Daily Miles: 11
2021 CDT Total Miles: 489
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2562
Yesterday morning, we got up at 5am and were in front of the ranger office by 5:20. We had our sleeping bags with us to keep warm while we sat and waited two and a half hours for the ranger station to open. We wanted to make sure we were first in line and that worked. We were able to get pretty close to our first choice itinerary for hiking through Glacier.
We spent the rest of the day hanging out with Sleeping Bear who showed up mid-morning and with MountainMan and Ace once they arrived mid-afternoon. We had a really good time just sitting around the picnic table chatting and laughing away the day.
We knew that the weather report showed rain for today and we didn’t have a lot of miles to do today, we weren’t planning for an early start. The rain started around 6am, and we all just hung out in our shelters listening to the rain. Sleeping Bear headed out just before 8am when there was a lull in the rain (he got a different permit for camping, so he had a bigger mile day than us). We decided to pack up as well and then head to the camp store for some hot food and drink before we started hiking.
By the time we had breakfast and were ready to head out, it was already 10am. There was only some drizzle, and even though it was cold, we were pretty comfortable in our rain gear.
Our route had us starting a climb right away. The trail was quite nice and clear today. Even though it had just rained, the path was cleared on either side, so our feet didn’t really get wet from the plants. There were some thimbleberry plants, but they were picked clean. There were a lot of huckleberry bushes that were dripping with ripe berries.
We started to overheat in our rain gear pretty early on. We stopped several times as we took off one piece of clothing at a time. Then, if we took a snack break, we would cool down, add the layers back on and then the process would start again.
The views were really nice as we climbed up to Pitamakan Pass. The clouds were hanging on the tops of the ridge and as we got close to the pass, we entered the clouds (or as Beardoh said, we got uploaded to the cloud 😂).
The pass was really nice, as we had lakes on either side of the pass. We could look to our left and see several lakes below, then turn our heads to the right and see two other lakes below. A really cool spot. In fact, it was quite cold with the moisture and the wind. We were really thankful, though, that the weather was not nearly as bad as we had expected.
We quickly descended from the pass down to Pitamakan Lake, as we went in search of trees to get some protection from the wind. We decided to stop by the lake for a late lunch. As we were sitting at lunch, we had a pretty cool bear encounter.
All of a sudden, there was a grizzly cub and it’s mama running down the trail towards us. They must not have heard us talking or seen us, since they were running. Mace was facing their direction on the trail and saw them running towards us. He made some noise and we all grabbed our bear spray as we stood up. As soon as the bears realized we were there (when they were just 20 feet from us), they made a split second move to turn around and run back up the trail away from us. We were all a bit shocked that they had almost just run in front of us as we sat eating lunch. It seemed crazy how close they got before they noticed us.
We only had another mile and a half to our designated campsite for the night. We made it to camp around 3:30pm as the sky was clearing up. It is quite cold and breezy here as the sun goes down. We will surely have multiple layers on in our sleeping bags tonight.