Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with pt 2

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

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McKee80
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Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with pt 2

Post by McKee80 »

Hi,

First off, I want to thank everyone on this board that asked and answered questions and gave advice. It really helped make my trip a memorable and awesome experience.
I started backpacking last year as a transition from playing hockey, which seems to be kicking my butt more as I get older. I asked a friend with a lot of experience what his favorite spots were. He mentioned the place he always wanted to get to but never did was Hole in the Wall in Glacier. That got me started researching. I came across a picture of Margaret Lake that mesmerized me and added that to the list. I planned an ambitious trip from Chief Mountain to Boulder Pass and back to Goat Haunt, so I could see both (COS-MOL-MOL-KOO-FRA-BOU-HOL-JAN). I managed to recruit one of my friends to come along.

A note about the pictures: I had big plans for long exposures, night sky pictures, and setting up the perfect shots. I carried my tripod everywhere. I got it set up two or three times. I had to keep my RX100 in a zip lock most of the time, due to weather or general wetness. I ended up taking 90% of my pictures with my phone. I was so immersed in the 360 degree, five senses experience, that photography surprisingly took a back seat. Half the time, I couldn’t even figure out a picture to take that would accurately portray the experience.
Anyway, here is the story of our trip!

September 6 – Getting our Money’s Worth on Passport Fees
We flew from Pittsburgh to Calgary. Picked up the rental car and headed south. We went straight to St Mary because we knew our itinerary needed adjustment with the fires. No point in leaving a car in Waterton if we couldn’t get there from Goat Haunt. The rangers were super cool and set us up. We ended up with two permits: COS-MOL-MOL and BOW-BOU-HOL-BOW. We considered going south from Stoney Indian instead of the North Fork, but Stoney Indian was booked solid and the tunnel was still closed anyway.

St Mary and Two Medicine campgrounds were full. Cut Bank was showing open, but the rangers said that might be because the host hadn’t reported back in a while. We had assumed we could get whiskey near the park on the east side. Not the case. Back to Canada we went. Grabbed some whiskey at duty free and came back to the US. Grabbed dinner at Two Sisters (excellent). Arrived at Cut Bank to find it full. We decided to try Belly River campground just over the border. Except that border closed at 6:00. We ended up looping around to Waterton, where we had a reservation as part of our original plan. This prompted a couple humorous discussions with the border control guys on both sides (didn’t we just see you an hour ago?).

Despite webcams being mostly clear the week prior, the whole east side and waterton was smoky, to the point you could smell it. Undaunted, we got set up in the dark and were psyched for the start of our trip the next morning.

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September 7 – Wonder if we’ll see any bears

We got some breakfast in Waterton, crossed the border (again), and headed out from Chief Mountain. We saw a lot of CDT people, since Goat Haunt was closed and this was the alternate route. Man, they travel light! They were all pretty fired up, being a couple miles from the border. We stopped near three mile camp for a break. The trail crew we had seen earlier looked like they were set up there. There were some waders hanging where we stopped. The wide shallow river reminded me of what I had always thought Montana was like.

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We also saw a ranger and got our permits checked within a couple hours of hiking. He was leading some pack horses out. It was pretty hazy still, we stopped by the ranger station to eat lunch and met another group. The first day out is always the worst for me, but things started to pick up at Gros Ventre Falls. A beautiful emerald green, freezing cold pool is at the bottom. I jumped in. After the shock wears off, things go one of two ways for me: I get used to it, or things start to go numb. This time it was the latter.

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Coming up on Cosley Lake, we saw some bear scat. A couple minutes of walking and making noise later, I came across two women on the trail. They were stopped and it looked like they were talking with their hands at each other. I kept motoring along saying “hey bear”. When I got to them, they were like “BEAR, we were trying to signal you”. I asked where and they pointed about 15 feet to my right just off the trail. I said “oh crap” and got out my bear spray. My buddy was coming up behind and I let him know. By this time, the bear was slowly meandering down the trail. Didn’t seem to have much interest in us at all. I didn’t even think to pull out the camera until he was on his way. This was the first the “bear ass” series. I guess it is good that pictures were my last thought.

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We made it to Cosley Lake. It was still a little hazy, but the lake was beautiful. Jumped in for a refreshing (freezing) swim and we took some time relaxing by the lake with a little whiskey.

