STORY MAP TRANSCRIPT:

Chasing Adventure  

Aaaaand a quick recap: A week off between jobs, flew to Salt Lake, transferred, flew to Missoula, got a free rental upgrade to Subaru Forester, drove to Glacier, pulled over just outside the gates to Two Medicine, and laid back to enjoy the night sky through the extra large moon roof before falling asleep. As concise as that was you might be asking why I had to have a whole story map to cover all that, BUT for those of you who aren't....check out part 1 HERE!

For those of you ready to move on, let's get this adventure started! First you better watch this video to your right. You need to watch these videos before you can OFFICIALLY get your permit. Here's part 2.

...

Okay, great! You watched the whole thing right? Of course you did!

Hittin' the Trail

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Alrighty, now that we have our permits we can grab our pack and hit the trail! Given the itinerary has two consecutive days covering nearly 40 miles I decided it was time to get familiar with what a 20 ish mile day is like in Montana. I had previously done days of 22 and 24 miles in Olympic National Park, however, those were part day pack and part full pack days. On this trip, days 3-6 will require all my gear to accompany me the entire way. Anyway, the point is, I skipped the boat ride (discussed in part I).

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The Giant, Brown, Furry Beast

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Within the first 15 minutes the trail opens up to Glaciers amazing peaks to the southwest, the backwaters to Two Medicine lake to the north, and less than 100 yards in front of me is a giant, brown, furry beast. A grizzly already? Maybe I really should go get some of that bear spray. In fact, anyone who goes to Glacier should lay down the $40-$60, even when flying. You can always ship it home before you get on your return flight. I mean, you can ship your arm back too if you're really on a budget. Anywho, no worries. It was actually a female moose chomping away at the vegetation along the shoreline to some backwaters to Two Medecine. This isn't my first encounter with a moose. A little over a year ago I almost kissed one in the Grand Tetons!

Alcohol? A dare? A blind turn in the middle of the woods and a hiker temporarly getting lost in his thoughts at the wrong time? Whichever story works better for you, go with that one! They all lead to one conclusion. I gotta work on those dang first impressions with the ladies ;)

Seriously though, those things will smash your head in if they don't want you there and there's no quicker way to realize that than to stand next to one. 100 yards was good enough for me. She worked her way into the backwaters and began chomping away at the lush vegetation below the water surface.

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Moose!

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The awesome photo to the right was taken by Aditi Raval the very same week that I was there. The reason it's not a photo of my own is 1) this one is better and 2) the guy who has dual backups of everything apparently doesn't and now has to mark them as MIA. No worries, for the next parts we have a Hero. Actually we have 2. The GoPro Hero 2 and the Hero 3. And of course we have Flickr friends as back up. Everyone be sure to check out Aditi's Flickr page. She has some awesome wildlife photos! Thanks Aditi!

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Trail Footage

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short video of the southern route along Two Medicine

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Junction 1

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3.3 miles and about 1 hour and 45 minutes later (counting the moose stop) my route merged with the boat route. Based on this, the boat takes a little more than an hour off the south route.

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Waterfall Detour!

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Not far up the trail from the boat landing is an optional 0.3 mile (0.6 RT) detour to Twin Falls. Again, this is another section I'm missing photographs from, but please check out some of the work from Heidi H!
 

 

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Lunch Break: No Name Lake

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6.5 miles in is the first available campsite for those looking to make this a multiday trip. I hiked the additionaly 0.3 miles to check out No Name Lake and have a nice lunch before the big climb to Dawson Pass.

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Attack of the Squirrels!

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The video footage of the squirrels isn't that great, but it'll give you a decent look at the No Name Lake area. The squirrels were not shy and were willing to get within a few feet of me when the GoPro wasn't on.

 

Update: I just found some video footage of the squirrels from the T3i. I'll add in the new stuff the next chance I get :)

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Real elevation change

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From No Name the elevation change starts to pick up and you can start seeing the ground you've covered. It's always more pleasant to see how far you've come than it is to see how far you have left to go (well at the end of the day anyway). In the pic to the right you can see Two Medicine Lake. I started this hike on the opposite end of that lake and I'm still walking away :)

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Leaving the Forest Behind

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Video of me hiking through prairie with the last of the trees behind me. I like this place better. Less likely to kiss a moose or a grizzly here.

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Dawson pass

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For hours I had a view of one valley, but once you reach Dawson Pass, the wind picks up, and one ginormous panoramic blows you away.

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The Ridge

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More awesome photos from the top! (Cycle through photos to the right)

Dawson Pass is hidden in one of the less popular parts of the park. Those who pass this up are missing the best that Glacier has to offer!

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The Final Stretch

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Show the view out to lower Two Medecine Lake.

From here you can see Lower Two Medicine Lake...I still have a ways to go.

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What the?

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Puple/Maroon & Teal Rocks! Likely a case of oxidation and reducing, but I've never seen it quite like this before.

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Back into Bear Country

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After enjoying the 3 miles at the top, it was time to decend down the valley to the north of Two Medicine Lake, and complete the loop. Yes, if the maps to the right weren't obvious enough, we are walking around an entire mountain.

Those that are looking for 1st or 2nd nights camp can head down to Old Man Lake for the night. This one has more of a backcountry feel to it because it's a little more difficult to get to (even if you do the reverse route).

 

My personal recommendation is to make this your target for your first night. It makes for a solid 13 mile day. If you need to shave some of that off, take the boat and knock it down to around 10 miles. This should afford you plenty of time to enjoy the section between Dawson and Pitamakin and not have to push through the final 8 miles. It also gives you some additional time to explore.

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Darkness Settles

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All of a sudden I'm climbing again. I didn't account for this in my time estimation. I don't mind going up hills, but this is only going to tack on more time. Rounding the mountain you can't see the campground. You just keep pushing. Eventually the smell of campfires fill the air. Once this happens, elevation is back on your side (a gradual down slope). The sun has set, and the last rays of light in the sky are dimming. Just as the darkness calls for your headlamp the campground emerges from the forest. Another mile of black top and I'm back to home sweat Forester.

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First day is in the Books

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21 miles in approximately 13 hours (including breaks). After returning to the car, I rinsed off in the bathroom, and then ate dinner with the lights out to enjoy the night sky. I finished the night by returning to the pull over just outside the gates to Two Medicine. I couldn't have asked for a better way to kickoff my 5 days in Glacier National Park.