Glacier (of Canada)

After leaving Revelstoke, we headed west on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Banff. The route took us through Glacier National Park of Canada. Neither of us knew Canada had its own Glacier park, which shows up as a small patch of green on Google Maps. I figured we might as well stop for a night, hoping for less crowds and an easier time finding a campground than we expect we’ll have in Banff and Jasper. We easily secured a spot at Illecillewaet Campground, which conveniently is also the trailhead for a number of hikes. I picked Abbott Ridge based on some enthusiastic reviews on the AllTrails app, which hasn’t let us down yet. As is becoming the norm, the weather looked questionable but we took off for the hike hoping for a break in the rain and clouds so we could at least get some views.

The hike started with a steep, wooded ascent, similar to the other hikes we’ve done so far. The rain started up and we prepared ourselves to be disappointed with cloudy views from the ridge. However, as we started to hike above the tree line, the sun started to emerge and the views expanded around us. We were absolutely wowed by the massive peaks surrounding us and unexpected beauty. Once you get to the 360 degree viewpoint, you can continue hiking along the ridge and eventually up to Mt. Abbott. We encountered about ten other hikers on our way up to the viewpoint, but as we continued on the ridge we realized we were the only people that had kept going. David suggested we consider turning back so we could get to the campground with time to relax, given the views likely wouldn’t get any better. I have a hard time turning around before reaching the destination I’ve set my sights on, one reason I prefer loop hikes. I convinced David we should go just a little further and managed to keep convincing him until we had reached a large, grassy area along the ridge, which until then had been narrow and rocky. The views from this spot were amazing and David was eagerly taking pictures, so I asked if he would wait while I scrambled to the top of Mt. Abbott, which was now less than 1 kilometer away (I haven’t figured out how to change the settings on my mapping app to imperial). The views from the top weren’t much different than from the ridge, but satisfied my need to get to the destination.

Some light rain started to roll in and David and I began our way back along the ridge, through an alpine meadow, and eventually back down through the trees to our campsite. We relished in the feeling of being the only ones left on the mountain, enjoying a rainbow and then the effects of golden hour. We couldn’t believe our luck with the weather and neither of us had expected a hike even half as gorgeous. The scenery here is just so big it has an effect on you that is hard to describe – it is a feeling of peace, wonder, and glee.

I don’t think these pictures can do the hike justice or really convey the majesty of it, but hopefully they will provide an idea of its beauty. And if you have the opportunity to visit Glacier, please do!

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