After 12 days of Montana wilderness in Glacier National Park, we (being my friend Joe and I) emerged from the backcountry. From hiking up through mountain passes to what seemed like an endless supply of lakes nestled between the mountain ridges we enjoyed a number of miles off the main roads for an experience unlike any other. Might I also mention that it is through these same mountains that Lewis and Clark also made part of their majestic journey westward!

We divided our expedition into 3 backcountry trails in the park: Kintla Lake Trail (NW section), Gunsight Pass Trail (Center section) and Dawson Pass Loop Trail (SE Section). We also went on two day-hikes: Grinnell Glacier Trail and Avalanche Lake Trail. Altogether, we hiked around 76 miles! Here is a picturesque display of our travels…

These pictures are from the first leg of the trek. We spent our first night camping next to the North Fork Flathead River and IT WAS COLD! After waking up from probably the coldest night of our entire trip, we began the 11.6 Kintla Lake Trail. Before setting off on this trail we visited next to the lake to watch the fog slowly rise to the heavens. A great start to the day. The next shot to me actually looks more like a painting. October was perfect timing for the foliage change in Montana and we witnessed a lovely display of God’s handiwork. The fourth picture is of our fantastic water filter brought with us as a side-thought and proved to be one of the most useful items of our trip. Thanks sis and bro-in-law!

The next part of our journey took us around the bottom of the park to the far North-West side called the Many Glacier area on a day-hike to Grinnell Glacier. A 6 mile hike past three lakes and along several ridges teeming with wildlife (shown above) turned into an incredible hike. It started out at 7:30am in the morning when we were visiting the local lake to filter some water. As we approached the boat ramp we happened upon two large bull moose. WOW! Minutes later, someone pointed out to us a mother grizzly and her two cubs on the hillside. Along the hike to Grinnell Glacier, we encountered a few more moose, several close encounter with a few mountain goats and even another grizzly mother and cub just ahead of us on the trail. Then we arrived at the glacier and were amazed at the fact that we were having our lunch next to a GLACIER! It was a great hike with much more wildlife than we expected.

After an incredible adventure at the Many Glacier area we hopped down to the middle of the park and hiked into our next backcountry area: Gunsight Pass Trail! Here we hiked in about 6 miles to a lake set between two mountains. We had to cross two creeks and pass a few moose to get there but hiking up to the pass was worth it! As you can see we hiked through a little bit of snow but we had beautiful views atop the pass. While up there, randomly I found an iron golf club up there so before the hike down I thought I’d practice my swing! On the hike out of Gunsight Pass Trail, we located bear and mountain lion tracks on the trail but fortunately they were nowhere in sight.

After hiking through the Gunsight Pass Trail we traveled South to the Two Medicine area and began the Dawson Pass Loop Trail. The 5-mile hike was beautiful but when we reached our destination we discovered something quite odd. No Name Lake was located just next a high castle-looking ridge and because off this vast ridge, sunlight never reaches No Name Lake or the nearby area. This led to cold days AND nights and since we had an entire afternoon free there, we had to keep ourselves occupied. No Name Lake, never seeing sunlight as Winter quickly approaches, was frozen over several inches thick! Of course I tested it out and stood on it. Then we took large rocks and hurled them onto the lake trying to break the ice. After finally making a few holes, we started playing “Ice Bocce Ball” trying to sink smaller rocks in the holes we created. Finally, we passed the time before dinner and bed (it’s amazing how quickly “bedtime” arrives when it’s dark and cold outside…) The next day we hiked up to Dawson Pass (over 8000 feet elevation) and enjoyed spectacular views there such as this:



Afterwards we began the hike down to our cold, sunless campsite before ultimately hiking out of our final backcountry trail. We were incredibly blessed with unbelievably great weather while in the backcountry and survived without any early snowstorms hindering our travels. Upon finishing in the Two Medicine Area we returned to the West side of the part of hike the Avalanche Lake Trail and rest for a day or so after some rigorous hiking. The beginning part of Avalanche Lake Trail takes us past Avalanche Creek which appeared to be a mini Grand Canyon with a  beautiful blue water shooting through it. It was gorgeous and fun to crawl around.

And of course, you can’t see water that beautiful and cold… and not take a dip! After lounging around there for a while, we returned to a campground for our final night in the park. Then we went to Whitefish, MT to spend our final night in a hotel to get a shower, some freshly cooked food and enjoy a nice comfy bed to celebrate the past week and a half sleeping on the floor of the forest. All in all, it was a great trip with memories and adventures I’ll hang on to for the rest of my life. I feel close to God when I’m in nature and spending over a week in the Montana mountains was certainly a spiritual experience for me.

To close, I’ll add a few humorous photos because what’s a trip without some humor…

L

Mpaka wakati halafu…

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