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2005: Glacier National Park Part 1: Elizabeth Lake

August 12, 2005

Glacier National Park, Part 1—Elizabeth lake

Nick, Andrew, Matt, Chris

Nick and Andrew at the GNP entrance

Nick and Andrew at the GNP entrance

This trip came abut when I got an email that my office mate at Stanford, where we were both finishing up our PhDs, looking for someone to join him and his friend, Matt, to go backpacking at in Glacier National Park. The hitch/hook was that we would be flying there in a four-seater (and there was the sharing of the cost of that). I decided to go with them, as a treat, handing in my draft of the dissertation to my committee the night before leaving.

We were meeting up with another buddy of theirs, Chris, who was working at the park hotel – they had been in a fraternity together. They were all in their late 20s, about 20 years younger than me.


The plane was just big enough to hold the three of us and out gear, with 2 pack in the hold and one in the fourth seat.

We arrived at the airport and got picked up by Chris, who drove us to his dorm. The male dorm was like a real college men’s dorm, beer can’s all over, music blasting etc. We all crashed in his room for the night.


Nick Andrew Matt Chis at trail head

Nick Andrew Matt Chis at trail head

We drove to the trail head the next morning, near Chief Mountain Customs. After a downhill portion, this led us along down the Betsy River.

0080 N in field

The day was mostly downhill, though more forest, then meadow.

0190 Andrew Nick Dawn mist

Andrew and Nick at Dawn Mist Falls

We passed Dawn Mist falls and from there continued on to Elizabeth Lake. In Glacier, unlike the Sierras, you reserve a particular campground for each night. And each campground has designated sites. Food is all cooked in a common area, and there is a food hanging system set up in a separate area, where your food bags are suspended over a wire.

The first night we stayed at the near end of Elizabeth. The mosquitoes were pretty bad.

NIck, Chris, Andrew at Redgap Pass

Nick, Chris, Andrew at Redgap Pass

In the morning we took a hike up to Redgap Pass for the view. We came back and moved camp to the other end of Elizabeth Lake, where we took a dip, and saw some loons.

0399 Nick, Andrew, Matt, Chris at Bear Mountain

The next day we did a day trip up Bear Mountain, where we got a wonderful view of the valley.

0510 andrew fords

On the way back, we ran into a young female ranger on horseback, who Chris flirted with.

0550 E lake head campsite

The next day we got up early as Chris had to be back to the hotel for an afternoon shift—so we headed out early at a good pace. We did make a stop at the ranger station. He knocked on the door, and got no answer, and was just leaving her a message on a whiteboard by the door, when she came out. Chris worked on getting her to go on a date, giving her his contact.

0111 Mountain backdrop

From there we hightailed it back to make it on time, which we just managed to do.

To see the full set of pictures from this hike you can link here to my Flickr album

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