Glacier National Park – Piegan Pass


Reynolds Creek Camp to Many Glacier

15 miles

I woke up to the familiar sound of raindrops falling on my tent. What should I do? I felt like just turning around but I knew I had to go. Piegan Pass was waiting for me and according to the reaction of all other hikers I had met this pass wouldn’t be easy.

Once more I packed up a wet tent and left camp without a proper breakfast. At least I could say goodbye to Two Forks another CDT hiker I had camped with.

I got back on trail and headed towards the Sun Road an unspectacular crossing of the road through Glacier National Park. It was constantly raining and my feet were wet right from the start. I should really start wearing my waterproof socks! But I knew that a river ford was on today’s schedule and I wasn’t big in changing clothes on trail. Waterproof socks wouldn’t help today.

I hiked up the mountain in dense and wet forest. My first miles were interrupted by another morning bathroom break, a breakfast break and another break I don’t remember right now. I was far behind schedule and had some doubts if I could be in Many Glacier on time. I wanted to check at the Ranger Station if I could change a campground permit and they were only open until 4:30pm. Motivated and to keep my wet feet from freezing I tried to hold a high speed up the mountain. Occasional snowfields slowed me down. I reached an elevation where the precipitation turned into snow and the trees gave way to the brown bare rock of the Rocky Mountains. There were a couple of snowfields to cross on my way to the pass but nothing too sketchy. Up on the pass my view was limited. Today’s rain clouds were hanging deep and took away the stunning view.

Without a summit break I made my way down the other side. While I descended the clouds gave way to some sunlight and I started to really enjoy the hike of today. I was already out of snow when I bumped into another hiker who warned me of steep snowfields coming up. Dang! I thought I had done the worst part. My fellow hikers were right – well, halfway. Further down in the trees snow was still lingering and the trail switchbacked back and forth over two big snowfields with quite an angle. But it wasn’t too bad at all. I even managed the sections without my microspikes as the snow was slushy and I could easily kick some steps. The reward was my arrival at a big waterfall:

Finally being out of snow I checked the mileage and I could still reach Many Glacier in time. I sped up and saved my bear country clapping and singing energy for hiking. The trail provided some nice views of the lakes near Many Glacier and I was already dreaming of a proper dinner when the trail went downhill and met a unpaved forest road. That’s when I saw him! Brown and quite tall he made his way across the road. I reached – no, not for the bear spray – for my camera and at the same time made sure hat he recognized me. He looked around and I could read in his face “just another tourist” then he turned around and walked further up the road. We had the same way! With enough distance between us and hiking straight in the middle of the road I followed the bear. I saw him again taking a sidetrail while I went straight ahead towards Many Glacier.

I’ve seen a bear! How cool is that?! That brown guy just made my day and I didn’t even feel the again falling raindrops when I rounded the lake to get to the Ranger Station. I had made it in time and could even swap the campground. Only downside: the Ranger told me that I was about to hike two very difficult passes in the next couple of days. Hopefully it will not be too bad!

I pitched my tent in the backcountry site of the campground and made my way over to the shop to stock up my resupply for the next days. Then I celebrated a great hiking day with a burger, a side salad and a Hefeweizen. Every calorie counts! Cheers!

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