Aug 30, 2013 at 5:46 am #1307114
So this will be a very lame trip report…but I just wanted to share my very first backpack trip out west. It was pretty awesome, to say the least. Six of us started out in the upper northwest corner at Kintla Lake trailhead and hiked along the lake. There was a black bear at the trailhead which left on it's own…and was the only bear we saw on the trip. We did short miles, so the first day was 6.3 to Kintla HD, then next day on to Upper Kintla. Very windy there but still gorgeous. On day 3, we headed up Boulder Pass, which was almost a 3000ft climb up in 5.6 miles. I was very happy that I actually could do that! And the campsite and area was drop-dead beautiful. And if anyone has been there…the pit toilet is completely open-air, along with marmots and pika whistling and chattering at you as you sat there. : )
Some of us explored the area, which I would love to return and use that spot as a base camp for a few days. On to Hole in the Wall, and along the trail we had stopped for lunch somewhere and expored that …discovering hidden ptarmigans…and a canyon that was absolutly stunning. We just stood there in awe. It was about a few miles from Boulder Pass. Reaching Hole in the Wall, we all dunked under the waterfall there…or the creek that was flowing which led to the fall. Last day was to Lake Francis…we had the entire place to ourselves. Only 2 campsites there. It was a great place to end the last night. An ealry rise the next day to Goat Haunt and the boat ride to Waterton. Our shuttle awaited us and headed back to West Glacier. Two of us remained, rented a car and headed to Two Medicine campground, where we scored a great site and used it as our base. We day hiked part of HIghline trail, Ptarmigan tunnel….trails around Two Medicine. I was a tired puppy when I got home. Oh, and yes, we swam in those glacier lakes. Brrrrrr…..
I have to return. Weather was perfect…low 40's, high 70's…colder at Boulder Pass…some smoke haze from all of the forest fires…and driving along the Great Plains to avoid the winding roads was also awesome. No other car out there but ours.
Maybe when I get a chance I could download some pictures. I'm just not a picture-taker.Aug 30, 2013 at 7:48 am #2020107
Not lame at all, Donna. As an Eastern hiker, I am often in awe when I get out west too. I'd love to see your photos.Aug 30, 2013 at 9:08 am #2020135
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Donna, that's awesome. I recall your planning threads and it sounds like you put together a great trip. Def post pics!Aug 30, 2013 at 9:22 am #2020140
I forgot to mention about all of the wildflowers out there. OMG! And we all gorged on huckleberries, thimble berries and rasberries.
I did sleep outside for a short time next to my TT in Boulder pass. The moon was full…we got to see it rise while the sun set. And then watch it set while the sun rose. So beautiful. I really wanted to climb Dawson Pass but I was so exhausted that I needed a rest day to fill up on huckleberry ice cream. : )
I will try to post some pictures as soon as I can. Those who live west sure have a great playground. But my Shenandoah hills seem to be my home. It's all good.
Oh, and seriously?? All of the videos on setting up a Contrail in 1 minute works only if you have soft ground. I had to pound my groundhog stakes into that hard earth. If I had to choose again….prolly bring my Hubba and cut weight elsewhere. Many had the BA Flycreek UL1 and UL2. I was breathing in lots of dry, fine dirt at night.
The big 3 were ULA Circuit, Golite Ultra 20 quilt and TT Contrail. I would switch out the quilt for my Montbell spiral 3. I was too hot for the 20. But I wasn't sure what it would be like out there at night. I'd also drop the rain pants and use gaiters instead.
Saw wolf tracks closer to Goat Haunt….we were told there were mountain lion and bear warnings…some man on the trail said he smelled goat, and I said it was probably me! No shower in the 6 days.Aug 31, 2013 at 5:46 am #2020399
Along Boulder Pass
Lake Francis…with fish!
Boulder Pass toiletAug 31, 2013 at 5:53 am #2020402
Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail
Other side of tunnel
All taken randomly with iPhone. I just pointed and shot.Aug 31, 2013 at 9:12 am #2020436
@leighbLocale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Agree with the others, not lame at all! Thanks for sharing.Aug 31, 2013 at 9:28 am #2020440
@harry-nLocale: Western US
Great pics and info. Anytime someone can take some photos is great to give a visual sense of that place and conditions.Aug 31, 2013 at 9:29 am #2020441
– -K.T.- –Participant
Don't be hard on yourself. Good report and photos. Thanks for sharing.Aug 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm #2020476
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Your Trail Somewhere photo is of the Highline Trail looking back toward Logan Pass.
