Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 45: Marias Pass to Two Medicine, Glacier National Park

Huckleberries. Sweet, juicy huckleberries. Heavily laden bushes of plump, flavorful huckleberries lined the trail. Grazing while we hiked slowed our pace, but the berries practically melted in our mouths, tempting us to stop for more. 

We passed by East Glacier quickly, trying not to think of the milkshakes and ice cream available at Brownies Cafe, less than a mile away. Not far out of town, we startled a young black bear who was busy foraging for berries. 

The trail passed through the Blackfeet Reservation and into Glacier National Park. Aspen leaves rustled in the wind as we hiked beneath them, but the trees provided scant protection from the afternoon squalls that periodically dumped buckets of rain. Even the large flock of Canadian geese we spotted near a swampy pond seemed to be hunkered down to avoid the strong winds and rain. 

We climbed through the storm into dry but stormy skies. A pika chirped a loud warning cry as we passed. High on a ridge we got our first glimpse of the rugged, rocky mountains of Glacier National Park. Simply breathtaking. 

A pair of brave crows hovered near the ground, then lifted off, soaring backward on powerful gusts of wind. Another strong gust of wind ripped the hat and sunglasses off my head. I scrambled after my glasses as they tumbled across the rocky ridge, but by the time I retrieved them they had already become another gear casualty of the CDT, with deep gouges in the lenses. 

We saw only one other person for most of the day, a runner between Marias Pass and East Glacier, but as we approached Two Medicine we met two large family groups out hiking.  Two Medicine is a developed area of the park, with a campground, ranger station, store, boat dock (on the lake), and more.  After a summer of solitude, we will likely be surrounded by people for the remainder of our hike. 

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