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Home » Adventures » Glacier » Day 3

Sunday, August 21 — Easy Traveling

Map of this day’s hike

Route I Hiked This Day

I leisurely crawled from my sleeping bag as I only had a short trip to Upper Two Medicine Lake Campground. I took my time tearing down camp and eating breakfast but still managed to leave before 9:00. The morning descent backtracking down part of the trail was much more pleasant than the climb. Despite my relaxed start I was still the early bird on the trail, constantly breaking through new spider webs dutifully created overnight.

Twin Falls

One of the Twins

Not too much occurred on the trail until I took a detour along a short spur to Twin Falls. The twins were nice enough for gazing (although not in the sorority sisters sort of way), but provided an even better platform on which to climb (again, not in coed manner). The water had carved the rocks into steps, each about two or three feet tall, which practically begged me to clamber up them. Hating to refuse nature’s beckoning, I dropped my pack and headed up the face. The natural stairs were easy to scale, and I made it to the top without even getting wet. There was no reward, other than being able to look down the waterfall, so I returned to the bottom having enjoyed the scramble.

After my diversion I continued up through a valley in which a violent windstorm had transpired five to ten years prior. Many trees had been violently uprooted and strewn about. New growth was starting to take hold, but nature’s patient work would have to continue for sometime before everything returned. It is easy to forget how harsh the wilderness can be sometimes. I hoped that I could avoid similar weather.

For me, Mother Nature instead decided to be very cooperative. The bright blue sky and accommodating mid-August climate made travel in shorts and a T-shirt comfortable. No dehydrating sunburn or arctic winds visited Glacier during my outing. It was ideal hiking weather. I also did not cross paths with any biting insects, even without repellent guarding me. The lack of bugs was a pleasant surprise as I passed through dense plant life, with many lakes and streams interleaved throughout. Mosquitoes and other pests tend to ambush unsuspecting people from these environments, which can quickly make things miserable. Their attack never occurred though, and our precarious peace persisted.

Upper Two Medicine

Despite my relaxed start and pace, I arrived at Upper Two Medicine around 11:00 a.m. Many desolate and slowly rotting trees littered the shallow water, defeated by the same storm that devastated the valley. Mountains enclosed this lake also, although they were not quite as sheer as those around No Name Lake. In fact, some of these rock walls were actually the same ones which boarded No Name Lake. I settled only about half a mile as the crow flies from where I left that morning. Although, a thousand foot rock wall stood in the way, around which the trail skirted.

Upper Two Medicine Lake with a view of the Continental Divide in the background

Upper Two Medicine Lake and the Continental Divide

During the afternoon a ranger led group of around twenty people surprised me as they entered the campground. It was too long for a round trip day hike from Two Medicine (the nearest trailhead) for that party. To accommodate a family oriented hike they had to cheat by taking the boat across Two Medicine Lake. They still had to hike a couple miles from the dock through. The ranger recalled some of Glacier’s interesting stories and history, as well as complaining about funding, as his group consumed their lakeside lunch. The crowd left shortly after they finished eating to ensure catching the return fairy, and I was left by myself on the beach. I was a little bored that afternoon, having hiked relatively little the previous two days. When I partake on a crazy adventure solo I expect most of my day to be consumed by hiking, so these long afternoons were a lot more leisure than expected. The extra down time did allow me to soak in Glacier’s great beauty, but there was only so long I could do that in one spot by myself. I did explore about a quarter of Upper Two Medicine’s shoreline, but again did not find anything too exciting.

Later in the day an expedition of four people from Indianapolis arrived, and we shared some war and success stores from previous excursions. It always seems there are more war stories though. The evening was much warmer than the previous night. I only wore my long underwear and did not even have to mummy inside my sleeping bag until after sunset. The warm night was welcome as sleeping in the cold is miserable and drains much of your energy.