Jul 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm #1261368
Hi, I was hoping someone with some experience in the area could help me plan a trip to Glacier National Park. I hike pretty often in PA but I've never been farther west than Ohio. I guess I'll start with what I have so far.
-Trip Length – 2 weeks in mid-september
-Amtrak from Harrisburg to the park (long ride but way cheaper than flying and I'm not under a time constraint.
My goals are to
-Do a decent amount of fly fishing and catch some cut throat
-See some bighorn sheep
-Get out in the back country, I don't really care about miles per day and I'd like to keep a pretty loose schedule that can be changed at will to wander where I please
-Stay away from crowds
As far as gear goes….
My gear list in my profile is a little outdated, I lost the spreadsheet file and haven't had time to make a new one. I'll work on that soon when I get some time,
-I'd like to resupply as little as possible so I'm thinking about taking my Mountainsmith Maverick instead of my MYOG G4. It's much heavier but I think it's a lot more comfortable with more weight.
-Pad is now a GG torso pad, but I still have the wal mart blue pad. My ray way quilt is the alpine upgrade so good to 30s and I also have a much heavier north face that says 0 degrees but I think that may be pretty optimistic. Any thoughts on temperatures this time of year and which I should bring?
-I'm thinking I'll need to pick up a bear canister?.
-Shelter options are Eureka Spitfire, Standard HH Hammock, 6×10 Etowah urethane tarp. Spitfire may end up coming with me if my friend comes with but right now I'm only planning on myself.
-Gonna pick up some bear mace
-Knife is probably a comfort item but I just feel weird without one.
-I'm mostly barefoot now but I'll still bring some sort of footwear to keep just in case I hurt my foot somehow, probably my VFF KSOs but open to cheap/light suggestions, also have a pair of nike frees but they're even heavier.
-If anyone has experience fly fishing the park that would be awesome to help me pick my gear for that but I won't bother listing all that stuff unless somebody here can help me. (Possibly post this in the fly fishing section as a separate post?
-Food, my diet is weird, I'm not really vegan because I'll eat wild meat but other than that my diet is vegan. Which basically means, my diet may or may not be supplemented by some fish I catch although 99.9% of my fishing is catch and release. I'm assuming this will mean a resupply will be tough but any help picking out two weeks worth of food or has info on resupply options that would be great. I've never gone more than a few days without resupply here in PA.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something and this is a pretty sloppy post but hopefully this is a decent start to get some ideas going. Feel free to pick apart any part of my early stages of planning.Jul 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1630568
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: The West Slope
Lots of questions Tristan, I'll address those that stand out.
Weather: Over a period of 10 days in Glacier in mid-September means you're fairly likely to get snowed on. The snow isn't too likely to hang around for long, even at higher elevations, but it gets cold. Make sure your footwear and shelter can handle that.
Camping: GNP requires you stay in designated backcountry sites. On your permit, which you'll need to get at the start of the trip, you'll need to specific your whole route, and they'll expect you to stick to it. If you want to wander at will, looking at the Bob Marshall Wilderness south of Glacier would be a better option. That said, mid-September isn't high season, and getting a permit would not be a problem.
Routes: I prefer to plan routes that maximize time above 6000'. That's the virtual treeline in the park, below which is thick pine and spruce forest, above which is more scattered trees, rocks, talus, etc. Hiking up high means better views.
Fishing: Fishing in Glacier is either in large lakes or smaller rivers and streams between the lakes. There's some excellent fishing to be had, and best of all if you fish only in the park you don't need a Montana license. You'll need to brush up on the park regulations, and follow those. September fishing will mean colder water. I only fly fish, but things like wooly buggers tend to get the job done that time of year.
Bear canister: Won't need one. BC campsites either have a metal locker, metal food pole (if above treeline), or designated hanging area. Bring 30' of rope and you'll be set. MT bears aren't nearly as enterprising as CA bears, thankfully. Must be all the trout and berries they eat.Jul 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm #1630761
Thanks so much, this really helps.
You have me interested in the Bob Marshall wilderness, the only problems I can see with that are the logistics of getting there without a car or anything.
I also did not know that I didn't need a license to fish in the park, I almost picked one up the other day, good thing I didn't.
As far as routes go, are there any spots or areas you would highly recommend?
The weather sounds a bit colder than I originally thought but its not big deal, I've been in worse than a little snow, I will probably bring some sneakers and sealskin socks though, thanks for the heads up on that. This is the reason I'm asking questions.Jul 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm #1630762
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: The West Slope
Tristan, the Bob complex is literally right across the street from Glacier to the south. If (for instance) you're Amtracking it into East Glacier you could hike the CDT west and out of the the park in a day, easy.
Glacier is more rugged and photogenic on the whole, and well worth the trip. As for particularly worthy places:
-The Highline Trail from Logan Pass all the way north to Waterton River is lovely. Fifty Mountain is an especially good camp, up high with great views.
-Stoney Indian Pass is another great camp, and the eastern strech of that pass is truly excellent.
-The crossing of Piegan Pass is another one of my favorite spots.
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