August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

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August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby al_in_al » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:12 pm

It’s not set in stone until we purchase our airline tickets, but right now we’ve got some hotel reservations for the first week of August. Here’s what I’m looking at in terms of hikes so far:

1 - Apgar Lookout (I keep putting this on my list, but haven’t done it yet)
2 - Hidden Lake (I’ve never been all the way to the lake) - easier day hoping this will be a Star Party night
3 - St. Mary area (Otokomi Lake or Siyeh Loop)
4 - Two Medicine area (Two Med Pass, Dawson Pass, or Scenic Point)
5 - Grinnell Glacier (this will be R’s 3rd trip, and he hasn’t been to Grinnell Glacier yet!)
6 - Cracker Lake (repeat for both)

R has also talked about spending a night at Granite Park Chalet, which would probably take out the St. Mary area hike and one of the Many Glacier hikes. If so, my priority would be to make it up to Swiftcurrent Lookout. We need to decide before reservations open Jan 7.

Talk to me about Cobalt Lake/Two Medicine Pass, which is at the top of my To-Do list since it’s the one major hike I haven’t done yet in Two Medicine. But at 15 miles, it will be a tough sell to get R interested (we did Triple Divide Pass last year - 14.7 mi - and the last few miles were miserable for him because he was pretty tired by then). I’ve looked into shortening the hike by taking the boat tour - that brings it down to 12.6 miles (by my calculations), but then adds a late start and time constraint to make the last boat back. Has anyone done this with the boat? Of course, we’d always have the option of turning around at Cobalt Lake if needed. Is Cobalt Lake alone worth it, or should I just wait until I have a better chance of making it to the pass?

My second choice is probably and out-and-back to Dawson Pass with the boat tour. Similar elevation gain to Two Med Pass, but only 8 miles RT with the boat. I’ve done Dawson as part of the Loop, but I am interested in an out-and-back, too. I’d also be willing to do Scenic Point again.

For the St. Mary area hike (really, east GTTSR area), I know the obvious choice is the Siyeh Loop. I did it in 2014, so I could definitely stand to do it again. But Otokomi Lake is interesting since we could hike right from Rising Sun, and I imagine we wouldn’t see many people on the trail. My thought was that it would be easier than Siyeh, but maybe not by enough.

List of previously completed hikes (all of which I’m willing to do again): Avalanche Lake, Rocky Point, Hidden Lake Overlook, Baring/St. Mary/Virginia Falls, Siyeh Loop, Piegan Pass (to MG and out-and-back), Dragon’s Tail False Summit, Sperry Trail, Sperry Glacier Trail, Gunsight Pass, Highline (with Grinnell Overlook), Ahern Pass, Swiftcurrent Pass, Grinnell Lake, Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Cracker Lake, Apikuni Falls, Lee Ridge, Running Eagle Falls, Upper Two Medicine Lake, Scenic Point, Aster Falls/Park, Dawson-Pitamakan Loop, Firebrand Pass, Triple Divide Pass, Waterton Lakeshore Trail, Bear’s Hump, Crypt Lake
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby orin » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:49 pm

I've never done Two Medicine Pass with the boat but it would save a few miles. Cobalt Lake is a nice destination by itself. You gain enough elevation that you can see back down the valley quite a ways. But you will be looking up at the pass from the lake and wanting to head on up. You gain the ridge and the great views maybe a half mile before you actually get to the official pass so if you were in a hurry you could probably shave a mile or so off the round trip without compromising much. If R didn't want to do the pass, the lake is a nice place to hang out while you hustle on up. You could skip Rockwell Falls on the way up but catch it on the way back if there is time.
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby teapot57 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:04 pm

I took the boat once for the Cobalt Lake hike and said I’d never do it again. There is more elevation gain doing it this way, and the trail along the head of the lake has some narrow, brushy sections where you will be walking in full sun, which could be good or bad. The walk along the South Shore Trail is only a bit longer, but it is a fast hike on flat, easy trail. If you want to experience new trail and shorten the hike a tad, maybe consider taking the boat in one direction. If I did it this way, I would boat there and hike out the South Shore on the way back. I love the boats in Glacier but have no patience for the people who butt their way to the front of the line to get a spot on the return.

I also think Cobalt Lake is a worthy destination. Lots of monkey flowers and interesting trail as you get close to the lake.

I have not done Otokomi Lake myself, but I have heard it is a much nicer hike after the Reynolds Creek Fire which opened up some views.
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby PeteE » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:11 pm

1 - Apgar Lookout (I keep putting this on my list, but haven’t done it yet)
Apgar Lookout is a nice little hike. Nice views of Lake McDonald as you've no doubt seen on the web cam.
I'd recommend starting early (Don't I always? 8) ) No shade at all. You can hike up there, stay a while, and be back by noon.

2 - Hidden Lake (I’ve never been all the way to the lake) - easier day hoping this will be a Star Party night
I would take some "water shoes" on this hike. Cross the outlet creek.
There's a good "social trail" that continues through some beautiful meadows for another 1/2 to 3/4 miles---and it's "flat".
Great views up towards Reynolds, the Dragon's Tail, Bearhat, Cannon and Clements.. Lots of photo opportunities along the lake shoreline.
The first week or two of August is usually good for flowers in the meadows since they get little direct sunlight--and so bloom is later in the summer.
Very few people cross the creek other than mountaineers and fishermen.

3 - St. Mary area (Otokomi Lake or Siyeh Loop)
4 - Two Medicine area (Two Med Pass, Dawson Pass, or Scenic Point)
"R" might not care for the out and back to Dawson Pass. It's a bugger of a hike as you know.
NO to very little water once your past No Name Lake---if that matters.