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September 8 – Cosley Lake to Mokowanis Lake

We got up pretty early, as we were anxious to get set up at Mokowanis Lake. As we were getting ready to head out, it started raining pretty good. We were ready to go, so we hiked along the lakeshore until we couldn’t go anymore and bushwacked back to the trail. Shortly after, my buddy yelled bear and, again, I was about 20 feet from a bear. I am not good at spotting bears, even when I am looking for them. After getting the bear spray and the conversation, the bear went to walk along the lakeshore. We decided to hike fast to get ahead of him, so he wouldn’t surprise us again. We hiked to the next place we could see the lake and looked for him along the shore. He wasn’t there. But he was right next to us again. We are not faster than a wandering bear, apparently.

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By this time, the rain had stopped. And the haze was gone! I am curious as to why the trail by Glenns Lake doesn’t go near the water. Pretty much just a pleasant walk in the woods. We stopped at Glenns Lake Head for a break and a swim.

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Mokowanis Lake was beautiful. We got set up and got ready to head to Margaret Lake. There was a group heading up there when we were getting set up, so we hung around and got something to eat to let them have it to themselves for a while.

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The trip up to Margaret Lake was awesome! Great waterfall, navigation was pretty easy. Margaret Lake lived up to its billing. The color of the lake was amazing and ever changing. The color seemed to change when the sun came out or went behind a cloud, or when the wind blew hard enough to make a chop. We stayed up on that little piece of land sticking out for a while. Margaret Lake was also cold, I was sensing a pattern :). I did have my water sandal break in the Margaret Lake outlet, though.

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Then back to camp, and what a great camp Mokowanis Lake is!

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That night, as I was going to sleep, I heard something big clomping around. It sounded like it was getting closer and I didn’t know what to do. I had my bear spray in the tent, but it was pretty freaky. Eventually, I could hear it moving away. The other people at camp said they heard it, too and it peed next to their campsite.

September 9 – Sue Lake day trip (aka: It’s just a ramp)
We got up raring to go. Today was a day trip up to the Sue Lake bench area. That trail up Stoney Indian Pass is beautiful. Views at every turn.

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We got to the place where you go to the base of the falls to get up to Sue Lake. We couldn’t find an obvious way to get to the base of the ramp. We ended up going past where the creek crosses the trail and coming back around through the rock strewn weedy area. All that was left now was to walk up the ramp. Calling it a ramp makes it sound much easier than it actually is, for me, at least. I guess it is a ramp, but one at a seeming 45 degree slope covered with huge rocks and no trail. I’m sure we could have taken a better route up, but I’m not sure it would have made a ton of difference (it doesn't look too bad in the picture, but I did not have an easy time of it).

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Once we got up there, it was pretty cool. Literally. We just had daypacks and did not bring stuff appropriate for the weather change up there. It was much colder, super windy, and was looking like it was going to storm. We grabbed some lunch at Sue Lake. The weather looked bad and we were cold and tired. So, we decided to head back down without checking out Pyramid Peak or the overlook to Margaret Lake. We didn’t want to be up there if there was a storm. This was the first lake that I didn't jump in. It was super cold and I was super cold.

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Of course, once we were started down the ramp, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. I was thinking about going back up, but I looked up “the ramp” and decided that nothing short of one of my children being in mortal danger would get me back up there at that moment.

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Then it was back to our crappy campsite at Mokowanis Lake. I saw a martin in a tree along the trail. And we saw some mountain goats on Mt Merritt from the Sue Lake bench, but they were too far away to get a picture. There was also a moose around, based on fresh tracks and scat, but we never did see it. We also were able to find the "trail" to the land jutting out of the lake just before the campsites. Oh, and I finally got a picture I liked from the bridge over the Glenns Lake inlet.

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September 10 – Back to Chief Mountain Customs
We were treated to a cool pink sunrise on this morning. Just hauling our butts back to Chief Mountain. Got a couple pictures. Spent most of the climb out of the Belly River valley fantasizing about stuff I was going to take out of my pack for the second part of the trip. We picked up our second half permit. I changed it from BOW-BOU-HOL-BOW to BOW-HOL-BOU-BOW. I was getting nervous about Bowman to Boulder Pass. So, we headed to the west side and camped at Apgar. With the fire closings, there were plenty of spots in Loop A and the lake looked wonderful. We did get to have some huckleberry bbq bison burgers in west glacier.