–B.G.–Aug 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm #2020509
Thanks, B.G. You're right. I had hiked on something similar out of Hole in the Wall area, which is above Bowman Lake.
Thanks to all, too. It isn't a lame report, and just my knees are lame! Gotta go back west…!!Sep 3, 2013 at 7:03 am #2021275
Thanks for posting the great photos. I've got to go.Sep 3, 2013 at 7:40 am #2021277
Thanks Donna! Brings back good memories.Sep 3, 2013 at 9:02 am #2021294
Good stuff, Donna, and not at all lame. Bob is right, that's the unique trail on the Garden Wall portion of the Highline Trail. You can see the safety cable with the garden hose sheath. Also, Oberlin Falls drops off from the bend in the highway to plunge into Logan Creek. That's probably Reynolds Mtn in the background.
You really took in some of GNP's greatest hits. It's a magic place, isn't it?Sep 3, 2013 at 11:32 am #2021336
Yep…it really is magical. I think every NP and forest has it's wonder, if you ask me. I was interested in the Bob Marshall's. Any thoughts? Prolly burnt to the ground right now. While I was out there, there were fires everywhere.
I would consider returning to GNP and do my own solo hike. It's not like nobody is out there. The problem I ran into with my TT was space. 7 tents and 2 sites made for interesting configurations! But going solo or with another person, that TT would be just fine. Yes, I would carry pepper spray. : )Sep 3, 2013 at 11:36 am #2021338
Maybe I can go and do the Wonderland trail now. I had it on my bucket list but the fear factor crept in. Now that I understand how different it is west, I can prepare better.Sep 3, 2013 at 11:41 am #2021342
Great pics, delightful report! Thanks Donna!Sep 3, 2013 at 11:53 am #2021345
Donna, although they abut one another (separated by US Hwy 2), the Bob is quite different from GNP. They are about the same size, but where GNP has stunning peaks, valleys, and lakes, the Bob is mainly just a huge and wild forested place with few people. True, there are plenty of decent mountains, but few that compare to the grandeur of Glacier. But wild it is. I don't know how much of it burned this summer, but I think the Gates Park area got hit pretty bad.
And don't forget about Yellowstone. It's a different type of ecosystem than Glacier, but so very wild in its own right. Critters of all shapes and sizes, forests (some burned and recovering, some virgin old growth), a few good mountains, vast meadows, lakes, great rivers, and waterfalls. And on top of all that, it sits on a huge active volcanic formation, with incredible geysers and fumeroles to entertain you in the backcountry.Sep 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm #2021391
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Great trip Donna. If you're tempted to come back, I'd suggest September.
In places the Bob has mountains comparable to Glacier, but the terrain is broader and the steeper more obviously spectacular stuff not so densely packed. Almost all the best alpine hiking in the Bob is off trail.
The fire in the Gates area didn't really burn much. It got outsize press because it closed the CDT and popular areas like Spotted Bear and Larch Hill passes.Sep 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm #2021422
There was lots of haze from forest fire smoke mostly in the afternoons. Small fires closeby…and no doubt far away.
Lots to consider. I would LOVE to hike Yellowstone. I did spend some bike riding time out there but hiking is an altogether different thing. So much to do..so little time. : )Sep 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm #2021860
@snapyjohnLocale: Pacific NW
I spent 7 days in Glacier and had a blast. Cobalt blue lakes and waterfalls that looked liked they were plucked out of Hawaii. Beautiful peaks and enough trails to keep you busy for a month. My uncle my brother and nephews were dumbstruck by Glaciers raw beauty. Trails were a little overgrown but that is my only complaint. There was a storm that the aftermath looked like a bomb went off. Lots of downed trees. The only bad thing is all of the pictures I took could not depict the real spectacular beauty I beheld while there. I am already planning another trip back.
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