Daily Miles: 11
2021 CDT Total Miles: 478
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2551
Today felt like a magical day on the trail. Even though we only hiked 11 miles, it was packed with lots of goodness…amazing views and animal sightings.
Before leaving East Glacier, we had a pretty slow morning getting going. We met another northbound CDT hiker, Sleeping Bear, who had come into town really late last night. Turns out he had kayaked the Mississippi River the same year we canoed it.
We got breakfast burritos and pastries from a small store down the road and then got our gear packed up. It was really cold in the morning, but it was already starting to warm up by the time we were heading out.
The hike today basically consisted of a gradual climb and a steady descent…it would make for a perfect day hike. As we began the climb, we could start to see nice views back towards town. You could see the mountains fading into the plains pretty quickly.
The sky was clear today…seems the recent rain has really cleared the smoke out of the area. The air was cool which felt really nice as we hiked. We even put on sunscreen for the first time in over a week.
As we neared the top of our climb, we could see a group of bighorn sheep in the distance. The trail brought us closer to them and they didn’t seem worried about us at all…in fact, they were walking towards us. We couldn’t believe how close they were willing to get to us. We had never seen them up so close before.
We started to see day hikers out as we headed down towards Two Medicine. As we turned a corner on the trail, we got a view of Two Medicine Lake nestled down in the valley…it really looked like shangra-la. One of the many spectacular views we had today
We came across a family of mountain goats which were also not phased by us. There were even three baby goats which were pretty adorable. It seems like the animals in this national park have been habituated to people, just like in other parks we have hiked through.
After a long descent to Two Medicine, we got to the ranger station and campground. We stopped in to the ranger station to get some of our questions answered about their permit system. We got some good information and the ranger gave us the data we needed to piece together our permit request.
All backcountry camping in Glacier has to be done at specific campsites. These have limited numbers of sites, so we have to figure out how to make our route work with the campsites that still have openings. Another wrinkle is the size of our group – we are expecting our friends, MountainMan and Ace, to arrive here tomorrow so we can hike with them through Glacier. Since there will be five of us, we will require two sites per night (only four people are allowed per site). This makes it pretty tricky.
We spent an hour or more at our picnic table this evening going through all possible scenarios for campsites and daily mileages. We have a Plan A and a Plan B figured out. Now we just have to cross our fingers that we get Plan A.
We have set our alarms for 5am so that we can (hopefully) be first in line for the ranger tomorrow morning. Even though they don’t open until 8am, we have heard that folks will get there before dawn in hopes of being first in line. We are already planning to set ourselves up with our sleeping pads and sleeping bags in front of the ranger station, as it will be very cold. Fingers crossed for a reasonable schedule!