From: July 28 to August 4, 2012

Destination: Glacier National Park, Montana

  • Hiking and Rafting Glacier National Park

    Glacier National Park is truly one of the crown jewels of the National Park System. It has long been famous for having more glaciers than anywhere in the lower 48, and while there has been significant glacial melting in the past 30 years, they are still magnificent. The park is also known for an astounding array of jagged peaks, wildflowers, and abundant wildlife. We'll spend the first four days of our week-long excursion hiking some of Glacier's classic trails, returning each night to one of the magnificent historic lodges that have been welcoming visitors for 100 years. Because the Park has a short hiking season and is a very popular destination, we will not find the solitude on the trails. We will, however, find it on our overnight raft trip on the Flathead River, along with lots of laughing and thrills. Please join us for a week of fun, challenge, and beauty during our week in Glacier National Park.

  • July 28: Our trip starts today at the Lake MacDonald Lodge at 5:30 pm. We'll start getting to know each other and review our plans for the trip, before sharing our first dinner. After dinner some of us may be ready for an early bedtime in our rustic cabins, while others might choose to attend an evening slideshow or lounge on the veranda. In any case a good night's sleep will help prepare us for a vigorous day of hiking tomorrow. (D)

    July 29: After a hearty breakfast we'll meet our local guide, a naturalist who knows the geology, flora, and fauna, and can answer our many questions about this unique landscape. Our hike today is on the "Garden Wall" section of the Highline Trail. Starting out on the famous Going To The Sun Road, we gain substantial elevation as we drive to Logan Pass, our trailhead. As a result of this initial elevation gain, the trail along the ridge offers a rare combination of moderate hiking, with only one significant climb to Haystack Butte (one switch back and an elevation gain of 300 feet over the course of just under half a mile) and exquisite views of the Continental Divide. Include abundant wildflowers in full bloom and the possibility of sighting bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzly bears into the mix, and it is no wonder that this is one of the most popular trails in the park. Haystack Pass, which is about halfway to Granite Park Chalet, offers sweeping panoramic views and is a great place for a break; it is also a good turnaround point for those wanting a shorter hike today (about 6 miles). Those who continue on will then start climbing gradually up to reach the high point of the trail at 7,440 feet. The views of the Livingston Range are incredible, with Heaven's Peak dominating the skyline and Mt. Cannon, Mt. Oberlin and Swiftcurrent Mountain also providing spectacular views. The trail then starts gradually descending to reach Granite Park Chalet in 7.5 miles where a cold drink provides a welcome break. From here it's all downhill (2300 feet to be exact) as we hike 4 miles down to the Road.

    Regardless of which option you choose, we will all get together again for dinner and the first of two nights at Many Glacier Hotel. Our lakeside lodge rooms at this classic National Park lodge will provide welcome rest after today's classic hike. (B, L, D)

    July 30: Today’s hike starts quite close to our hotel!  After another hearty breakfast we start the Iceberg Trail to the aptly named Iceberg Lake. Surrounded by 3,000 foot cliffs and untouched by direct sunlight in the winter, a large amount of snow and ice accumulates each winter which slowly melts throughout the summer. Spectacular scenery, colorful wildflowers, and the possibility of grizzly bear sightings (this area is occasionally closed when sightings are too frequent) make this another Glacier Park classic hike. Although the first half-mile is somewhat steep, the path the elevation gain the becomes more gradual. Though the total elevation gain is 1200 feet over 4.7 miles one way, it doesn’t really feel like it. After enjoying a picnic and a chance to dip our feet in the frigid lake, we return the same way we came.

    After dinner, those who choose can explore the other half of Glacier: night skies that may be more brilliant than any you have seen. If you enjoy star gazing, this is an experience not to be missed. (B, L)

    July 31: We pack up this morning in preparation for moving our lodging for the next two nights. Today's hike, however, is to nearby Grinnell Glacier. Starting fairly flat, it traverses the shoreline of Swiftcurrent Lake and then Josephine Lake. After that it gradually climbs for a total of 1600 feet over 4 miles, ending at Upper Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier at the base of the Continental Divide. Traveling through open countryside, our hiking is rewarded with stunning views of Lower Grinnell Lake, Angel Wing, Mt. Gould, and Grinnell Falls. Again, wildflowers are abundant and sightings of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzlies are all possible.

    The trail is not only one of the most stunning in the Park, it sadly showcases the ongoing loss of the glaciers from which the Park gets its name. Upper Grinnell Lake is a fairly new lake that is being formed by the melting waters of a shrinking Grinnell Glacier (more than 40% over the past thirty years). Like all glacial lakes the water is milky white in color and is a rejuvenating place in which to very briefly dip ones feet. We retrace our steps for a total of 12 miles. A 1.5 hour van ride brings us to Glacier Park Lodge on the east side of the park, another of the venerable Park lodges and our lodging for the next 2 nights. (L, D)

    August 1: Our hiking destination today is Upper Two Medicine Lake at the foot of the Continental Divide. This is a less traveled part of the Park as it is off the Going to the Sun Road. It also has a unique weather pattern, receiving much less rain than the western side and thus lacks the lush vegetation found there. The beauty is no less breath taking however.

    There are a couple of options today: the longer option is to follow the north shore of Two Medicine Lake, reaching Twin Falls in 3.8 miles (75 ft elevation gain). Twin Falls is what it sounds like - a double waterfall that rushes down the mountain side. After stopping to gaze and take pictures, we continue for another 1.2 miles to Upper Two Medicine Lake (350 ft elevation gain). A pleasant way to shorten this hike is to take a scenic boat cruise across Two Medicine Lake, leaving a 0.9 mile (one way) hike to Twin Falls from the boat dock and 2.2 miles to the upper lake. We'll return to the same lodge tonight, perhaps enjoying a dip in the swimming pool. (B, L).

    August 2 and 3: For our last 2 days at the Park we completely change gears, giving our legs a rest and our arms a workout as we embark on an overnight rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Flathead, the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. Our exact put in point will depend on the water level. However, you can count on exciting whitewater and pristine wilderness scenery, a scenic camping spot along the river, and hearty and delicious meals.

    Most, but not all, of the whitewater occurs on the last day when you raft through John Stevens Canyon. The rapids are rated class II and class III making it a fun and splashy adventure. Names like Screaming Right Hand Turn, Pinball, Jaws and Could-Be-Trouble give you a sense of just how much fun we'll have! We'll be off the river in the late afternoon and back to West Glacier and then on to our lodging in in Whitefish and a final farewell dinner (B, L, D both days).

    August 4: There is a complimentary breakfast this morning and shuttle to the airport so you are free to leave any time you choose.

  • $2395  (see this page for discounts) Deposit $300  Private rooms are not available on this trip. You can check out our cancellation policies here. THIS TRIP IS FULL - Please contact us to be placed on the waitlist.

    Trip Includes

    • Experienced guides including a local Glacier Park naturalist
    • Six nights of double occupancy accommodation
    • Fully outfitted overnight rafting trip
    • Meals listed on the itinerary (five dinners, five breakfasts, and all lunches)
    • Transportation and luggage transfer within Glacier National Park

    Not included: airfare to Kalispell, transportation to the Park (we will help arrange this), 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts, National Park entry fee, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking Glacier's classic trails with a local naturalist
  • Experiencing both the solitude and the excitement that only whitewater rafting can provide
  • Staying in historic National Park lodges that have welcomed guests since the early 1900s
  • Watching for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzlies
  • Immersing ourselves in a landscape of jagged peaks, glaciers, wildflowers, and meadows

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