Mystery on the Two Medicine-East Glacier Trail

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Mystery on the Two Medicine-East Glacier Trail

Postby wnysteve » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:00 pm

This happened years ago during a hike on the long and seldom-used trail between Two Medicine and East Glacier. Although it caused me much puzzlement at the time and for months afterward, it tends to fade from memory until something revives it again. As in last evening, when the mail brought one of those unsolicited catalogs for items no one needs. And there before me was a picture of an 8” by 6” journal, bound in Italian Leather (only $78!). And that long-ago hike returned to me.

I had not done this hike before. We arranged for a ride with a young man from Glacier Park Lodge that took us from East Glacier to the Scenic Point trailhead in Two Medicine. The trail from Two Medicine to Scenic Point is popular, whereas the continuation from Scenic to East Glacier is seldom traveled. On this day, the trail was deserted along its entire length. Scenic Point was reached in good time where we ate lunch. The descent toward East Glacier took me into new territory. The country remains mostly un-timbered at this point with sweeping views of the higher elevations you’ve come down from. Before reaching Fortymile Creek, just at the side of the footpath, was a daypack. We scoured the terrain in all directions but saw no one who might have jettisoned it for a brief off-trail hike. We opened it to look for identification. The pack contained only two items: a pair of jeans, looking freshly laundered and neatly folded, and a fine, leather bound journal. The journal had never been written in. We looked again for signs of the hiker, as well as evidence of an off-trail spur, but without results. We replaced the pack where it was found, and when we reached East Glacier we located a ranger and reported the find. He was as puzzled as we as to why the pack would have been left there.

I have turned this event over in my mind more than a few times. The pack was light enough not to have been a burden that needed to be jettisoned by a tired hiker, but it was heavy enough to be noticed if it slipped off the hiker accidentally. This trail does have off-trail spurs to peaks like Mt. Henry and Appistoki, but they depart the main trail at much higher elevations than where we found the pack. And consider the contents of the pack! A pair of jeans and a fine leather-bound journal with no entries. No water or any other items which we consider essential for a hike. The spot was many miles from either the north or south trailheads, so I would not think the hike was done on a lark. It was probably closer to East Glacier, assuming you didn’t get lost in the maze of trails that break out once on the Reservation, but that’s another story.

I never developed a really good theory of what we found and why it was left. Maybe one of the readers here with a better imagination will have an idea. Thoughts?
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Re: Mystery on the Two Medicine-East Glacier Trail

Postby Ear Mountain » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:15 pm

The owner of the pack may have been on horse back. If the pack was poorly secured it could have fallen off. I see items that have fallen off a horse in the Bob Marshall Wilderness frequently. Horse travel is less common in Glacier but it is still used especially by locals.
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Re: Mystery on the Two Medicine-East Glacier Trail

Postby teapot57 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:17 pm

While Ear Mountain describes a “most likely” situation, I’ll offer a more imaginative one.

Late one night, Bigfoot finds a pack while prowling through the town of East Glacier. On his way journey back to the cave, he stops and opens the pack when it becomes light enough to examine the contents. He realizes that he doesn’t know how to write, and that he can’t even fit his hairy forearm into a pant leg, so the contents are as useful to him as a seven story East Glacier hotel in winter. He decides to leave the pack on the side of the trail for a human to find. Had you looked a little closer, you may have noticed that he had yanked a few tufts of hair and placed them inside, so that it could perhaps become part of a future Bigfoot Museum collection.

You could have made loads off this artifact!
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Re: Mystery on the Two Medicine-East Glacier Trail

Postby teapot57 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:00 am

OK . . . I’ve thought of a more plausible theory!

Maybe a backpacker set out from East Glacier, and on the uphill portion, decided that his or her load was too heavy. To cut some weight,the backpacker stopped along the trail and got rid of some of the heavier, less necessary items, leaving them trailside inside the daypack with hopes that it would still be there upon return.
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