Our last full day at Glacier we decided to hike the Avalanche Lake trail – a two mile, popular trail right near the campground we were staying at. We chose not to try for Grinnell Glacier this day because there were strong thunderstorms in the forecast and we didn’t want to press our luck. Avalanche Lake is an easy, heavily populated trail, so there was less risk of bears – lots of people making lots of noise!
Overall, this hike was lovely. On parts of the trail, the forest floor was completely covered with moss, giving the impression of a green carpet. The trees were all tall, skinny, and almost completely straight. There wasn’t much in the way of underbrush, which made the forest seem very clean and neat. The terminus of the trail was Avalanche Lake, another stunning glacial fed lake – this one fed by Sperry Glacier. The water in all of these lakes is, unsurprisingly, super super cold –fed by a glacier – duh. There were a few kids playing and some people fishing the pristine water. It’s sad to think of how this entire ecosystem will change once the glaciers are completely gone. Yes, there will still be snowmelt after every winter, but the glaciers provide the runoff to feed the streams and lakes year round. They also provide an important temperature regulator for the lakes surrounding them. Without this, the species that rely on that cold glacial water will either have to adapt or perish. A sad concept to consider while thinking of the effects of global warming. When all the glaciers are gone – will it still be called Glacier National Park?