Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Well, tell us how your trip went. We all want to hear about your special experience.

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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby teapot57 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:10 pm

Cooling my feet in the lake... My fly was NOT open in this picture, regardless of what Tina says!!
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But Matt . . . your fly WAS open! Your tent fly, that is!

It was really windy that afternoon, and I had gone back to my tent before heading to the beach with everyone. I had left my tent fly open, and found a layer of fine dust covering my quilt. Matt’s tent was in the same campsite as mine, so when I walked over to the beach and saw him in the water, I thought maybe his tent contents would be covered with dust as well. I shouted to him while he was out in the water, “Hey Matt, is your fly open?” which prompted roaring laughter from everyone on the beach.

And I just have to say . . . That photo of me sitting in the food prep area . . . I realize that I look like I should be waiting tables rather than sitting in the backcountry, but there is a reason for that. Us gals had a “spa day” at the lake. Laura warmed water for us in ziplock bags, and we rinsed our hair and had a dip in the lake. I was feeling so clean that I threw on my cleanest shirt, which was that white shirt which is designed for sun protection. It came home a dingy brown.

As for spending our rest day on the beach— that was never my plan! I thought we were going up to the Sue Lake Bench! But Margaret Lake was the best decision ever and the perfect compromise. I will never forget that day.

I am out of town but will try to post some Margaret Lake photos when I get home.
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby tibber » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:46 am

what a beautiful area there; especially your hiking to and at Lakes Moko and Margaret.

the tent fly story is a good one for sure; nice that it was clarified, ha!
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby teapot57 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:38 am

This photo was taken from an overlook just before the Mokowanis Lake backcountry campground. We will be climbing up to Margaret Lake by following a route to the left of the waterfall.

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Heff pointing out the route to everyone.

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Joybird and Heff on our way up.

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Lounging on the promontory that juts out into Margaret Lake. It was a beautiful day, but quite cool and windy at the lake.

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My iPhone photos just don’t do this place justice. This is the prettiest lake I’ve ever seen. And the getting there makes it all the more special.

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Is this place even real?

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Heff and Miss Guinness

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Glenns Lake from the trail heading back to camp.

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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby mattB » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:02 pm

Margaret Lake was definitely a highlight!! And you;re right, the camera photos just don't capture the blue of the lake well enough!! The blue of the lake was amazing, reminded me of something I would expect to see in the south pacific or the Caribbean or maybe some greek islands!!
But my favorite part of Margaret Lake was Maia taunting the Texans who couldn't figure out how we got out on to the peninsula! :-)
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby mattB » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:00 pm

Day #4 August 4th Now it starts to get serious!

After two nice days at Glenns Lake we got a relatively early start for our climb to Stoney Indian Pass. Breakfast, packed up, said our good byes to Al who was heading back to Chief Mtn, and we hit the trail.

I'm not sure where GNP gets its numbers for trail mileage and elevations, but our permit said 6.1 miles, 2448 ft el. gain, and 1000ft el loss.. But Google maps says 6.0 miles, 2011ft up, and 571 ft down...

It was a slow steady climb, nothing too steep, the elvation gain was pretty evenly spread over the first 5 miles or so, it was a tiring day. But the higher and higher we climbed up out of the Belly river valley the views opened up more and more, and there were lots of water falls along the way.. We had great weather for our entire trip, but a few clouds had rolled in today, which was actually kind of nice, since it made the hiking a little cooler than the heat we'd experienced on Day #1.

The Stragglers got up to Stoney Indian Pass and took a nice late lunch break, and looked down at the lake and the campground and watched Tim, Laura, and Joyce, finish the hike and start setting up their tents!

Stoney Indian Camp is "interesting". Some thought it was their favorite camp, some not so much.. It was a little dusty, and things are quite spread out, its a hike from the camp sites to the food prep area, including a bit of a scrambled down some small cliffs, and then a hike up to the food prep area.. The pit toilet has an amazing view, but its also a hike.. We encountered the most noisy annoying deer of the entire trip!! I'm pretty sure she would have gotten in my tent if I'd left my fly open.

Paul arrived just as we were finishing dinner, so that was fun meeting up with him and hearing his report of his trip so far! Paul and Jen did the car-key swap, and Joyce did some first aid on Paul's blistered feet!

