Glacier National Park Off The Beaten Path Tips by richiecdisc Top 5 Page for this destination
Glacier National Park Off The Beaten Path: 21 reviews and 55 photos
eyes closed, soaking in the rays
The marmot is one of the classic mountain creatures and even if you never see one while hiking, you are bound to hear one. They make a shrill whistle presumably to warn other marmots of your approach. These large furry rodents are actually just super-sized ground squirrels, differing mostly by habitat. They frequent rocky areas at high elevation and hibernate during the cold winter months so must eat lots to put on the necessary weight for survival. Come to think of it, I've never seen a skinny marmot!
I have seen many marmots over the years on many alpine hikes but I think the cutest one was in Glacier National Park on the Garden Wall hike. This was a fairly narrow trail but we came to a nice open rocky area and decided to take a break. It was quite nice out and it was so relaxing to get our packs off and soak up the sun. We noticed a marmot doing exactly the same. He was just standing there, his face to the sun with his eyes closed. This was living proof that animals do enjoy themselves just like we do, often relishing in simple pleasures.
nannie with kid
Whereas Olympic National Park in Washington State debates the right of mountain goats to flourish within its confines due to their not being native, Glacier National Park has chosen the animal as their official symbol. These adept climbers are spotted in the most precipitous places and it is no wonder they exhibit little fear or shyness around humans eager to take their photo. You will have to be at a fairly high elevation to see one as their habit is typically above 4000 feet. Males are much larger than their female counterparts and can reach up to 300 pounds, have longer horns and beards. As a rule, females are more social, are seen with their young while males tend to be loners.
Their cloven hooves are well suited for climbing as they separate and pads underneath provide traction so your best chance of seeing one is on the side of steep trails up on rocky outcroppings. We saw quite a few including a very cute nanny with its kid and no billy in sight. The baby was likely about 3 months old as nannies give birth typically in late May or early June. The kids remain with her for a year even though they are weaned by one month.
a grizzled old ram has seen many ruts
Bighorn Sheep are one of the most impressive animals in Glacier National Park. Seeing one in the wild is one of the park's great joys and while you have to look hard to see them elsewhere, they are fairly common here. Large males can be well over 300 pounds and their massive horns can weigh up to 30 in themselves! These majestic creatures made their way to North America over the Berring Land Bridge before it became the Strait from Siberia. Once numbering close to 2 million, they were hunted and decimated by disease to a mere few thousand by 1900. Conservation and reintroduction have brought their population back to healthy levels though not near their former prevalence or range.
Males are not only much larger than their female counterparts but also have the classic rounded huge horns most associated with the animal. Female do have horns but they are much smaller and only slightly bent. Males need every inch in rutting season, when the males square off to see who gets to mate. Older males generally have lots of damage and scarring on their horns from their many contests over the years. They are great climbers and you will most often spot them negotiating rocky outcroppings if they are not feeding on grass and other vegetation that makes up the bulk of their diet.
We saw many Bighorn Sheep on the Grinnell Glacier and Garden Wall hikes. They are not particularly shy but I guess we don't look all that agile lumbering down the trail with our big backpacks!
two hearts beat as one
Chipmunks, much like squirrels are the entertainers of the forest but what to us is entertainment, for the chipmunk is the work of storing food for the winter. They just move so fast it appears comical to us but make no mistake, these are serious omnivores whose diet includes nuts, insects, grain, small frogs, fungi, worms and bird eggs. One of the things that makes them so cute is also one of its greatest food-gathering assets. Their cheek pouches expand their entire face but make it possible for them to carry a lot more food to their dens or food caches.
These cute critters play an important part in the ecosystems they are part of and feeding them is a selfish way to get a photo or make yourself feel like a do-gooder. You are actually hurting them by forging bad habits and taking them from what they were put on this planet to do. We know deep down that a carrot is better for us than a candy bar but many still choose the latter. Chipmunks do not know candy bars and the like unless we expose them to them. Let chipmunks eat what is right for them and keep man-made garbage solely for polluting our own bodies.
More Reviews (43)
- not bad in a pinch
- being prepared for the elements at...
- get your rest, you'll need it
- See All hope to hear you first
- See All enjoy the berries in moderation
richiecdisc's Related Pages
Glacier National Park Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Glacier National Park - Postcard Perfect!"
- "Walking in the Footsteps of the Grizzly"
- "Most Beautiful Park in the lower 48 states"
- "Glacier National Park"
- "The Most Beautiful Place on Earth..."
- "Glacier National Park"
- "Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Glacier National Park
- Hotels in Glacier National Park
- Transportation in Glacier National Park
- Nightlife in Glacier National Park
- Restaurants in Glacier National Park
- Shopping in Glacier National Park
- Warnings and Dangers in Glacier National Park
- See All...
Explore the World
- Milano Marittima
- Ocean Springs Hotels
- Sciacca Hotels
- East Syracuse Hotels
- Grand Beach Hotels
Badges & Stats in Glacier National Park
- 47 Reviews
- 96 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 12 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (116)
Have you been to Glacier National Park?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Glacier National Park
- Posted in Travel Vietnam Forum "Re: Need recommendations in..."
- updated a Glacier National Park Travel Page "Walking in the Footsteps of the Grizzly"
- Uploaded a Photo to "Walking in the Footsteps of the Grizzly"
- Wrote a Review not bad in a pinch in Glacier National Park Shopping
- Commented on one of Bwana_Brown's Glacier National Park travel pages
Photos in Glacier National ParkSee All Photos (96)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination United States of America Intro, 125 reviews, 127 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Cartagena Intro, 50 reviews, 143 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands Intro, 54 reviews, 125 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Yosemite National Park Intro, 53 reviews, 103 photos
- San Francisco Intro, 58 reviews, 95 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Teton National Park Intro, 41 reviews, 112 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bavaria Intro, 73 reviews, 74 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Glacier National Park Intro, 47 reviews, 96 photos
- Dresden Intro, 53 reviews, 87 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Olympic National Park Intro, 44 reviews, 89 photos
Latest Glacier National Park hotel reviews
- Izaak Walton Inn
- 200 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 24, 2013
- Apgar Campground
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Aug 20, 2012
- Many Glacier Campground
- 18 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 17, 2012
- Many Glacier Hotel
- 425 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 25, 2013
- Rising Sun Campground
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 23, 2012