5 - Grinnell Glacier (this will be R’s 3rd trip, and he hasn’t been to Grinnell Glacier yet!)
It'll be a long day again for "R" but this is an all time fave of mine. Gotta do this one imo.

6 - Cracker Lake (repeat for both)


My 2 cents 8)

pete :wink:

I went farther around the lake than y'all may want to go.
More snaps here. August 17, 2014
https://glaciergeezer.smugmug.com/Hidden-Lake/n-NR6CRn/
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby MarxMN » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:52 pm

I have been to Otokomi Lake a couple times prior to the Reyolds Creek fire. The hike is okay but the views are not all that great. Same with the lake. The trail is close to the stream all the way so it is near the lowest level in the valley. There are great views of Divide Mountain from the trail. As Teapot mentions the fire may have opened up the trail for a lot more views.

Cobalt Lake is a good destination on its own if that is as far as you go.
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby al_in_al » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:17 pm

orin wrote:If R didn't want to do the pass, the lake is a nice place to hang out while you hustle on up.

Last year I left him on the Highline (with a bear and cubs to watch!) while I went up to the Grinnell Overlook, and he still hasn't forgiven me for that! :lol: My goal will be to take him along.

teapot57 wrote:I took the boat once for the Cobalt Lake hike and said I’d never do it again. There is more elevation gain doing it this way, and the trail along the head of the lake has some narrow, brushy sections where you will be walking in full sun, which could be good or bad. The walk along the South Shore Trail is only a bit longer, but it is a fast hike on flat, easy trail. If you want to experience new trail and shorten the hike a tad, maybe consider taking the boat in one direction. If I did it this way, I would boat there and hike out the South Shore on the way back.


Thanks for the "never again" opinion - if we do the boat, we'll make sure to have our "legs on" (i.e. long pants). If it were just me, I'd go South Shore all the way, and am definitely considering hiking all the way back to avoid boat drama, from ourselves and others.

PeteE wrote:2 - Hidden Lake (I’ve never been all the way to the lake)
I would take some "water shoes" on this hike. Cross the outlet creek.
There's a good "social trail" that continues through some beautiful meadows for another 1/2 to 3/4 miles---and it's "flat".
Great views up towards Reynolds, the Dragon's Tail, Bearhat, Cannon and Clements.. Lots of photo opportunities along the lake shoreline.
The first week or two of August is usually good for flowers in the meadows since they get little direct sunlight--and so bloom is later in the summer.
Very few people cross the creek other than mountaineers and fishermen.



Thanks for the tip - I'd like to cross the outlet creek - I think I see the social trail on Google satellite view. I think wandering around the lake for as long as we want sounds like a good plan.

PeteE wrote:5 - Grinnell Glacier (this will be R’s 3rd trip, and he hasn’t been to Grinnell Glacier yet!)
It'll be a long day again for "R" but this is an all time fave of mine. Gotta do this one imo.


I think he'll be fine with Grinnell Glacier. He's pretty good up to 12 miles, and we can take a nice long break at the top. I gave him the option to do it this year, but he chose Piegan. Even after I told him it's the best hike in the park. So I guess I'll have to force him to do it this trip!
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby Jay w » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:54 pm

I've kind of skimmed over the posts, but it looks like you've probably done enough hiking that you're curious about Oktokomi. That's the main reason to do it, to see a new area, but it's not Iceberg, that's for sure.

I don't see the reason to take a boat for Cobalt. Maybe it technically saves a few feet, but as teapot says, you go through some brush and the trail is not as nice. If you get to Cobalt, you'll probably wonder what Two Med pass looks like. (I know I did.) I don't know if that's in your "range," but if so, save some time and energy to "look over the other side." And that's about what you do, look over the other side, but it is a nice vista in a few directions.

Thumbs up on Hidden Lake, ok two thumbs up and a thumbs up on Grinnell or even past Grinnell--Angel's Wing (again, if that's in your range). It's a long hump up there, but it's a spectacular view.

Bring your hang glider.

Jay
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Re: August 2019. Decisions, decisions.

Postby PeteE » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:52 pm

Jay w wrote:...Thumbs up on Hidden Lake, ok two thumbs up and a thumbs up on Grinnell or even past Grinnell--Angel's Wing (again, if that's in your range). It's a long hump up there, but it's a spectacular view.

Bring your hang glider.

Jay


Jay's right about Angelwing. I'm sure you can make it up there. It's about a mile up there from where people usually stop, and adds about 900ft of elv.gain.
It is a walk up though. You cross the outlet creek(water shoes may be required) and walk across the ledges. Then hike to the saddle. Go around to the back side of Angelwing where you just walk up hard packed scree and grass.

The down side might be that it may take longer than R wants to wait.
Well worth the trip if you can do it.

Since this is a great hike and many people will see this thread, I took the liberty of posting these pics for new chatters and others who might want to do this hike. These pics were taken with a disposable film camera 8)
I hope that's OK!


pete :wink:

September 2010. Our group that day from left to right--chatters Kathy, the Geezer, Toddnick and WNYSteve
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Looking west, you get a nice view of Grinnell Glacier(l) and the Salamander Glacier(r) from Angelwing. The outlet creek and the ledges the glacier left as it retreated are also visible.
The Grinnell Overlook, accessed from the Highline near Granite park, is visible on the far right where that skinny snow shoot leads up to it.

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The money shot is looking east back down the glacier carved valley. On a clear day you can see all the way to the plains.
And yeah, if it were legal, you could hang glide or parachute from Angelwing
8)
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