PNT day 1 – A path less traveled


Waterton River Camp (26.3) to Head Bowman Lake Camp (40.9)

14.6 miles

The strange thing was that it didn’t rain last night. When I crawled out of my tent it was still wet inside from condensation but it was not too bad. With me at the campsite was an older couple – Joselyn and Jeremy – on a backcountry trip. In the evening we had dinner together and shared a fire. Now we had breakfast together as the sun slowly climbed over the mountains. Just in time to warm us up and dry my tentfly! I even got a hot coffee from the two campers!

With mixed feelings I said goodbye. It seems like this hike is a lot about saying goodbye and leaving people behind… The two would hike into Waterton while I was heading for Bowman Lake. Brown Pass was in today’s program – one of the difficult passes according to the rangers in Many Glacier. I already knew from Jocelyn and Jeremy that there was no snow at all on the pass. I expected a fairly easy day as I started hiking through the still dripping wet vegetation. My rainskirt kept most of it away but after only a few minutes my feet were wet again. At least the sun was out and the sky blue.

I passed Janet Lake and Francis Lake before I got to the start of the climb up the pass. On my way thereI passed Thunderbird pond which was probably the most scenic placeI have seen in the Rockies so far!

The beautiful clear and blue water made me want to get my diving gear out! After the pond the trail climbed through trees and in switchbacks up towards Brown Pass. With “just” 6000 ft Brown Pass was the lowest of the passes I have done during the last weeks. Up on the ridge of the pass was even a campground where I stopped for lunch.

A dozen of mosquito bites later I proceeded with a full belly. From now on it would be downhill to the lake. The other side of the pass appeared steeper to me but it was as scenic as going up.

I met a Ranger girl and some workers and they told me about Grizzlies in the area as well as some black bears at Bowman Lake. Descending further into The Valley I regularly clapped with my hiking poles and sang some songs that came to my mind. At some stage I was just tired of it and stopped. I arrived at Bowman Lake without having seen any bears. All I saw were four other hikers hiking in the opposite direction as well as a deer walking around at the campground.

The campground here at the Head of Bowman Lake is really nice. So far a couple camps close to my tent. They came over by boat. The next trailhead is only seven miles away. From there I will hike into Polebridge tomorrow, my first trailtown on the PNT.

By the way I could have started counting my days in the PNT already two days ago when I was hiking to Chief Mountain but yesterday’s hike in Waterton isn’t a part of the PNT. That’s why I start counting today. From now on I will be hiking on the Pacific Northwest Trail – from crown to coast!

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