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A fair number of Glacier National Park Hikes have sections of waste-high (or higher) leafy vegetation on each side of the trail that are quite often soaking wet early in the morning because of the dew. Your pants, socks and hiking boots will be completely soaked within a matter of minutes. We call these sections of Glacier Park Trails “car washes”, and you will be just as wet as if you jumped into a lake. Wet socks and boots are not a good thing because it can create blisters during a long day of hiking in Glacier National Park, and it’s just simply uncomfortable no matter how you look at it.
To avoid getting soaking wet during early morning Glacier Park Hikes through “car washes”, we have learned through the years to wear our lightweight rain pants over our hiking pants until the trail dries up. We also wear knee-high Gore-Tex gaiters underneath our rain pants to further keep the water from draining into our boots. Obviously, none of this will help unless you are wearing waterproof hiking boots (Gore-Tex or equivalent). We have hiked through some of the worst waste-high “car washes” we’ve ever seen that lasted for 6 to 7 miles, and have kept our socks and boots completely dry with this combination.
As the day warms up and the dew leaves the vegetation, simply remove the gaiters and rain pants, and continue on your Glacier Park hike.
To summarize, here’s what you’ll need to stay dry while hiking in Glacier National Park through a “car wash” early in the morning:
1. Waterproof hiking boots (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
2. Knee high waterproof gaiters (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
3. Lightweight waterproof rain pants (Gore-Tex or equivalent) for over your hiking pants
Once you’ve been through a really good “car wash” and you’ve hiked the rest of the day in soaking wet boots and socks, we can assure you that you will understand the need for this apparel. Glacier National Park provides some of the best hiking experiences in North America, and by knowing how to handle the “morning dew”, you will enjoy these world-class hikes even more.
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