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Thus concludes the first part of our trip. We were about to dial it up a notch in terms of adventure, weather, and poor judgement. I'll try to get that part up shortly. Thanks again to all of the help on here. I think i've probably read this whole site, so if you ever typed anything on here, thanks!
Last edited by McKee80 on Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse

Post by NDjason »

Glad the smoke cleared out! Looking forward to seeing more great pictures!
~ jason

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse

Post by paul »

Your pictures are great! I really enjoyed reliving the Sue bench experience through them. By the way, I agree that ramp was killer steep. As I was going up it I said to myself this is the last time I'm doing this. However, I want to do again now :D

The big animal at MOL was probably that big bull moose. In August it was sleeping just up the hill from my campsite and in the morning it crashed down through the woods by me inside my tent. I thought I was gonner.

We had a bear at Cosley lake too. I think that bear just goes up and down the lake shore and down the trails each day just to give hikers something to talk about.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse

Post by McKee80 »

NDjason wrote:Glad the smoke cleared out! Looking forward to seeing more great pictures!
I really wanted to get star pictures like yours. With the haze and the weather we had in the north fork, it just didn't work out.

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse

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paul wrote:Your pictures are great! I really enjoyed reliving the Sue bench experience through them. By the way, I agree that ramp was killer steep. As I was going up it I said to myself this is the last time I'm doing this. However, I want to do again now :D

The big animal at MOL was probably that big bull moose. In August it was sleeping just up the hill from my campsite and in the morning it crashed down through the woods by me inside my tent. I thought I was gonner.

We had a bear at Cosley lake too. I think that bear just goes up and down the lake shore and down the trails each day just to give hikers something to talk about.
Thanks Paul, your posts were really helpful in getting us up there! I'd totally do it again, too! It is like a whole other world up there.

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse

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Last we spoke, out erstwhile heroes had just frontcountry camped in Apgar. I had to run out to the KOA and get a shower, due to a rapidly escalating chafing situation. I stopped in the outdoor store in West Glacier for something to help, but they didn't have anything. Out of pure desparation, I explained my situation to the woman behind the counter. She actually dug into their first aid kit and grabbed me some triple antibiotic cream. And gave me some great advice (lubricate in the morning, medicate at night, and jump in a lake in between). Also, after alternating between a pot scraper and a measuring cup as my utensil of choice for the first half of the trip, I grabbed a pack of spoons. After re-privisioning from the truck ...

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we were on our way to Polebridge. It was really hazy again. We couldn't see anything to the east on our drive up there. Well, that's not true, we did see smoke from the fire. We left ourselves enough time to stop for bearclaws before the road to Bowman Lake opened. The more than lived up to their advanced billing. And the breakfast burritos were crazy good. While we were there, we grabbed some beers for the first night, it was only 7 miles to Bowman Lake campsites.

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When I was struggling out of the Belly River, I swore I was going to remove stuff from my pack. So I took out the tarp, the hammock and the hammock straps. Once we started on the trail, I saw some people hanging on the beach at Bowman Lake, so I went back to the car and grabbed mine. So, not too bad of a hike, some beers, and the day we got the permit they started allowing fires again. All good. We saw a deer kill along the trail, but nothing around it. Probably had something to do with the mountain lion posting. The hike wasn't hard, but it was a reminder that the difference in elevation between start and end points does NOT equal the amount of ups and downs you'll be hiking. The Bowman Lake campsites were cool, we ended up with the one across the creek. I grabbed a beer and took a nice swim. My stuff was smelling bad, so I rinsed it out in the creek. I was really smart, so I left one day of hiking stuff dry. Within seconds of rinsing my clothes, the rain started, and continued off and on until we went to sleep. We have a reluctance to fly across the country to stay in our tents, so we made the best of it and tried to dodge the raindrops. What was really cool was seeing the snow develop on the mountains.

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September 12 - Bowman Lake to Hole in the Wall

The next morning, we woke to cold and fog.

