Monday, March 11, 2013


Dave and I REALLY like hiking! We have hiked a lot of day miles on our feet over the years and Dave has done many backpacking trips, his longest was about sixty miles over six days. I, on the other hand had never spent one night in the backcountry. I had been curious to experience it but I also figured I would probably slow Dave down. Needless to say, I was pleased when HE suggested that we try it in 2010! He planned it out very well, estimating distances he figured I could handle, two days, one night and him carrying the bulk of the weight. I would take my day pack and he would take his huge backpack so he could carry the tent and the bulkier items. He sent in his backcountry permit request for Upper Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park and we we were thrilled when we received confirmation that we had secured a campsite!

(Two Medicine Lake and Rising Wolf Mountain.)

(At the campground at Two Medicine Lake, Dave organizes his backpack for our backcountry campout.)

(The next morning, after a good breakfast in East Glacier we headed out!)

(The trail runs parallel with Two Medicine Lake before joining the Upper Two Medicine Trail.)

(7620-foot Pumpelly Pillar, a glacially carved, cone-shaped rock is named after Raphael Pumpelly, leader of the Northern Transcontinental Railway Survey party that crossed Pitamakan Pass in 1883.)

(Dave on the trail. The hike is considered moderate with an elevation gain of three hundred and fifty feet.)

(Break time, Dave estimated he was carrying a solid sixty-five pounds between camera gear and the heavier items!)

After three miles in, there is a side trail; roughly one-tenth of a mile in are the Twin Falls. A nice place to stop and take a break!)

We were all alone as Dave was photographing up on the hillside. I was doing my usual thing, on the lookout for bears when I spotted a Black Bear on the hillside above Dave. He couldn't hear me yelling "B-E-A-R!" over the sound of the waterfall so I did the Indian sign language for BEAR. He said at first he thought that I was kidding him but soon realized I wasn't. He slipped his can of bear spray out of its holster and looked around. The bear wanted no part of humans and quickly moved on. After Dave finished photographing the Twin Falls, a family with children came up and we gave them the heads up that a bear was in the area. We loaded our packs onto our shoulders and resumed our hike.

(Almost to our campsite, 8502-foot Lone Walker Mountain, to the right, is in sight!)

(Upper Two Medicine Lake, Lone Walker Mountain.)

(Our campsite was the nicest of the four available. We didn't have a beach to sit upon, it was mostly downed trees.)

Hanging our bear bag with our food and toiletries. I thought camping was time-consuming but camping in the backcountry is even more so! Water has to be purified, cooking and eating is done in a separate area and you have to plan ahead for things like brushing your teeth, etc so you don't have to take the bear bag up and down repeatedly.

After we had eaten a late lunch of Chicken Alfredo and our chores were done, we decided to explore the area. We had to cross over a log jam to get to an area where we could just sit and soak in the sights. We stayed for a couple of hours then made our way back to the food preparation area to eat some sausages we had brought with us and to sip some hot chocolate.

(Dave and Beargrass.)

We did our clean up and hoisted the bag back onto the pole then went back to our spot on the lake where we had sat earlier. Finally around 8:30 we went back to our campsite and crawled into our two man tent. I had forgotten to bring Yahtzee with us so we chatted about the events of the day until 9:30 and then called it a night in spite of how light it still was outside. It took a little while but the events of the day, the miles walked and the fresh air lulled me to sleep.

We awoke around six AM to brilliant blue skies unlike the clouds of the previous day. Since we were surrounded by game trails and had seen moose prints, Dave hoped to photograph a moose or some other animals in the area. I lingered in the tent a while longer and then began to stuff my sleeping bag and deflate my air mattress. Dave returned after having seen absolutely nothing and we made our way back to our spot from the day before and watched the sun light up the mountains. As the sun's rays warmed the water, we saw the ripples move towards us, breaking up the perfectly still reflection of Lone Walker Mountain. Knowing we had a leisurely morning to break camp and make our way back to the campground, we enjoyed the views a while longer before breaking down camp.

We went to the food prep area and as we waited for the water to boil, Dave went to the lake's edge to snap a couple more photos. While he was away, I tried to absorb the scenery around me finding it was just too magnificent to put into words. As I felt myself tearing up, a Bald Eagle flew over the lake. As I watched him soar high in the sky and swoop down over the lake I was overwhelmed by the wondrous sight I had just witnessed, what a way to start our day!!

We had our breakfast of Southwest Chili, cleaned up after ourselves and loaded up our packs for the five plus mile return trip. We admired the wildflowers along the trail and stopped once again at the Twin Falls where Dave purified some drinking water for us.

We made it back to the Two Medicine Campground around one-thirty...

My very first back country overnight experience was not only a success, it ended up being my highlight of our vacation, whetting my appetite for more. I couldn't wait to explore more of the backcountry in nearby Glacier National Park!

1 comment:

  1. just beautiful! here's to many more such trips for you and Dave!