Top Places to See
Glacier National Park
Pictures and Slideshows
Lodges and Chalets
In Glacier Park
In Glacier National Park
St. Mary's Area
See Map Here
Trail Map Here
North Fork Area
Two Medicine Area
Logan Pass Area
Many Glacier Area
See Map Here
Trail of the Cedars
Cut Bank Area
Goat Haunt Area
See Map Here
In Glacier Park
Glacier National Park
Monster Rabbits in
Glacier National Park
East to West Hike across Glacier
It was a fine day to start our hike across Glacier Park. Getting dropped off
we began... Chief mountain is very large and stands much taller
than anything around it. The air has a hint of smoke and the view may be a
bit hazy from fires across the region, but nothing to worry about as far as
forest fires in our area. The closest fire is about 500 miles away. Carrying
heavy packs we are prepared to spend several days in the wilderness.
We always pack the essentials: food, water, shelter, wet weather clothing
and pepper spray for bears we might encounter on our trip.
(Hope we don't get THAT close though!)
Chief Mountain Slide Show Here
Chief Mountain is quite fascinating. The look and shape of this mountain is
unique and makes a very recognizable landmark. Chief mountain can be easily
recognized from 100 miles away in any direction. Nearly vertically straight,
1,000 feet of solid rock is awesome to view. The Blackfeet peoples and the
Blood tribe in southern Canada regard the Chief mountain area as sacred
ground. As we pass through this humbling place, and as the rule is
with the entirety of Glacier Park, we take care in observing the leave no
Our goal this trip is to hike across Glacier Park's, eastern boundary to
the west along mostly well beaten paths. We are starting just off of Hwy 17
on Indian lands.
We can see Chief Mountain in the distance, so awesome looking, even though
it is still 6 miles away.
On day 1,
We take our time and enjoy perfect weather while hiking along the southern
side of Chief mountain. As we get to the west side of the mountain, we come
to Slide Lake; a small lake, and nice place to spend our first night.
On day 2,
Gable mountain, which is taller than Chief mountain, is off to our left now
as we look forward to having a much more strenuous day of climbing up and
through Gable Pass. The views are spectacular along the way, and watching
ever so closely, we have not seen a bear yet. (Yea!) As we climb
down to the Belly River, finishing our day of hiking, we setup camp and
prepare the evening meal. The sights we've seen today were sights very few
will ever see. There is no easy way to see these wondrous places deep
in Glacier Park, except to brave the wilderness like this.
On day 3,
It's another awesome day. Hiking along, we pass two large lakes, Cosley and
then Glenn's. After lunch, we decide to push on toward Kootenai Lakes and
camp for the night. It took a little longer then expected, and getting there
nearer to dark was a bit scary. All the animals were out and about foraging
for their evening meal. Seems as though every time we came across a moose or
a deer, they would completely ignore us or tell us to get out of their way.
Just have to laugh when you pass a goat on the trail and he makes you step
aside with just that look in his eyes.
On day 4,
As we awakened this morning, we could see moose, bear, deer and goats nearly
everywhere. This must truly be the "High Country
" folks talk about!
We were quietly enjoying the animals and decided to stay at this camp site
for a second night. Thinking, this fine day, we might never again see such
an abundance of wildlife. Just a short hike from here is
so we decided to take a little detour off our planned route, and
spend some time at the falls. As you can see in this picture, we enjoy
taking photos of water.
On day 5,
We stopped by Goat Haunt Montana,
and checked out the view across Waterton Lake; A
cool place with its own border crossing into Canada, and living quarters for
several Glacier Park rangers. After a brief time here, we set our sites on
making it up to the Continental Divide. All went well until the last mile or
so. It was as steep as can be, and pushing on to make it to the top of the
world, left us tired and a bit shaken. After today's hike of about 12
miles, we didn't even bother putting up our tent.