Beautiful day for a hike
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Someone might know the names of these mountains, but I don't...
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Jen and Maia
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Looking back towards Glenns Lake, and Cosley Lake in the far distance. From the trail above Atsina Lake
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We thought about laying down for a bit on this!!
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Looking back as we neared Stoney Indian Pass.
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Tim and Laura some some wildlife at the pass.
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Lunch break at Stoney Indian Pass.. The larger white spot at the far end of the lake is the food prep area, and the smaller light spot to the left of that is where some of the campsites are located.. We think we spotted Joyce on the trail just where the end of the lake gets narrow on the right side!
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Paul and Maia at dinner
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The bothersome deer. She looks nice and friendly, until she steals your hiking poles and slobbers on them, but Paul managed to get them back, wet but undamaged!
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby tibber » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:46 pm

still enjoying reports and pictures. Some beautiful country for sure and great stories to go with!
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby paul » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:23 am

Matt, I think you left out the evening's live entertainment. "Thunderbolts of lightning, very very frightening..."
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby teapot57 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:36 pm

Matt, I think you left out the evening's live entertainment. "Thunderbolts of lightning, very very frightening..."


GALILEO! Galileo!
Galileo Figaro! magnifico!

Bohemian Rhapsody was the theme song of the trip. Our first rendition was belted out by the Stragglers as we crossed the meadows on our way to Cosley Lake. And then again whenever we felt like we needed to make a little extra noise while hiking. While camped at Stoney Indian, Jen and her girls and I were camped in the spot that requires a Class II scramble to reach (a bit of an exaggeration, but I did have to use my hands to climb up there). One of the nice things about having the whole campground to ourselves was that we didn’t have to worry about disturbing others. After everyone retired to their tents, we serenaded the group from up on our rocky perch with not only Bohemian Rhapsody, but also Sweet Caroline.

Having a couple of teenagers along really kept things lively, and we had a lot of fun in the evenings. And it was really great to have Paul with us this night. We enjoyed hearing what was to come, as he came from the opposite direction and was closer to done with the Northern Traverse than we were at this point. We still had some high mileage days ahead of us.

Climbing up Stoney Indian Pass was a beautiful hike! If you haven’t done it yet, you need to.

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More of that beautiful moss.

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Sue Lake Bench will wait for another trip.

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Lunch break at the top of the Pass. The adults had a celebratory few sips of rum.

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Me almost falling into the cairn. It had nothing to do with the rum and everything to do with trying to pose on one foot leaning toward the cairn and my backpack throwing me off balance!

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Stoney Indian Lake from the campground looking towards the Pass, where we had our lunch.

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We will let Paul explain this one in his own trip report. :( He can also tell you about the wonderful night’s sleep he had at Stoney Indian campground.

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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby mattB » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:22 pm

August 5th Day #5 The Dash for the Cache! Stoney Indian Camp to Waterton River, the permit says 8.0 miles and 0 elevation gain and 2125ft elev. loss..

Breakfast and then packed up and headed out. Paul off to Mokowanis Lake, and the rest of us headed for Waterton River, and our cache stash!. Not as scenic of a days as we'd had so far, but it was all down hill, so all in all a very pleasant day, especially with the thoughts of toilets with running water, and the dreams of the goodies awaiting us in the cache! Some young girls were particularly excited about cans of Coke awaiting them! So some people were in more of a hurry to get to Waterton River than others!

Although the hike wasn't totally without incident! Just before the Goat Haunt Ranger Station some of the Stragglers had a confrontation with a very protective mother grouse! Luckily there were no injuries to girls or grouse, and bear spray was not deployed! [** There is a video of the Grouse Incident, but I can't figure out how to post it here? **]

We all made it to Goat Haunt safe and sound! Enjoyed a wash-up in the Goat Haunt restrooms,retrieved our goodies from the cache, repacked, and dumped our garbage! We relaxed a bit in the shelter and watched a boat come in, and then headed over to Waterton River Camp via the stream fording short-cut..

We setup our tents, and then had a little wine and cheese Happy Hour courtesy of Tina's cache!.. A nice dinner, and then early to bed, since we were going to try for an early start the next morning for the first of our three 10 mile days.. Some thunder storm-ish looking clouds were rolling in during dinner, and we heard a bit of thunder. And then shortly after everyone had settled into their tents I started hearing raindrops on my tent. It wasn't a downpour, but it was more than just a passing drizzle... I fell asleep wondering what the morning was going to be like.

Joyce did some more first aid on Paul's poor feet before we headed off..
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Last look back as we leave Stoney Indian
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A couple photos of Waterton Lake
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Tim and Maia in the Goat Haunt Shelter
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Fording the Waterton River on the shortcut to Waterton River Camp
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A little later afternoon sun from Waterton River Camp
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby TnTammy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:54 am

MattB and Teapot,
Really enjoying your trip report and pictures! Great to see the Chatters tackling the Northern Traverse!!

Your day at Margaret looked MARVELOUS and I envy that you braved the cold waters to have such a spectacular vantage from the peninsula. :arrow:

The side details of Captn Morgan, flies untied, spa day, salt seeking deer, aggressive grouse, and damaged feet are gripping! :mrgreen:

Can't wait for the upcoming Chapters. Thanks for posting!
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby teapot57 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:17 pm

Thanks, Tammy!

