Friday, September 23, 2011

Grinnell Glacier Lake

destination of a hike in Glacier National Park (Montana) in August this year--This is upper Grinnell Lake below Grinnell Glacier and Salamander Glacier.

"...a man who keeps company with glaciers comes to feel tolerably insignificant by and by."
~Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad 

Grinnell Trail is 7.6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1600 feet.  First we took a boat across Swift Current Lake, hiked a short distance to Lake Josephine and took a boat across that lake.  This trail had just opened a couple days before our hike, having been closed due to bear activity.  (grizzlies!) 

This is an amazing hike!  Stunning are the vistas of the surrounding mountains and alpine lakes.  Yellow, pink, violet, and creamy white wildflowers abound against the iron-and-chloride-rich red, green, and buff-colored rocks.  Milky turquoise lower Grinnell Lake nestles startlingly into the surrounding mountains below cascading waterfalls.  Bears, mountain goats, and big horned sheep graze contentedly.
Grinnell was at its largest in1850 at the end of the Little Ice Age, measuring 710 acres.  Today it's probably around 400 acres or less.

Around the world, a few glaciers are increasing in size, but most are decreasing.  This is an indication of climate change.   A number of organizations monitor glaciers using photography (on the ground and aerial), remote sensing, and on-glacier surveying. 

◄Glacier National Park information
◄Shawn Coggins' site (information and photos)  including USGS photos from 1938 - 2006 showing the melting of Grinnell Glacier.  Predictions say that most of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2030.

I'm participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Come and join in the fun!  You will be charmed and even enlightened in a delightful way!  See more entries HERE. This week our letter is "W."  W is for WATER!

photo by me © 2011