On day 6,
By morning, it had gotten pretty cold, being up at this altitude, so we
dressed in all the warm clothing we carried, then, the two of us sat down
with a cup of hot chocolate as we planned our day. We were not able to truly
appreciate the scope of where we had settled down last night. Only in the
morning light, could we realize how spectacular the view was. Looking across
from peak to peak, and watching eagles fly over head, one gets lost in
dreams of feeling you could fly if only... Standing there you just
know you are one of a handful of hardy hikers that will ever see these
spectacular sites. On our hike today, goats and bear are mostly what we see.
It is the end of September, and a lot of the animals spend their time
wandering these high mountains, foraging for food. What a beautiful site as
we near Kintla and Upper Kintla Lakes. Knowing that we are nearing the end
of our hike makes us all the more conscious of trying to take in every
second of being in this great American wilderness. We set up camp between
the two lakes today, knowing that just one more day and we will have to
return to civilization.
On day 7,
Tomorrow our ride will find us just outside the park along the north fork
road. At daybreak, we are up and packed ready to say goodbye to Kintla
lake. We headed south along the trail that will take us to the North Fork of
Flathead River. Next thing we knew, the trail was gone. Not to worry said my
hiking companion, we can just head southwest until we get out to the river.
Walking along on level ground with small pine and fir trees all around, we
came to a fence. " What is this, a fence in the park?" Wow, this was a
very tall fence too.
Not knowing where we were, we just kept walking along the fence till we came
across an old homestead. It seemed to be a quiet place with no cars in sight
anywhere. It was still quite early, but there was this old gentleman who
seemed to be working around the place. "Hello," we hollered. " Well, are
you boys lost?" he asked, not seeming too surprised at our being there.
I would suppose, we were not the
first to have wandered onto this property. We were delighted to find the
place, knowing that if there were people here, we could not be that lost.
Introducing ourselves, and asking for a little direction, he told us his
name, and invited us to join him for a hot cup of coffee. Being pretty
curious as to why and how he could be here in Glacier Park, he told us how
his family had homesteaded this land long before Glacier Park even existed.
And about how the
was trying to deny him, and others like him, access to their own property.
He seemed to be getting a little excitable as my friend took sides with the
government and said that he should have to go by the same rules as everyone
else visiting the park. Wrong!!! As he explained it, he had no
intentions of going by what he called, 'Government intrusion, or rules.' He
told us how it was an ongoing battle with the
government wanting him to conform to more and more rules all the time.
We finished our coffee, got some directions, and decided it was time to be
on our way.
On the way out, we could see huge pens with some sort of animals in them. We
asked, "What do you have back there?" "Those are my rabbits" he said.
Thinking he was kidding, because they looked more like small goats, Llama or
Alpacas from a distance. But it was true. In another minute we could see he
did have some really big rabbits. I bet they were 4 1/2 feet long, and 50
pounds or better. There they were, about 30 of these "Monster Rabbits"
inside the fence with what looked like dog houses for shelter.
At this point I could not believe my eyes. So I asked if I could please take
some pictures. First he said, "Sorry, I don't want any pictures taken."
(Lucky for us, he did want to show off his monster rabbits though, and
changed his mind.) So he said to wait by the woodshed and he'd bring out his
two friendliest pets. We snapped these first two photos, and then he said,
"Go ahead and pick that one up, he don't bite". Being familiar with rabbits,
I grabbed a hold of this monster buck rabbit, and gave him a lift. That buck
had to be 50 pounds or more. Big and friendly critters indeed. I am glad I
got these photos since "Monster Rabbits" must be more rare than the grizzly
bears we had been looking at for these past few days.
On day 8,
Only one more hurdle, the North Fork of the Flathead was just ahead. Like
real explorers, we planned to wade or swim across the river, holding our
packs above our heads trying to keep them dry. This is no small river. It
must be 100 feet across, and near the middle, we both slipped and went
under. What a struggle hanging onto our packs while trying to get across. We
made it through, and then had a big (wet) laugh. Many have hiked, but few
will every swim the river to get out of Glacier Park. Yeah we did it, from
east to west across every inch of America's largest park, Glacier National
We've made a lot of memories, and we've seen "Monster Rabbits" that most
could only dream about...
by Steven Rapelje