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Elizabeth Lake Head to Glenns Lake Head, MT
mini location map2019-07-09
46 by photographer avatartibber
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Elizabeth Lake Head to Glenns Lake Head, MT 
Elizabeth Lake Head to Glenns Lake Head, MT
Backpack avatar Jul 09 2019
Backpack9.98 Miles 1,190 AEG
Backpack9.98 Miles   6 Hrs   42 Mns   1.98 mph
1,190 ft AEG   1 Hour   40 Mns Break
1st trip
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Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
July 9th, Day Three of Six: Woke up to several out of the ordinary things: slugs on my tent, snow on Seward and fog over Elizabeth Lake. First thot after picking the slugs off my tent; all the extra weight from a very wet tent as we would not have time to dry it out. Actually the conditions were not ripe for drying out anything for a couple hours. The air was very damp. We had a little breakfast and then packed up camp. We spoke a little with one of our camp mates as they would be heading our way as well. We would, in fact, see them the next day while we were day-hiking to Pyramid Falls. They said they had followed a black bear on the trail for awhile near the Falls.
Our hike today would be heading for Glenns Lake Head (GLH). We were lucky that we were able to get our permit changed to two nites at Glenns Head. Fortunately Tina had just backpacked this area with a group that did the Northern Traverse from Chief Customs to Kintla Lake last summer (56 miles in 7 days with a re-supply at Goat Haunt).

It was a bit buggy (mosquitoey) in the morning as we started on the trail. Everything was fresh smelling altho a tad damp. Fortunately, we would mostly be hiking alongside the lake or in the meadows. There were a few more waterfalls on Seward this morning and the Falls coming down from Natoas had a whole lot more water in them from last nite's rain so that was cool to see. The lake was very calm and very blue. We still had overcast skies with occasional bouts of sunshine. This would continue for most of our hike.

We stopped at Elizabeth Lake Foot to retrieve the rest of our food out of the Bearbox. So now we had that weight along with our wet tents. We visited a moment with some thru hikers (can't remember what route they were doing but I think CDT). They didn't get to camp until midnite last nite after a late afternoon start as they had difficult getting a ride to the Chief Customs TH. If I recall correctly they were hiking thru the tunnel and up Swiftcurrent Pass staying at Granite Park backcountry site (about 18 miles and two big climbs). It's always interesting to chat with folks along the trail. But we had to be on our way.

Next we stopped at Dawn Mist Falls for a bit as Tina rearranged her tent that she had in an outside pocket. It's a downhill hike from here as you make your way to the Belly River Bridge intersection. Just before there we saw the trail crew and mules across the river heading up to the Tunnel to blast it open. Shortly past here we encountered three older ladies from Whitefish that were headed to Helen from Cosley... at least I think it was Cosley. They said they had seen a bear or a moose (I waited too long to write this report). We didn't encounter any wildlife. We told them about the people-high and thick thimbleberry the other side of Elizabeth Lake Head.

Here to Cosley Cut-off was all new trail for both of us. It just kind of meandered with little ups and downs through the forest and stances of thimbleberry as well as Beargrass. We did get somewhat close to the Mokowanis River as we had now left the Belly River drainage but we didn't see it. It didn't seem too long and we could see the tops of the mountains thru the trees and then soon a slight opening indicated the lake was near. You make your way down to the lake outlet and there is a cable you can use to assist as the water has a pretty good flow. We decided this would be a great place for lunch so we hung our here for quite awhile. The lake and its surroundings were outstanding :y: .
Just before we were ready to mount up, less our boots and with our pants pulled up, a couple other hikers approached. I don't recall them taking off their boots though. Anyway, we let the one gal cross first, then Tina, then me and then the Red Bus driver teacher. The two gals were from Choteau. I got video of the crossing. The water was darn cold so when I got out, my toes almost got hot from the dramatic temperature change, ha!

Next up was the junction with the Stoney Indian Pass Trail (part of the Pacific Northwest Trail). We would go west as did the other gals. I think their reservation was at GLF. We would catch them again at the other side of Cosley Lake. This part of the trail is full of meadows too with a lake on one side and mountains to the left, right and in front of you. The trail was in nice condition. There were a group of older men hiking initially behind and then in front of me. I didn't get their full story but I think they were headed up the Pass for the day but then staying at Glenns Lake Foot (GLF). They were avid Glacier Park hikers from what I gathered. You know, I had time to make notes at the end of the day; I wish I had done so.

Once past Glenns Foot it was back into the forest for the rest of our trip to GLH. Just more thimbleberry and beargrass with occasional views of the mountains. Here is where we would encounter some elevation gain. We would also get a little bit of rain; enuf to pull our umbrellas out for awhile. We made pretty decent time considering we weren't in a hurry.

We got a nice tent site pretty much on the lake with a beach and everything :) . At the food court there were a couple other hikers who hadn't left for the day yet. They were just young men but provided somewhat interesting conversation. During the time I sat there enjoying a snack, there were a group of about 5 male hikers that passed by; a couple of them looked pretty spent. I don't know what their destination was but I hoped it was close by.

And soon our backcountry camping mates arrived, altho we didn't know it at the time. We would be camping two nites here and then again at Cosley Lake. David and Stacy are members of the Glacier Mountaineering Society. They actually lead hikes for the group. However, this trip they were attempting 3 different summits. They actually picked up and moved from the St Louis area a few years back just so they could be closer to Glacier Park and fulfill their mountaineering desires. David ended up helping me get my rope unwrapped from the Bear bar which wasn't easy, see the photo. Needless to say they were a very impressive couple. She was a teacher and he owned a very successful lawn service.

After dinner we just hung out at the lake watching the landscape including many waterfalls and a moose across the way.

Video 1 Elizabeth Lake Head to Belly River Bridge intersection (you get to see the loon swimming) [ youtube video ]
Video 2 Bridge to Cosley Lake Cutoff [ youtube video ] including the crossing
Video 3 Crossing Cosley Lake outlet and then on Stoney Indian Pass Trail [ youtube video ]
Video 4 Kaina Creek to Glenns Lake head [ youtube video ]
Common Loon Moose
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Wildflowers Observation Substantial
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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