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Once again, the rain had gotten rid of most of the haze. However, everything was wet. And the forecast looked bad. The guys at Bowman with us decided to bail on Hole in the Wall and headed back. We pressed on. Now, an interlude about gaiters. I had never worn them before, but I picked some up before the trip. I wore them the first day to Cosley and they were useless and made my feet sweat. I was done with them. The next day, we hiked through brush to Mokowanis and my feet got soaked. This time I was getting it right. I laced up and was ready to take on the wet hike to Brown Pass! They worked great for a while, but were eventually defeated by the insane amount of water. It was like going through a car wash. My pants were plastered to my legs. I could have used a snorkel for some of the shoulder high sections of brush. Interlude over. We met a guy coming the other way from Boulder Pass. He said it was the coldest night he has ever experienced. He had to get up to boil water a couple times during the night to keep warm. Things took a turn for the better after Brown Pass. Patches of blue sky and the beginnings of some color. And still some huckleberries to snack on.

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We finally rounded the bend to the promised land. It was a great feeling coming down into Hole in the Wall.

ImageUntitled by Sean McKee, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Sean McKee, on Flickr

We got our tents set up and jumped in to recover. We were wet, cold, and tired. I was rubbing hot hands on my feet in the sleeping bag and trying to figure out to do with my wet clothes (now all of them). We eventually warmed up enough to check the place out. It did not disappoint.

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I had plans of following the outlet stream, but I became mesmerized watching the clouds in front of Thunderbird Mountain. It peeked out occasionally, but never showed itself again. I highly recommend this as entertainment while sipping on some whiskey.

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September 13 - Boulder Peak

I ended up sleeping with socks in my pockets and other wet clothes in my bag. The ones in my pocket got kind of dry, at least. We got up and took a look at the weather. Weather interlude. When we checked the inreach for weather, every day that said 30% chance of rain, we got dumped on. 70%, we were OK. 85%, great. 30%, and we were in for it. So, we had a dilemma. Forecast was calling for high teens / low twenties at Boulder Pass. I was probably just prepared enough for that if my gear was dry. Ultimately, we decided against camping at Boulder Pass. I just wasn't comfortable with it, as much as I wanted to. We had Hole in the Wall to ourselves the night before. We decided to day hike up to Boulder Peak and get back in the early afternoon. If people came in and there wasn't room for us, we'd head down to Brown Pass (which was empty the day before). I never thought I would be "poaching" a campsite, but it seemed like the best decision (although some may disagree).

The hike up to Boulder was aweseome. The weather changed about 100 times. Sun, rain, sleet, hail, snow. We had it all. And we could see what we were walking into. Crazy.

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We saw this marmot on the trail ahead of us. My first thought was just to walk by, but then I remembered the killer rabbit from Monty Python and had second thoughts. We narrowly escaped :)

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Once again, we were unable to find a pretty clear trail. This time it was the one up to Boulder Peak. I've included a GPS picture in case you would also like to slog through brush and mini-cliffs, coming tantalizingly close to the path only to veer back off into the mess.

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Boulder Peak probably looks really cool when you can see stuff, but it is pretty amazing even when you can't. Oh, and two white tailed ptarmigans met us at the top.

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On the way back, things got hairy. We got some hail and ice freezing to the trail back around Hole in the Wall. Not a good place for that. We were concentrating on every foot we put down.

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We ended up only having one group up there with us that night, so we were able to stay put. More snow. Since I was smart enough to leave the tarp in the truck, we were able to sit in a stand of pine trees to stay out of the weather.

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This pretty much sums up where I was at. Grocery bags under my duct tape repaired water shoes, rocking the one tone rainsuit. In the cup is a delightful mixture of Jameson, hail, and remnants of mountain house beef stroganoff. I roll with class.

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September 14 - hike out from Hole in the Wall

Morning "views"

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We figured we would head down to our spot at Bowman Lake and see what time it was and whether we felt like hiking out. Part of the problem with our revised itinerary was that we had to get from Bowman Lake to Calgary (with GTTSR closed) and we weren't anxious to leave a hike and a 7 hour drive the next day. Spoiler alert! We hiked out and stayed at Apgar again. The stretch from Hole in the Wall to Brown Pass might have been the best stretch of hiking I've ever done. The low hanging clouds, blue sky and fall colors were amazing.

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Bowman Lake looked a lot different on the way back. One of the things I changed my mind about was out and backs. If you spend a couple days out there, it really isn't the same hike on the way back. We spent a lot of time re-tracing our steps on this trip. With the exception of our death march out of the Belly River, it was very much like a new hike on the way back.

