Glacier NP, St. Mary to Two Medicine - September 28, 2003 - Member Trip Report

Hike Name: Glacier NP, St. Mary to Two Medicine
Country: United States
State: Montana
Trip Rating: 5 stars
Trip Date: September 28, 2003
Duration: 1 day
Trail Conditions: Excellent
Trail Traffic: None
Trip Weather: Sunny
Trip Winds: Light
Trip Precipitation: None
Trip Temperature: High: 31-40, Low: 61-70 degrees Fahrenheit
Trip Report: We break camp after dawn, but before the sun hits the floor of the valley and we cross the Atlantic Creek just below Atlantic Falls and head up the north fork of Cut Bank Creek. As we move up the valley towards Morning Star Lake, we notice the meadows feel like bear territory so we are on the look out and yell every now and then. Despite this, we spook a black bear as we turn around a bend and he high tails it up the side of the valley. We loose sight of him quickly but notice the trees and brush sway as he climbs. Close call.

We have lunch on the shores of Morning Star Lake near the deserted campground there. On the western slopes of the valley above the lake are a collection of mountain goats around a large, hollowed out snow pack. From here we face a steady climb up to Pitamakan Lake and on to Pitamakan Pass. Plenty of switchbacks greet us, but when we get to Pitamakan Lake, it makes it worth it. The lake sits at the base of a 800 ft cliff just below the pass. As we soak our feet in the icy waters of the lake, we play with a chipmunk and admire the view. Shortly after, we meet a hiker who is nearing completion of his through hike of the CDT and on his way to the Canadian border. The pass looks much more daunting than it is as we ascend up a ridge separating Pitamakan Lake and Lake of the Seven Winds. Looking back above the treeline yields an awesome view (see panoramic).

Once we get to the pass, we decide without much thought that we should drop our packs and stroll over to Cut Bank Pass under the growing shadow of Mount Morgan. At Cut Bank, we see a new valley and have a snowball fight from a leftover snow field. Two Louisiana boys having a snowball fight on the Continental Divide. On the way back to the packs, Roy-boy remembers he left his water bottle on Cut Bank Pass. I continue as he goes back to get it. We take this opportunity to sit and look down on Oldman Lake from Pitamakan Pass as the afternoon passes.

On the way down from the pass to Oldman Lake campground we run into a Ram who is stubborn and doesn’t want to leave the path. Given the path is above the treeline and there is scree above and below on the steep sides we are in a quandary. Luckily as we close within 20 feet or so, he bounds down the slope. As get into the trees, you can see the mark of a past forest fire years ago as the trunks of the trees are a nice grey with the crimson of new growth intermixed. We reach camp and see another tent, but the occupants must have already turned in for the evening. We get water at Oldman Lake and play some cards for a few hours before we turn in as well.



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