came along and had to shake a plastic bag at them to move them off of the trail. It was not wide enough to get by them otherwise. One day soon, Craig and I hope to hike the Highline Trail to the Granite Park Chalet built in 1914.  

 

 

Grinnell Glacier Hike

If you visit Glacier National Park, the Grinnell Glacier hike is a must do! It is a moderately strenuous 11.6 mile round trip with over 1,800 feet of elevation gain. You can cut out 3.4 miles of the hike by taking two classic wood boats across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephene. Book them way ahead to get a spot. The hike opens fully towards the end of July. Otherwise, you may not be able to go all the way due to snow. Check the NPS site for updates.

Craig and I went on the ranger led hike and had a great time. It was tough climbing the first part of the hike, and we were glad to have poles going up and back down. Our ranger David stopped every so often to give the group a rest and to give slower hikers a chance to catch up. We learned a lot about the geology of the park, saw three glaciers, amazing wildflowers, walked through waterfalls, saw wildlife like Bighorn Sheep and 1.5 billion year old Stromatolites.

Take plenty of water on the hike and wear a hat and good hiking shoes/boots. You may want to order a box lunch from your hotel the night before and take a small soft-sided cooler with you. There is a picnic area along the way with benches and pretty clean pit toilets. It is a hard hike, but so worth the effort. It is probably my favorite hike I have done so far. It is hard to show how enormous Grinnell Glacier is with pictures. It is also amazing to see how far it has receded. Please go and experience it while you still can! 

Here is a great site for hiking Glacier. This site gives you details on the Grinnell Glacier hike. 

National Parks Visited

  2014-Grand Teton and Yellowstone

2015-Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, Acadia, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon

    

Future:

2016-Glacier, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Everglades, Biscayne, Dry Tortugas

2017-Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, Congaree

2018-Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Bryce, Zion, the Grand Canyon (planned so far!)

National Parks Adventure – IMAX

I just wanted to remind you all that the new National Parks Adventure movie is out in IMAX theaters. We are going to see it next month and I am really excited for it. It looks great! It is narrated by Robert Redford and has been getting great reviews. Let me know what you think if you see it.