Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park: Apgar Lookout

In honor of one of my final weekends at home, my parents brother cousins and I went into glacier. I love glacier and its beauty and am so incredibly lucky to be in such close vicinity to such stunning country. 

Our goal was to hike the Apgar Fire Lookout on Apgar peak near you guessed it, Apgar Village. The trail head is located just inside the West Glacier entrance. To reach the trailhead, drive about a half-mile north from the West Glacier Entrance Station, and then turn left towards the Glacier Institute. Drive a short distance to the next junction and turn right (away from the Glacier Institute), then almost immediately make a turn towards the left just before reaching the Swan Mountain Outfitters horse corral. From here you’ll drive another 1.9 miles on a single lane gravel road to the trailhead. (for more info on this hike and countless others in GNP check out http://www.hikinginglacier.com/)

Before we embarked we drove part way up the Going to the Sun Highway (if you ever have the chance I encourage you to drive the whole thing and explore Logan Pass which is the peak of the road). We drove about a half mile or so past the loop trail and turned around due to time constraints

Going to the Sun Highway

99% precent of visitors to Glacier never travel more than 3 miles off of the highway. I encourage everyone to go out and explore more of the park it offers so much. 

So on to the hike….

The trail to the Apgar Fire tower Look Out is 3.6 miles each direction so 7.2 round trip.

It was recommended to me to start hiking a bit after noon so that once at the lookout the sun is on the west side of the fire tower. The reason being is the tower looks east over the entirety of Lake McDonald. With the sun to the west the views of Lake McDonald are stunning.

It is also a good idea to bring bear spray along since most of the hike is in thick underbrush (prime bear habitat) due to the 2006 fires in this area.

Apgar Lookout underbrush

Also due to the fires is the lack of shade so bring lots of water. 

The underbrush and scenery is beautiful the entire trail. Once you begin to climb up the mountain side you can see views of the Flathead river and into west Glacier and over the valley.

views into west glacier

 The wildflowers were everywhere. I was hopping to see some bear grass still in bloom but unfortunately it was done blooming in this part of the park.

Wildflowers Wildflowers Wildflowers 

About 2/3s of the trail is switch backs up to the top but the view is completely worth the effort.

 Apgar Fire Tower LookoutLake McDonald

I feel so lucky to have been able to spend quite a bit of time in Glacier over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me. Its a park that captures the hearts and imaginations of it’s visitors and leaves each one craving more. 

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A Class of Exposure

By far one of the most fulfilling classes I have ever taken in high school was Science Seminar. Our teacher was the insightful Montana Teacher of the Year Mr. Pederson. I learned so much about what is actually out there and my mental maturity is so much greater. The trips, the discussions, the bio ethics, and the books all brought light on how truly beautiful the world is and how many never truly get to appreciate it. People live such tough lives fighting for just a little grip of hope. I realize now just how incredibly lucky I am. I have had little tragedy in my life other than some bumps and bruises. There are so many people out there who appreciate a simple slice of bread yet America complains that their steak isn’t big enough.

This class has opened my eyes in ways I never knew I could. The jaded lenses are gone, thrust into a vat of knives and nails. This class is what inspired my dream to travel the world, to see what’s out there, to truly live.

Among the emotionally stripping bio ethics and the eye opening discussions about what is really out there in this world, we took some incredible trips. The beginning of the year started out with reading Night of the Grizzlies. 


Night of the Grizzlies

We then had the opportunity follow the path of the book. Half of the story takes place along the Highline trail and the Granite Park Chalet, both of which are in Glacier National Park. It’s around a 13 miles of some of the most beautiful country in the world. At the top we were able to see where everything happened, Where the helicopter landed, where she was attacked and where she was drug during the bear attack. It made the book come to life. The feat was real. I am in awe as to how brave everyone was at the Chalet that night.

The bonds made could never be lost and this was one of the coolest trips I have ever taken. The wildlife we saw and the people I was surrounded by made the trip complete.

Our next excursion was to watch the wolves in Yellowstone. We spent three days and two nights there in November enjoying crisp fresh snow and wolf watching. The park was so pristine and being there in the early morning was nothing but peaceful. It was crazy to actually see wolves and I’m so lucky to have seen them in their natural habitat. After learning about the reintroduction it was awesome to see the product and enjoy them for myself. It was a really crazy experience to be pretty much the only people in the entire park because I have only ever been there in the height of the summer. The animals were different and It was interesting to see how the season changes impacted their behavior. The Buffalo were plenty abundant but watching the wolves and hearing their calls was by far the highlight.

This past few days were met with a bittersweet taste. The end of the year meant our last and final trip, a trip to the Lewis and Clark Caverns Montana state park. The Caverns house one of the most decorated caves in the United States and the formations were all incredible.

caves, Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

caves, Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Everything was like something out of fantasia. Prior to this I had been to two other caves, Cave of the winds in Colorado and Glenwood Caves in Summit County, but neither were nearly as spectacular as the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Each formation is hundreds of thousands of years in the making and it was surreal to look at history like that. They are pieces of art, stalagmites and stalactites rising to meet forming beautiful masterpieces only nature could.

I couldn’t be more thank you for our wonderful teacher Mr. Pederson or the class mates that have taught me so much. I’ve grown as a person. My understanding has expanded beyond all my feasible limits and I’m more inspired to change the world for the good and pass something meaningful onto the others around me. One of the greatest things about this class is the emphasis of getting out there and not letting the world pass you by. So many people today are caught up in their work or technology and they never really look outside their bubble. There is so much more to life than sitting in a cubicle or cleaning an overly priced car. It’s time to see beyond all the brands and see into what really matters. The things that are truly important are the relationships you build and the opportunities and experiences around you.