Friday, October 7, 2022

Day 155: Tragedy on the Trail!

September 22: Since I had another particularly short hiking day due to my permit, I slept in late and didn't get on the trail hiking until about 8:30am. The strong winds still ruled the terrain, but the morning was considerably warmer than the previous few mornings, so that much was an improvement.


A couple of hours into the day's hike, the trail veered around the south side of St. Marys Lake, which I followed near for much of the day. The views were often spectacular, but near the start of that section, I noticed a few buildings and the Going-to-the-Sun road on the other side of the lake and tried checking for a cell phone signal. I didn't really expect to get one, so I was surprised to discover that it actually worked! I got a signal!

I went ahead and stopped to check emails and messages while I could. With less than 15 miles to hike, I had plenty of time. May as well!

A bit further down the trail, I found a can of bear spray laying on the ground. I had no doubt that it fell off the pack of a hiker heading down the trail, and I wondered how long it took before they realized it was missing. I went ahead and picked it up. I wasn't particularly optimistic that I'd find the owner, but I could always shoot it off somewhere if nobody else was nearby. Or give it to someone if they were in need of it. Or... I didn't know. At the very least, I could put it in a hiker box back in East Glacier and either a CDT or PNT hiker next spring could use it and save the money rather than buy a fresh one.

Don't mess with me, bears! I've got two bear sprays now!

The trail was completely empty of people until I reached Virginia Falls at which point they were everywhere! Day hikers! Dozens of them! It wasn't super far from a trailhead parking lot and I had to admit, Virginia Falls was pretty darned scenic. I could see why so many day hikers would come out to enjoy it.

Have to admit, there's a good reason so many day hikers hoof it out to Virginia Falls. *nodding*

Then, not far beyond that, the trail passed by St. Marys Falls, which was also quite nice.

But so... many... people! Ugh!

St. Marys Falls

It was somewhat of a relief when I turned off the main trail that led to the parking lot to continue onward to Reynolds Creek Camp where I'd stop for the night. There were a few day hikers along this trail as well, but nowhere near the numbers that the route to Virginia Falls got.

At the campsite, nobody else was around. Not yet, at least. There was still time for additional hikers to arrive, but it meant that I got my choice of the available sites at the campground. I picked my preferred option and set up camp.

My campsite for the night. Tonight, I decided to cowboy camp. Mostly because tomorrow I had to hike about 26 miles to my next campsite and I didn't want to take time in the morning to break down a tarp. I'd need to hike pretty much from sunrise to sunset if I wanted to reach camp before dark! And breaking down a tarp in the morning would just slow me down. And, since no rain was in the forecast, I decided to cowboy camp.

That was when I realized.... my tiara was missing! It must have fallen out of my pack at some point! Nooo!!!! Not only did I litter somewhere along the trail, but now I had absolutely no props for the end of the trail! I hit myself in the head in frustration. How could I have lost my tiara?! Argh!

It was starting to look like I might have the entire campground to myself, but around sunset, Reality Check dropped in. Where did she come from?! She had done something like a 25-mile day and was doing much bigger miles than me through the park, quickly catching up. She had left East Glacier the day after did!

We spent the rest of the evening chatting around the non-existent campfire. I asked her if she happened to spot a tiara on the trail, and she had. It was located maybe five miles back, but she didn't pick it up because... why would she want to carry a tiara on the trail?

"So you could give it back to me!" Duh. *rolling eyes*

In any case, I had no intention of backtracking 5 miles to get the tiara, but I still mourned its loss. I never even got a photo of it. I figured I'd take all the photos at the end of the trail. It never occurred to me that I'd lose the darned thing before reaching the end! In hindsight, I wished I had at least taken a photo of my tiara to share with everyone, even if it wound up not working out. A true tragedy. *nodding*

And thus ended another day on the trail.

I'd follow near the south shore of St. Marys Lake for much of the afternoon.

Found these antlers along the trail!

I think I lost my tiara when I stopped here for a snack break.

It was a bit of a challenge to get photos of Virginia Falls without people getting into it!

I prepare to pull my food bags up onto the bear pole.

1 comment:

ArtGekko said...

I visited Glacier NP for the first and (so far) only time in Sept of 2019. Completely fell in love with it. Just spectacular.