The best part about this day was that, with the exception of Joybird (who was helping Paul but quickly caught up), we all started our hike out from Stoney Indian together. We broke into groups when we got to the Waterton Valley, but we weren’t far apart and leapfrogged each other along the way. It was an easy hike and a great feeling to reach Goat Haunt and a bit of civilization for awhile. We were even able to pick up cell service, so I was able to phone home and make sure all was ok, which was important to me because my husband had minor surgery while I was on the trail.

Jen had wine in her cache and I had cheese spread and crackers, so we enjoyed a wine and cheese happy hour after our early arrival to Waterton River camp. It doesn’t get much praise, but I liked the Waterton River campground. Despite there being five campsites, we had the place to ourselves for the night.

Once we left the Stoney Indian campground, there wasn’t much in terms of scenery between there and Waterton Lake, but sometimes you have to deal with high vegetation and tree jail in order to get you to the sweet spots.
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby mattB » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:24 pm

Day #6 August 6th Waterton River to Hole In The Wall
Permit says 10.2 miles, 1686 ft up, 260 ft down...
Google Maps says 9.8 miles 2569 ft up and 502 ft down

Luckily the rain the previous night must have only last about 30 minutes! We woke up to everything mostly dry and we were able to get camp packed up and get a early start to the first of our 10 mile days! Nothing too terribly steep but just a long steady climb. Mostly in the timber so the views were limited a bit, with just some glimpses of the mountains and Lake Janet and Lake Francis as we passed by.. After passing Hawksbill camp, we broke out into the open and the views got better and better!

The Stragglers had a very nice lunch break at Thunderbird pond before the last climb up to Brown Pass. I was all prepared for everything to be downhill after Brown Pass, but the mountains fooled me!! After Brown Pass the trail to Hole-In-The-Wall continues climbing along the slope below Chapman Peak, but the views kept getting more and more amazing so that kept my mind off my tired legs, mostly... We had great views of Thunderbird Mountain, and some nice views down the valley to Bowman Lake. And then we rounded the corner and had awesome views of Boulder Peak and the western ridge of Mt Custer, and the bowl where Hole In The Wall camp is located!! We finally got a nice long downhill stretch down to Hole In The Wall camp, and the fast hikers even came out and met us as we got close with some water!

We got settled and setup camp, had another fun dinner, some celabratory sips of Capt Morgans! It was a beautiful evening, with the mountains surrounding us lit up in pinks and oranges as the sun went down. There were four other campers at Hole In The Wall, so it was fun exchanging trip stories with them at dinner. This was one of the few times we had other campers; there were two at Cosley, and one group was arriving at Glenns Lake just as we were leaving, but no other campers so far..

Lake Janet
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This was not long after passing Hawksbill Camp, the trail was pretty brushy in lots of places.
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Thunderbird Pond
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and from the pond looking back the way we'd come.
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View from the trail above Brown Pass Camp
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Bowman Lake
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Almost around the corner
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Thunderbird Mountain from our camp in Hole In The Wall
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and later as the sun was setting!
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Last edited by mattB on Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby tibber » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:35 am

yep that would be a long day. We had to hike from Janet to Boulder and that last hill going up to Boulder was pretty tough it seemed so I can relate somewhat to that longer hike up to Hole.

Your pictures are great. So glad you didn't have any smoke to contend with. I see you got pictures of some beargrass that apparently missed last year's party. The pics of Thunderbird were very nice, especially at sunset. That has to be one of the prettiest mountains in Glacier to shoot at sunset.

I like it too when you get to commiserate with other backpackers at the campsite. My friend Wendy thinks that's a real special part of backpacking in Glacier and I agree. We had a real nice family that we camped with at Atlantic Creek... but then again, she did have fresh salsa with her and I just happened to be eating re-fried beans in a tortilla :lol: .
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby mattB » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:27 pm

We played a word game on the trail to keep our spirits up.
One person would say a word, and the next person said the first thing that popped into their head.
You know, Like "roses", "red", "blue", "sky".
We had a lot of Glacier themed words...

But I think it was on this slog up towards Brown Pass, where the words, came around to:
"Scary", "movie",
And then devolved into
"horror", "Doom", "Gloom", "Satan", "Die, Die, Die"...

We quit playing the game for a while after that....
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Re: Glacier Northern Traverse Group trip Aug 1-9

Postby paul » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:29 pm

Matt, did you stop at Lake Francis for awhile? That would have been a nice lunch spot. I never get tired of seeing pictures of the view from HOL camp.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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