First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

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First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

Postby Stephanienola » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:50 pm

Hi Y'all,

First, apologies if any of this has been covered before! I found this site (many thanks to all) yesterday and have binged it like a new Netflix series starring Idris Elba. Anyhoo, the hubs and I are heading to Glacier for the first time from 8/24-9/3 and this site has had more useful info than any other I've seen! Y'all rock!

So, let me start with the questions. We want to do a 2 -3 night backpacking trip while and we have lots of questions. We are both mid-40s, in pretty good shape. We are looking to hike 6-10 miles a day - to explore, enjoy, do some fishing, maybe some bird watching, and not be rushed. We're those kind of hikers. Oh and we have no permits, are aware that we will have to be up at the asscrack of dawn to secure one, are flexible, and have lots of itineraries planned and questions about everything. Here goes....

1. Our first choice is the Pitamakin Dawson Loop. Tell it to me straight - is there any chance we'll get a permit for this? We're looking at Wed 8/29-Fri 8/31. Or potentially Tues 8/28-8/30 if we can get a same day/next day walk up permit. We are flexible on direction and campsites and may be able to add a day to accommodate available campsites if need be.
2. Same goes for Gunsight Pass to Lake McDonald, our second choice.
3. Our third Choice is Cut Bank to Two Medicine (2 or 3 nights) with a grueling but I'm sure amazing side trip up the Triple Divide. Any advice on transport from point to point if we leave our rental car at the start, which could be either spot depending on permit availability?
4. Our safety choice is Bowman and Quartz Lake just to get out for a few nights. Any comments? Advice?
5. Any other ideas for 2-3 day loops where can get up high? Without mountaineering gear? On trail?

Other concern...

1. I've read on this site that cooking lunch and eating on the trail is frowned upon for fear it will attract bears to the trail. My goto lunch while hiking is a tuna fish pouch with some mayo on a tortilla. I know how smelly tuna is. Should I change up my lunch game? I'm an East Coaster and the bulk of my hiking has been in my neck of the woods and the Sierras in CA. I have a healthy fear of grizzlys and want to make sure I'm doing all I can to mitigate a close encounter.

Perks for those interested...
1. We know the Catskills pretty well and the Hubs is a fly fishing guide over here. If you need intel we're happy to help.

Many thanks in advance for your feedback...

Cheers,

Steph
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Re: First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

Postby orin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:09 am

You need to get acquainted with the "What's available tomorrow?" page on the Backcountry Camping section of the Glacier website. If you were heading to the permit office in the morning all four of your proposed routes are available! That is unusual but you just never know. When the time comes get that list from the web or a backcountry office after closing time the evening before and try to put 2 or 3 routes together. Write down the entrance and exit trailheads and the campsites so there will be no fumbling around when you get to the desk. Asking for a permit starting the next day will give you a better chance than trying to get one for the day you hit the office. In the meantime, look at the page every night for awhile to get an idea of what might be possible.

I do generally avoid tuna in the Glacier backcountry.
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Re: First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

Postby PeteE » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:46 am

I agree with everything Orin said in his post.
You need to become intimately familiar with how the "walk up" process works.

These are two sites you need to know well:

This is the "What's available tomorrow". Learn how to use it. Ask if you have questions on how it works.
https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/ ... status.cfm

You should also study this site as well, especially all the "fine print" associated with each site.
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ ... ap-Web.pdf

The routes you have mentioned are very popular routes.
I would go to Apgar or St Mary for your permit, and 0500 would not be too early if you want any chance at all at a "desirable" itinerary.

pete :wink:
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Re: First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

Postby Stephanienola » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks Y'all! I'll keep you posted in how it turns out!

Now I have to figure out what to eat for lunch on the trails!
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Re: First Trip to Glacier! Lotsa Questions!

Postby PeteE » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:40 pm

Apgar BC Office line
https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/28852346797/

Maybe this will convince "skeptics" that 0500 probably isn't too early to get in line, maybe 0400.
It's just an hour or two of sleep you'll miss for the opportunity to get a backpack trip of a lifetime.
Send your partner for donuts and coffee! :D
Sleep when you get home 8)

pete :wink:

As for trail "lunches".
In my opinion, for what it's worth, it's not so much what you eat, but where you eat it that matters.
Eating a tuna sandwich above tree line with good visibility for an approaching bear is much less risky than...
Eating the same sandwich somewhere below tree line in an area where trees and vegetation would conceal the approach of an unwelcome lunch guest. 8)
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