Total Miles: 2483.2
It feels like a long time since we’ve had a hiking day like this, absent a place to be and a schedule to keep. In truth, we did have somewhere to be but with only 11 miles of sweet, sweet National Park trail between there and here, it felt about as leisurely as things ever get out here.
Oh, and there was just a little bit of scenery to entertain us along the way...
We’d taken our time leaving the village of East Glacier this morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich (or two—I can’t say no) before hitting the trail at an extraordinarily civilized 8:30am. Abutting the park boundary, the Blackfeet Reservation in which East Glacier sits has a front row seat to the spectacle that is these northern Rockies.
As if making it plain that we weren’t the only ones here to enjoy the scenery, our first steps on trail were over a giant pile of fresh grizzly bear scat, chock full of huckleberries. It wouldn’t be the only local denizen we’d run into. Miles later as we climbed high above tree line, a bighorn sheep seemed to pause and admire the view of his home range before continuing to saunter down the ridge.
Twenty minutes further, a lone marmot scurried up the trail and paused on a rock shelf for its closeup. Closer to us than it should have been comfortable with, it was clear that we weren’t the first two-legged creatures this little guy had seen. It paused long enough for a photograph, as if it knew this was simply part of the drill when a human came strolling past.
Cresting over the high point at a bit over 7,000 feet, we could see our destination for the day come into view. Nestled into a crown of jagged peaks was Two Medicine Lake with diminutive pockets of snow hanging to the cool rock of slopes high above the lake.
Long before we found ourselves back amid the forest of lodgepole pine and subalpine fir, we passed through a graveyard of tree skeletons, their twisted remains reaching skyward like macabre arms conjuring spells toward the clouds above.
Past the throngs of day hikers out enjoying another beautiful day, past the ranger station, and through the lakeside campground we arrived at campsite 60 and waited for the owners of the hammocks and tents pitched there to reappear. Beardoh, Sweet Pea, and their friend Mace, finally bounced their way into view and the reunion we’d been looking forward to all summer was finally here.
While we’d been finishing Ace’s 46ers and thru-hiking the Long Trail, they had returned to Montana to finish the miles of the CDT that they’d missed last year, all with the goal of putting us on a collision course to reunite for the final stretch through Glacier National Park. Months of planning, preparation, hiking, and travel, had all brought it to fruition. All we have to do now is stroll our way north to Canada. Together. This is gonna be fun.