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Monday, August 23, 2021

2021 Glacier National Park: July 1 - Noname Lake to Two Medicine Boat Launch

 The kids woke up in the morning declaring that I had snored like a bear the night before. "Well, that's why I have a CPAP machine the rest of the time, I told them." Just before getting out of bed, Boen said to me the words every parent dreads: "Daddy, I peed a little in the sleeping bag," It wasn't a little (I used a towel to mop up the spills), but at least he did it the last night of the camping trip!

Everyone knew that there was a boat arriving at 9:00am, so there was unusual cooperation when eating breakfast and packing up to get going. Coming down the mountain was much faster than going up, and for a change we were early enough that it was nice and cool. It was exactly 3 miles from Noname Lake to the boat landing, and for a change we were exactly on time --- the boat had finished taking on passengers and was about to leave but were willing to take us on. I wasn't going to get on the boat but I put everyone else on the boat, gave them my garbage, bear spray, and various accoutrements I didn't need, and set off the complete the North Shore part of the loop.

Without the food, and with my load lightened and the cool morning air, I was raring to go and moved fast.

The North shore trail is much prettier than the south shore trail, and it goes up and down and winds around quite a bit more as well! After climbing into a forested ridge it turned away from the lake quite a bit. I expected this, as there was a trail that went up to Cobalt Lake and then the Continental Divide, which I did not have time to do. Then I encountered the famous swinging bridge.
The sign at the bridge said one hiker at a time, and given how much it moved, it definitely would have been disconcerting to take more than one laden hiker at at a time. Past that, the trail stopped going up and down and became more gentle, and I now saw occasional meadows with beautiful flowers. At 1.5 miles away from the trail head, I saw a sign for Aater Falls, which was a mere 0.1 mile detour away, and I was running out of water, so I walked over, got a picture taken, and filled my water filter.

The rest of the hike was still pretty but the number of hikers I saw grew more and more until I got to the boat landing, where the rest of the family had just finished their ice cream and was waiting impatiently for me to show up. I loaded everyone up and we drove out of the park to Kalispell, where restaurant food, hot showers, and beds awaited us. It turned out that the Kalispell hotel was right in the middle of a chain of strip malls, which included a Costco, an REI (which did not offer sleeping bag laundering services), a Target, a Best Buy, and a supermarket. We made arrangements for a steak dinner, and I called the Polebridge Outfitters to understand what it would take to rent kayaks for a trip to Bowman Lake on Saturday. They explained that they would happily load up the Kayaks onto the roof of my rental, and that I could deflate the kayaks and load them into the car after the trip, so I wouldn't have to deal with wrestling the inflated kayaks back onto the roof. They also explained that I had to get there by 9:00am, or the Bowman Lake parking lot would fill up! After I ascertained the feasibility of the entire endeavor, I committed my credit card to the kayak trip. Xiaoqin reminded me that it wouldn't be her first time kayaking, so I thought nothing of it.


N said...

Did you snore like a bear or like a moose? :)


Piaw Na said...

I once was camping with several friends, and one of them woke up in the middle of night screaming, "bear bear!". My brother woke up and said, "go back to sleep it's my brother!"