2019 Hike to Sperry Chalet
Two years ago today, on August 31, 2017, the main dormitory at Sperry Chalet burned to the ground in the Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park.
The Glacier National Park community was shocked. I personally sat on my porch and cried my heart out at the loss of the old gal. The next morning, seeing the first pictures released by the park service, I felt certain that she would not, could not, be rebuilt.
That same morning that I questioned Sperry’s future, Doug Mitchell with the Glacier National Park Conservancy met with Glacier’s superintendent, Jeff Mow, and asked a simple question: How can we help?
And it wasn’t long after that Doug found himself purchasing timber, and the “Viking Ship,” as he referred to Sperry through that long winter of 2017-2018, was born.
Those timbers supported Sperry as the politicians and the bureaucrats bantered about rebuilding her. Consultants and experts were hired, public opinion was sought and heard, hard decisions were made. And in Summer 2018, re-construction commenced.
Phase I, as it was called, was successful, and over the winter the National Park Service called for bids for Phase II. In May 2019, it was announced that the same contractor would remain in place for Summer 2019 construction. If construction went well — and to date, it has — a July 2020 reopening is anticipated.
I hiked up to Sperry last summer, to pay my respects to her, and to see that construction for myself. This summer, I haven’t yet had a chance to go, but a backpacking trip of ours went through there last week, and I asked Guide Todd Bauer to take a few photographs for me. Take a look.
The love people have for Sperry — even people who’ve never been there — touches me. I’d say it touches many of us in the Glacier community. And all of the Glacier National Park Chalets are special — those still standing and those long since lost to us. There were once 9 of them. I encourage you to read about their history here.
Want to go see the chalets yourself? We offer 3 day adventures from Granite Park Chalet several times each summer. In the past, we’ve also had the privilege to guide guests on 3 day experiences based out of Sperry and 6 day ultimate chalet tours involving Sperry, Granite, and Belton chalets. We’re hopeful that we’ll again be able to do so again in the future. You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the first-to-know-dates list! I look forward to hearing from you.