Day 10: Glacier National Park, 4722.1 km
We wound through the mountains from Alberta to British Columbia and finally broke through the clouds at around 4:00pm. At 6:00pm we pulled into the information center of Glacier National Park. This park is small and often overlooked by the hordes of people rushing to and from the more popular Banff National Park, but it is absolutely worth the stop. The jagged mountain peaks soar up on both sides of the road, the park staff are friendly and the trails are quiet. Arriving late on the Saturday of a long weekend we still managed to find a place to camp, albeit in a very rustic site. We had outhouses and no running water but there was filtered water available at the information center.
In the morning we spent 8 hours hiking Balu pass; a 12.8km hike up to a ridge which offers views of two mountain ranges. The mountain meadow with steep avalanche slopes is visible on one side and two glaciers on the other.
Balu is the Hindi word for bear and the name of the trail because the steep, isolated slopes, the streams and berries that grow in the meadow create the perfect habitat for bears, which are often sighted on this trail. Unfortunately we didn’t see any but we saw many marmots and ground squirrels grazing on the colourful wildflowers.