Monday, October 3, 2022

Day 153: Finally leaving East Glacier!

September 20: Upon waking up, I ate the rest of my leftover pizza from yesterday for breakfast, then headed over to the post office to pick up my packages. I was expecting two packages: a food package with some food items that I'd likely never find in such a small town otherwise, and that arrived just fine. My other package, however, the one with the laptop, had not arrived. What?!

I had to drop by the post office to pick up some packages.

Of course, I didn't want or need the laptop at this point. I was leaving town today, and I certainly had no intention of carrying my laptop into the backcountry. The box, however, did contain some other items like extra batteries and such that I could make use of. But, more importantly, it also included my crowns. I was about to complete the Triple Crown of hiking--one of the few people that will ever hike all three of the main long-distance hiking paths in the United States: the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. To celebrate the feat, Amanda had found some small, lightweight crowns that I could use as photo ops at the Canadian border. They were made of paper and could lay flat, but they were glittery and showy and perfect for a photo op to celebrate the end of the trail. Not wanting to carry them anymore than I needed to, however, I had shipped them here in my bounce box.

But it never arrived, so I didn't have my crowns. =( Well, actually, I did have the letter A for A.T. That had fallen off the A.T. crown and when I reported it to Amanda, she sent me a new letter A to an earlier post office which I had been carrying ever since. But the glittery letter A was useless without the rest of the crown. Bah! Stupid post office!

In case you ever wanted to know, the world's largest purple spoon was in East Glacier.
Back at the hostel, I repacked all the food from the package I did get into my pack and I threw away the now-useless letter A. At the hostel, however, I did stumble on an old, broken tiara that somehow ended up there and I thought that would be my crown for the end of the trail! The tiara was shiny and a bit small for my head. I think it was meant for a child-sized person. It was also broken in half, but nothing a little duct tape couldn't fix. In fact, I think a little duct tape would give it just the right character for a thru-hiker. =)

Finally packed and ready to go, I left the hostel at around 11:00am. The air was cool and crisp, and the surrounding mountains showed a thin layer of snow. I hadn't been able to see the mountains through the clouds yesterday, but now that the weather had cleared, I could definitely see that the higher elevations had gotten some snow.

Starting my day's hike at Two Medicine

The first hitch took about 15 minutes. Two Canadian girls that easily could have passed themselves off as hippies stopped to pick me up. They were heading back to Canada, however, and not to Two Medicine in Glacier NP where I needed to pick up the trail. So I was only with them for 4 miles until they reached the junction with Two Medicine and dropped me off there.

The next hitch took considerably longer--I had to wait about 1.5 hours before someone pulled over to offer me a ride down the rest of the way. The traffic was moderately busy, but car after car passed by without picking me up. About a half hour in, what looked like a homeless guy searching the side of the road for aluminum cans wandered up to me and tried to chat me up. I tried to discourage him, though, fearful that someone who would pick me up might have second thoughts if they thought this guy was also looking for a ride as well. Go away! After about 10 minutes, he did go away, though, and I continued my solitary attempt at hitchhiking.

I finally got a ride and was back at Two Medicine by around 2:00pm. I only needed to do about 11 miles to reach my assigned campsite, though, so not a problem. I could knock out 11 miles before sunset. Definitely. *nodding*

The trail climbed steadily upward, eventually climbing up a pass overlooking Oldman Lake. The pass was covered by a few inches of snow, though, which annoyed me to no end. It was so miserably cold up there! And I had not wanted or expected to hike in snow. The pass was only located about 7700 feet above sea level, after all. *grumbling*

I had a bit of snow to hike through at the top of Pitamakan Pass.

I pushed onward. After the pass, the trail descended a couple of thousand feet leaving the snow behind me. I was grateful that I wouldn't have to camp in the snow, at least.

I didn't find anyone else at the campsite, but that didn't surprise me. I couldn't imagine why anyone would be traveling southbound this late in the season and I didn't see any footprints in the snow over the pass, so I knew nobody was immediately ahead of me. I also didn't know of any other hikers who planned to reach this point this evening. Just Awesome, I knew, was hiking the section from East Glacier to Two Medicine and would camp at the campground at Two Medicine. I was 11 miles ahead of him on the trail as of this evening, and would only extend the lead as the days went on.

So I wound up having the entire Morning Star Lake campground to myself. Although rain wasn't in the forecast, I went ahead and set up my tarp to help keep me marginally warmer during the night. Given how cold the day was, I had little doubt it was going to get uncomfortably cold during the night!

My campsite for the night would be at the Morning Star Lake CG.

This tunnel under the railroad was the only (legal) way to get between the two sides of East Glacier.

There was definitely some snow that fell at the higher elevations yesterday! Except for the pass, however, I didn't have to go through much of it.

Later in the afternoon, the clouds started rolling in. It wasn't raining, but it did make things even colder!

That's Oldman Lake down in the cirque.

Pitamakan Pass was where I had the heaviest snow to deal with, and it's coming up soon!

Pitamakan Lake

I found this old patch of snow a little creepy--it looked too much like a melting face to me! It was right over Morning Star Lake as well, so it watched over my campsite all night long!

There were designated spots within a campground where you were allowed to prep food. Bringing food into your campsite was not allowed!

1 comment:

Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

That Dawson Pass Trail sign picture - it took me a minute to realize that the sign was laying on the ground. At first I thought that the footprints were on the side of a snow-covered stone wall.