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One more stop for bearclaws, then we got to see what we were missing on the way up.

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One last look at Lake McDonald:

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I won't bore you too much with our travel days. But, I did have pulled pork poutine in Calgary, which was a highlight of my culinary life.

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And our flight was delayed and we had to drink beer and watch football all day in the airport. What a kick in the pants. Also, customs took my water sandals and my boots were packed. They kept saying the xray was showing metal in the rubber sole. Many managers were consulted, many trips through the xray machine. I told them from the beginning I didn't care if they kept them. Finally, they called ahead to make sure I could board barefoot and I was on my way, shoeless. A fitting end to a go with the flow sort of adventure!

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Epilogue:

I've been reading about Glacier for the past year. Lots of people asking if they should cancel their trip because of fires, etc. I'm just really glad I didn't. Our itinerary got blown up, GTTSR wasn't open, the tunnel was closed, and it was hazy for parts of the trip. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. Yeah, the tunnel opened while we were on the trail, and all the sites and the road opened within a week of us leaving. But what an amazing adventure.

The only thing I would have probably changed is our approach to Sue Lake and Boulder Peak. We were so determined to get there that we didn't take enough breaks along the way. I would have liked to have more energy once we got to the destination.

Also, permitting is a pain and it is kind of a drag to have to camp in certain places. And around other people. But I can say, in my opinion, it really keeps the park pristine and wild. Having been in the Sierras (which I love), there are signs of humans everywhere. And there are reasonable off trail things to do, where we didn't see anyone.

The other thing we realized was that besides Lake McDonald on stopovers, we didn't see anything people always talk about when they go to Glacier. On the other hand, we saw a bunch of stuff most people don't. I had a very disjointed conversation with a guy who had been to Glacier and our trips didn't have any common places :)

I know I said this before, but I was really suprised with how immersive this trip was. It was all I could do to pull out my phone to take pictures. The experience is overwhelming. I'm very grateful to be able to have done this trip, and with one of my best friends for the last 25 years.

In conclusion, I would recommend this trip to friends and family :)

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with

Post by tibber »

Wow, that was wonderful. :arrow: Such a great story and photos to match. It would just be too cold for me to backpack there in the Fall so kudos to those folks that can do that. While I liked all of your pictures, especially with the tinges of fall colors, I really liked the one from Boulder looking north with the colored foreground and looking toward the mountain to the north with all of its different colors. That's what's so great about Glacier vs other parks that I've seen pictures of, It's the Colors! And you're right about the light you captured on your way down from HOL.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to put the story together and the photos. Now you'll have a record of it; so, ten years down the road, you'll be thinking of something from that trip and now you can verify it by looking back on this report. What a great trip and you seemed to make the best of all the difficulties you encountered like not bringing the tarp for Part 2. You sure got a good dose of the park!

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with

Post by McKee80 »

Thanks! It was so great. Well worth all the planning and the watching of the plans be dismantled :). I'm glad we decided to break up the trip so we could see Hole in the Wall.
tibber wrote:I really liked the one from Boulder looking north with the colored foreground and looking toward the mountain to the north with all of its different colors.
I worked hard on that picture. Never did get it right. It was snowing pretty steady. The snowflakes looked right against the dark tones in the foreground, but they turned up as black specs against the clouds (damn technology!). I couldn't get them to be white. I ended up using a dust and scratch photoshop layer on the clouds just to make it look OK. The reason I was so determined was that it was one of my favorite moments of the trip. Snow falling all around, dark clouds above us, looking at a multi colored mountain collecting the only sunlight breaking through the clouds. Ten minutes later, we were in the sun, then on the way back it was sleet and hail. Doing out and backs, it is easy to see how each trip affords you a unique view.

Here is a glimpse of the weather:
https://youtu.be/zNPC9buEQ3g

Also, I found your pictures and videos to be super helpful when I was planning my trip, so thanks!

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Post by McKee80 »

Oh, and here are some short videos. Mostly when I was overwhelmed and couldn't decide what picture to take, I would turn on video and spin in a slow circle!

