Daily Miles: 19
2021 CDT Total Miles: 551
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2624
Luckily we had no visits from the grizzly bear last night. None of us seemed to sleep well though, as we were basically surrounded by a parking lot and there were cars coming and going during the night. It was also very windy and the noise from the wind made it hard to sleep. We were all a bit groggy when we got up, but we figured we would wake up as we started walking.
The trail all day today was stellar. We started out walking about four miles along a string of small lakes. Beardoh and MountainMan saw a bull moose just laying down a bit off trail. We are always amazed that they can wander through the woods when we see the size of their racks.
We eventually started our climb up to the Swiftcurrent Pass. The trail had a very reasonable grade and was so well built in very steep sections. It was really chilly this morning and the strong wind added to the cold. We kept going back and forth between having an extra layer on for the wind, but then getting too warm as we climbed up to the pass.
The views on the way up to the pass were spectacular as usual. We are constantly remarking on how beautiful everything is. Glacier NP has really exceeded our expectations and continues to amaze us with the epic views.
As we got close to the pass, we could see a mountain goat up on the cliffs. Beardoh and Ace also saw a coyote heading away from the trail. We started to see more day hikers and folks who were out for a short backpacking trip. The area around the pass seemed to be quite busy with people, even though it wasn’t right next to a road.
About a mile from the pass, there was the Granite Park Chalet. We took a quick detour to see the chalet up close, and hoped to be able to get a hot drink since we were so chilled. While there were no hot drinks to be had, the chalet looked like a really cool spot. The buildings were made of stone and were sitting in an ideal spot for great views.
After the chalet, the trail had us walking along the edge of a ridge. The trail was so linear, we could look ahead at the next spine coming off the ridge and see the trail we would be walking in a few miles. It is always pretty cool to see the trail laid out before us. The trail work in some sections was pretty phenomenal, as they built trail into a rock wall with steep drop offs on one side.
We had a final climb to a second, unnamed pass. The climb was nice and we got more great views of the valley with the fall colors really starting to pop. We then descended to our designated campsite, Fifty Mountain. We arrived at 5pm and were the first campers at the site, so we were able to find good sites for all of us. There were two more parties that showed up after we had settled in.
While it has been nice having lighter mileage days for the past four days, it felt good to be back at a more average mileage day. This way, we feel more justified in eating the large quality of calories we enjoy on the trail.
We can already tell that it is going to be a cold night tonight. The extra layers of clothes are going on right from the start.