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Ken Rainka’s Favorite Hike

July 27, 2021

This hike was probably in 1986, or around then, most likely in July. I would usually take my hiking trips around that time. Normally, I would take two weeks off because I would always drive. For reference, I would have to leave from NJ.
I was alone on this trip in Glacier National Park in Montana so my hiking was confined to day hikes only for safety reasons.
I don’t use much gear on my day hikes, like this one. All I probably had was a canteen, medical kit, snake bite kit, and bells on my laces. I always have worn Timberland hiking boots.

I have always liked the more strenuous trails and decided to take the trail to Iceberg Lake.
The trail was a half mile climb up and then an easier 2.4 miles into Iceberg Lake.

The views along the way were spectacular.


I headed back to the trail junction and decided I would take the other fork to Ptarmigan Tunnel hoping I would have enough daylight to make it to the tunnel and back to the parking lot.


The trail to Ptarmigan Lake at the base of the wall up to the tunnel was a harder climb of about 1. 5 miles. The views all around including those of Ptarmigan Falls were beautiful.


When I reached Ptarmigan Lake it was late in the afternoon and there were only two hikers who had come down and were on there way out. They told me the view from the tunnel was worth the climb but I might not get back before dark.


I did carry a trail flashlight but decided it was too risky and started back down the trail towards the parking lot.


I kept looking back up towards the tunnel and decided this whole trip was what this hike was all about. I had never really taken a trip alone like this. I turned around and made my way back to Ptarmigan Lake and then headed on up towards the tunnel.


The tunnel itself is almost 2500 vertical feet from the lake and with the switchbacks is about a 2.5 mile hike up. I took the hike up to the tunnel (which goes through the top of the wall) and was rewarded with some of the best views Glacier had to offer.


I stayed only about a half hour before heading back down. I had to use my light to get back to my truck. The moral of the story is never give up at the end of any hike. The rewards are too great to miss.

 – Ken Rainka

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    October 15, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Beautiful pictures