When Joe said “endurance” he wasn’t kidding … but I didn’t realize the endurance part of our hike would be through so many huckleberry bushes. I stuffed myself on the sweet juicy berries. Only THEN did I realize that these are the berries grizzly bears enjoy … sometimes up to 200,000 berries a day just for ONE grizzly!
Who do I think I am, eating the berries they “make their living” on … and why am I leisurely hiking through this gorgeous trail confined on both sides with huckleberry bushes so thick I couldn’t see a bear for the brush? I must be crazy!
Of course, the “endurance” part of the hike might have referred to the somewhere between 17 – 20 miles (depending on who’s Fitbit Tracker you believe) from the first step to finally sinking into a camp chair back at the #LanceCamper in Many Glacier Campground. But the elevation profile wasn’t nearly as intense as some of the other hikes.
Luckily despite being 38 degrees at 8 AM to start the hike up at Piegan Pass Trailhead, the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. Area wildfire smoke increased throughout the day, but starting relatively early let us have a clear view of the famous Garden Wall when we got to Piegan Pass a few miles distant.
Quickly the trail to the pass revealed itself. That’s the Garden Wall in the distance beyond the pass – one of the gorgeous attractions of the Piegan Pass to Many Glacier hike.
The first view of the pass — Joe and Ben take in their surroundings. The Garden Wall is much more impressive from this distance!
A few minutes later, we all made it! What a view, but I can’t help wondering what’s “over the edge”!
Joe & Neydie are our co-conspirators and hiking buddies – they used to be our neighbors in central Illinois, but when their son Ben decided to take a Physical Therapist job in Whitefish, Montana, they were hooked & moved. Meanwhile, they’re also the ones that introduced us to Lance Campers and a big part of the reason we own a Lance 1685 today. For this trip we flew out and camped with them in their Lance 1885, slightly bigger than our 1685.
Oh yes, back to over the edge … Why is it I can’t stop saying “WOW” every time we round a corner. We’re not in cornland central Illinois anymore, that’s for certain! 🙂
As we hiked down, the Garden Wall and its quickly melting glaciers loomed above us. The hike was spectacular and at this point, none of us had serious blisters. Going down is much harder on David’s feet than going up – his boots, even though well broken in, allow his feet to slide forward just enough to blacken his poor toes. I’m never giving up my boots, they’ll fall off before I replace them!
Little bits of “up” now and then were welcome.
And then then next major attraction of the Piegan Pass to Many Glacier hike came into view, just past the most intense of the huckleberry brush – we were all grateful to escape the bears dining room and enjoy the wide open sights!
We could hear Morning Eagle Falls before we could see it, but the trail emerges to this view and then descends to where we were looking upstream at the falls. Of course, that meant we had to cross the creek, which meant that 3 of the 5 of us had wet feet (inside waterproof hiking boots). Good thing for wool hiking socks. I don’t know how I escaped wet feet, other than knowing my boots are NOT waterproof provided an incentive. For the rest, the water was deeper than the boot tops … oops!
After crossing the creek, the trail led down the valley, providing an excellent view to stop for lunch.
And finally, the lake provided a spot to rest, take off our boots for some of us to let our socks dry a bit. Wading in the crisp crystal clear water revitalized our feet enough to get us back to the campsite before collapsing in the camp chairs.
And another great experience is in the history books. Thanks to Joe & Neydie for allowing us to camp with them for a week and introducing us to the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. We were disappointed not to get to hike Two Medicine, but wildfires and smoke had that area closed. Gotta be flexible and Many Glacier turned out perfect — plus now we have another unexplored part of the park …. guess we’ll have to return! Maybe next summer with our own Lance 1685!
Anyone else hiked Piegan Pass to Many Glacier? Wasn’t it wonderful! Please leave a comment and share! Cheers! Jan