Hole in the Wall slow spin
https://youtu.be/wUPjrMEvB5M

Clouds rising above us at Boulder Peak
https://youtu.be/EJdK5J1XxiE

Slow spin on the way to Hole in the Wall
https://youtu.be/GfSOemMseWw

Slow spin at Margaret Lake
https://youtu.be/6OOVEtmnltU

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with

Post by Jay w »

KcKee, I really enjoyed the report. Your writing style is great and I loved the photos. There are a bunch of post cards in there. As you head up out of Bowman, the temp really drops, so I can understand being reluctant to the idea of camping at Boulder. Hole is high and cold enough. It sounds like you walked out this one a slightly different person....and barefoot. Hah.

Plan a trip for next year and write up another report.

Jay

Ps. I keep saying I should hike Belly River.
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Post by McKee80 »

Jay w wrote:KcKee, I really enjoyed the report. Your writing style is great
Thanks, man. I've enjoyed reading your reports over the past year. And your b&w photography is fantastic.
Jay w wrote:Ps. I keep saying I should hike Belly River.
The best thing for me about the Belly River is where it takes you. Mokowanis Lake, Margaret Lake, Sue Lake, and the hike up Stoney Indian Pass are all amazing. Cosley Lake is really nice also. The trail along the lakes has surprisingly few views of the lakes. On our way back, we were coming up on Glenns Lake Foot and heard some loud crashing. We figured it had to be something big. For the next 10 minutes we were trying to figure out if it was a moose, a big bear, or bigfoot. As we came up to the campsite, we saw a woman peeing on the trail. I went to the food prep area, expecting to see people looking into the woods where the sound was still coming from. There were some people just sitting there. I asked if they heard the noise, and it turned out it was trail crew taking down the pit toilet.

Sean

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Post by KyCindy »

Hi McKee,
I really enjoyed your report especially your pictures. You had some really clear days. I like the back country reports but although the pictures are tempting I will have to enjoy adventures like yours vicariously from the comfort of home. The cold looks pretty brutal. I liked the TSA water shoe story. I’m glad you were allowed to board barefoot.
Thanks,
Cindy

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Post by mattB »

Loved your trip report!! Awesome photos!! Its a challenging route but well worth it, even in some of the marginal weather conditions you encountered, but thats the beauty of being in Glacier in September, you never know what you might get, and it seems like you got a little bit of everything! And on your next trip maybe you'll get better weather!! or maybe not, who knows! :-) :-)

I totally agree on you comments about photography. I just use my phone camera more and more, and take less pictures, because often I find that the photos don't really do justice to the beauty of the area, and sometimes I feel like I'd rather just stand there and take it all in with my eyes, rather than be fiddling around with a camera trying to get the perfect shot... Better to just re-enforce the images and memories in my mind!!

Great trip report!!

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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with

Post by McKee80 »

KyCindy wrote:Hi McKee,
I really enjoyed your report especially your pictures. You had some really clear days. I like the back country reports but although the pictures are tempting I will have to enjoy adventures like yours vicariously from the comfort of home. The cold looks pretty brutal. I liked the TSA water shoe story. I’m glad you were allowed to board barefoot.
Thanks,
Cindy
Thanks Cindy,
The weather was strange. We got some good and some bad. The shoe thing was hilarious. One of the Canadian airport workers just shook her head and said "your country is crazy" to my buddy as I walked through barefoot (I had to explain at every checkpoint why I didn't have shoes).

McKee80
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Re: Multi-segment, kind of Northern Traverse - updated with

Post by McKee80 »

mattB wrote:Loved your trip report!! Awesome photos!! Its a challenging route but well worth it, even in some of the marginal weather conditions you encountered, but thats the beauty of being in Glacier in September, you never know what you might get, and it seems like you got a little bit of everything! And on your next trip maybe you'll get better weather!! or maybe not, who knows! :-) :-)

I totally agree on you comments about photography. I just use my phone camera more and more, and take less pictures, because often I find that the photos don't really do justice to the beauty of the area, and sometimes I feel like I'd rather just stand there and take it all in with my eyes, rather than be fiddling around with a camera trying to get the perfect shot... Better to just re-enforce the images and memories in my mind!!

Great trip report!!
Thanks! We went in with the attitude that we would attempt stuff that was hard, but not stupid. The weather was crazy, but it added to the experience. Not much like I planned it, but a grand adventure, nonetheless!

Sean

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