Total Miles: 2628.3
Elevation: 5,443 ft
Today was amazing. Every hardship, struggle, and bad day was made worthwhile for the experience we had today. Piñata and I got up early so we could be at the backcountry permit office before they opened. Hiking in the backcountry of Glacier National Park requires a backcountry permit and the use of preplanned campsites. We were hoping to get a site located twenty six miles away. Unfortunately, that site was full. Our choice was to take a site fourteen miles away or a site thirty three miles away. We decided to take the closer site. I think we were are relieved by the way things worked out. We are being forced to hike lower mileage days than we have become accustomed to. I get my wish of slowing down and enjoying the park. It is s good thing that we booked an extra day into our travel plans since we will finish a day later than planned.
First light on the mountain
The backcountry ranger suggested an alternate way for us to get to our campsite. The alternate was a few miles longer and much steeper, but also had much better views. We decided to take the alternate. With us having a short day the extra miles did not matter. We also took full advantage of the low mile day by hanging around camp. We also went to the camp store for hot coffee and more food. We all complained about how heavy our packs were leaving town yesterday and then we bought more food last night(and we ate all of the extra food last night). Since our permits added a half day to our itinerary we were once again coming up short in the food department. The park just lifted the class II fire ban that was in place. We are now allowed to have campfires. We chipped in and bought hotdogs and ingredients to make s’mores in camp. I’m still not sure how we managed to find the room in our packs to pack everything out. We didn’t start hiking until almost noon. I’ve really enjoyed the slower pace of the last few days. The trail was starting to turn into a grind everyday.
Leftover wine for breakfast
Just before we left camp this morning we saw a group of Bighorn Sheep wander through the campground. It was kind of cool, but we were all looking forward to seeing them in the wild, not a car campground.
The alternate started out very flat and went through a nice forest. We passed by a lot of day hikers and weekend warriors. We were amazed by the size of the non-thruhikers backpacks. I got a good laugh because I remember how big my pack was the first time I came to the Park. Oh, how times have changed. The first part of the hike was like something out of Jurassic Park(minus the dinosaurs of course).
Jurassic Park vibe
We weren’t in a very big hurry today. Our only goal was to make it to camp by six o’clock. We wanted enough time to enjoy our campfire. We were slowed down almost immediately by the presence of berries. We hiked past one of the best thimbleberry patches I’ve ever seen. There were also lots of huckleberries, but I prefer the thimbleberries.
Even though the wind was out of control, the alternate was spectacular. I wasn’t even fazed by the narrow, exposed trail. I have definitely gotten better with such things. The wind was gusting over 60mph and I still didn’t mind. I was just thankful that the haze wasn’t too bad and we had views. My expectations in the view department were not very high. I was hiking with my head down at one point because the wind was so ferocious. When I looked up there was a family of big horned sheep coming right at me. I still can’t believe how close they got. It was magical.
Two kids joined them and they came within five feet of me
Old Man Lake and Young Man Lake
Semi narrow trail
Also Flinsch Peak
Z fighting the wind with hotdog buns strapped to his pack
Straws and Piñata looking like tiny dots on the trail
Z enjoying the top of Dawson’s Pass
Straws almost to the top
No filter... the views just kept getting better
Z hiking on a switchback below me
Straws on the ridge above me
Beautiful lake but way too cold to swim in
Last big view before dipping below tree line
This water eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean
Cooking hotdogs for dinner
There was a slight misunderstanding about our campsite. We were under the impression that we could have a campfire here. Once we arrived in camp there was no fire pit. We were disappointed, but we made due. We cooked the hotdogs in a pot with olive oil. Tomorrow we can definitely have fire so we will cook the other ten hotdogs and the s’mores then. The camp stove cooked hotdogs were a great appetizer. Everyone got to eat two, which leaves three apiece for tomorrow. After my two dogs were devoured I made a Breakfast Hash Mt. House meal. The SW breakfast hash is probably my favorite mountain house.
Food prep area of camp and Z sporting his painters suit that he wears to keep warm. We think he looks like Dexter
Food hanging area. Notice our giant food bags filled to the brim for 2.4 more days of hiking. The bag on the right is a regular backpacker. It is so tiny
My campsite for the night
“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that's very important for good health.”
- Dalai Lama