Winter Tracking Adventure
*Members Only Course: Becoming a member grants you access to all Glacier Institute educational day programs for free!
Winter is one of the best times to experience the Crown of the Continent! Frozen streams, snow pillows, and abandoned trails all leave winter hikers with a sense of primal exploration. Join us for Glacier Institute on an educational hike discovering animal signs as we go. Winter offers us an insight into animal movements, more so than any other time of year. Learn to decipher canine, feline, mustelid, and ungulate tracks, as well as the reasons behind their movement.
Meeting location: Lake McDonald Lodge parking area, near the Sperry Trailhead
Food: Please pack a trail lunch, snacks, and plenty of water. We will spend the day on the trail.
Equipment: Most importantly are warm clothing layers (synthetic and wool materials only, cotton is NOT recommended), waterproof outer layers, comfortable winter boots, a warm winter hat, waterproof winter gloves, a trail lunch, snacks, water (we recommend at least 1-2 liters), backpack, and sunscreen. We will be on snowshoes for this course. Snowshoes will be available at the meeting location, however if you have your own pair please bring them along. Trekking poles can be helpful for balance on the trail. Binoculars can be useful, as well as a notebook, and a writing utensil (ballpoint ink pens tend to freeze in the winter, pencils and sharpies are best). A small foam sit-pad can come in handy for our lunch break.
Weather: The weather in West Glacier is generally ~10 degrees fahrenheit cooler than in the Kalispell area, with a much higher snowpack to be expected. Expect cold temperatures, snow, and wind. It is always best to have extra layers than not enough.
Physical Requirements: Moderate. We will be snowshoeing at an easy pace along a mostly flat trail for up to 3 miles. We will stop to identify and discuss winter phenomena and animal sign, and may venture off-trail at times where “breaking trail” in snowshoes will be necessary.