TWO MEDICINES LAKE – GLACIER NP
CDT Day 72: Mile 2915.0 – 2926.0
(11 miles – 17.6 km)
Thursday June 27, 2019
“This too shall pass”
I thought the Bob Marshall Wilderness really tested my resolve to stay on this trail but today it was taken up another notch. I had honed my trail mantra “this too shall pass” over the past week or so. I couldn’t believe that we were being tested again so soon.
We left East Glacier Park about 8am. We only had a short hike to get to the Two Medicines Ranger Station to get our backcountry camping permit for Glacier National Park. Rain was predicted with afternoon thunderstorms. I suggested to Hammer that we stay in East Glacier Park another day to wait for the wet weather to pass. But Hammer was keen to get this last leg of our hike underway. We were not even out of town before we had to get our wet weather gear on. Last nights rain left the vegetation soaked. Within half a hour our feet were wet.
Mosquitoes were about it had started to rain but it wasn’t all that cold, until we started to rise in elevation. Mosquitoes disappeared and the wind and the rain picked up. We had to climb 2,500 feet in elevation. Up and up we climbed, the wind became colder and more fierce. I knew it wasn’t the place to be when I saw big horn sheep heading off the mountain to lower slopes.
Dark thoughts were gathering, the weather gods really did not like us. But we were committed, there was no going back. The higher we rose, the colder it got. The mist closed in around us and then it would lift revealing a mountainside with fine layers of shale rock. I was looking forward to reaching the top hoping the scouring wind would die down as we started the descent to Two Medicines. My hands were so cold I lost all dexterity, I couldn’t hold the camera to take a photo. Hammer couldn’t use his fingers to work a zipper.
The descent ended up being even colder then the rise. Combined with a nauseatingly steep, shale covered narrow trail I was looking forward to just getting off. My one consolation, which Hammer also pointed out, thank goodness there is no snow on the ground. It was not a happy couple of hours. But I am determined that this beast of a trail will not beat me.
As we dropped in elevation, the wind eased and it felt warmer as we approached the Two Medicines Village. We started to see day hikers and we knew we were close. Once we were in the village, the scouring cold we had experienced on the mountain top seemed a bit unreal, so ‘this too shall pass’ truly did. We were surrounded by people who were getting about their day enjoying a day visit to this incredibly beautiful location. We spent the next two and half hours with a ranger trying to work out a permit that would get us to the border by Monday. Truly appreciate the work he did to make it happen for us. Meanwhile my wet feet were frozen. Once we had the permit sorted, we had to stay at Two Medicines campground overnight and be back on trail tomorrow. I did not mind, from tomorrow the weather is predicted to be warm and sunny till Monday. We spent an hour in the general store and for some reason Hammer thought a huckleberry soft serve ice cream was a good idea. I was just so happy to be inside the store, with a fire burning, knowing that the worst of the weather was behind us for now.
How quickly, the mornings miserable cold seemed like history. To confound the predictions of thunderstorms in the afternoon, the sun came out. We could dry out our socks and shoes. It was just so lovely to be camped with other folks by a beautiful lake. Rain returned before it got dark and the campground got very quite very quickly.