Date- June 24, 2019
Location- Morning Star Campsite
Elevation- 5,807 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 13.8 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 71.1 miles
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- marmots/rodents
Days without shower- 11
Days without laundry- 11
Rain, rain, and more rain. All in all it was a fairly uneventful day. It wasn’t raining when I woke next to the lake, but it started raining less than 3 miles into the day up Triple Divide Pass.
Today was probably the roughest day for me yet, despite being such a short day. As I began the 2,700 ft climb up Triple Divide, the rain began to pour. Then it began to drive in the powerful winds swirling around the bowl of the pass.
I had to do some very technical umbrella work to block out the rain and wind, while simultaneously keeping said umbrella from getting ripped to shreds in the bipolar gusts. In the meantime, my hands were getting frozen solid.
As I climbed higher and higher, transitioning back and forth between earthy trail and slippery snow-pack, I found myself needing to stop every several minutes to breathe warm air into my hands. They were so cold I couldn’t touch my pinky and thumb, or ring finger and thumb together. Two more fingers and I wouldn’t be able to close my hands. I have insulated gloves and wind shell mittens to go over them, but I had them packed away at the bottom of my pack, never thinking I’d need them in almost July.
It took me much longer to crest Triple Divide than it should have. By the time I did, I was carrying my staff and single trekking pole under my left armpit as I kept my hands cupped to my mouth.
No sooner did I begin the quick descent down the south side of Triple Divide, the rain stopped and the sun came out… for about 5 minutes, and then it was raining again.
I met up with Dale, Smiles, and Nom a few miles later and had lunch with them before hiking another few miles to our scheduled back-country campsite.
I feel compelled to comment that Glacier has put every single one of their back country campsites in terrible spots when it comes to nighttime temperatures. Granted, they put their campsites in stunningly gorgeous locations. However, they also put them in valleys or low spots next to lakes or rivers – all areas where the coldest air settles in the night. I suppose they’re going for picturesque over comfort… which is fine, but it’s just unseasonably cold right now.
Despite the rain and cold at our higher elevation lakeside campsite, the 5 of us sat up for a couple hours cooking, eating, talking, and doing foot maintenance.
We’re only supposed to do 11 miles into Two Medicine Campground tomorrow, but I think we’re going to knock out a 22-mile day into East Glacier and be done with the park. Finishing a day early will be a good excuse to take an extra day to prepare for the Bob Marshall Wilderness…