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2021-08-13  
2018-07-27  
Pitamakan Pass Trail to Oldman Lake, MT
mini location map2021-08-13
29 by photographer avatartibber
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Pitamakan Pass Trail to Oldman Lake, MT 
Pitamakan Pass Trail to Oldman Lake, MT
 
Backpack avatar Aug 13 2021
tibber
Backpack7.03 Miles 2,187 AEG
Backpack7.03 Miles   5 Hrs   21 Mns   1.71 mph
2,187 ft AEG   1 Hour   14 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 1 of 3: This was supposed to be our second backpack of our Glacier Park stay but weather precluded the first one to Gunsight Lake. (We ended up hiking 6 days in a row, 3 of them pre-planned.) I would meet Tina and Laura (another glacierchatter) at the Two Medicine Ranger Station as Tina had to run to Cut Bank to get her Covid-travel test in order to get back into Canada on the 15th. So we got a late start on what was to be a slightly warm day for the Park. We parked our cars at the campground and were lucky to find the last two spots in this area. The loop we were getting ready to do is also very popular with day hikers and doing it counterclockwise from Pray Lake is considered the easier route.

We geared up and headed across the Two Medicine River pedestrian bridge and would be taking the right (north) fork to skirt around the base of Rising Wolf Mountain. This would be all new territory for me until the Pass itself where Wendy and I were in 2018 on a day hike. This is also part of the CDT.

We would be walking in and out of shade and up and down a couple little hills before the landscape opened up as we swung west with Spot Mountain in the distance to the NNE. Soon we would be crossing and hiking next to the Dry Fork that spills into Two Medicine Creek to the east. Just a little past where we walked across the bridge over the dry Dry Fork (however, it was running up higher as we headed west), we saw another hiker and looking at the map, there is another trail that takes you back to the Two Medicine Entrance Station 2.6 miles from here called, you guessed it, the "Dry Fork Trail". We took a break a little ways after a wet drainage that was coming from a small lake above us to the north (between Spot and Red Mountains). It had some great flora along its banks :) .

We continued our trek up the Dry Fork valley. It was mostly open until the last mile or so where you gained in elevation. In the hazy distance you could see Flinsch Peak and Mount Morgan. I could also see the wet portion of the Dry Fork off to my left (SW) so I would do some occasional zooming to get a closer look. We would cross a couple more drainages and started to see some day hikers from time to time. We also saw a couple of grouse that weren't sure if they wanted to stay on the trail or not so we waited for them to decide before proceeding.

In the far distance I could see water falls. I thot they were flowing from Young Man Lake or Boy Lake but after further Rx, I think it was Lake 6182 below Rising Wolf. The water eventually flows into the Dry Fork. Wish it wasn't so hazy as the zoomed pictures didn't turn out that well. As we entered into the forest permanently the trail crew had built these very nice steps and it seemed from here, Huckleberry Heaven began :y: . Yes, I had to pull over to imbibe. Some other hikers saw us and asked if they were huckleberries. I would be surprised to find how few people knew about these lush berries but I guess that's not a bad thing as it leaves more for me and the bears :D .

Shortly we would encounter two people that had stayed at the Chalet and that we had met about a mile from Ahern Pass two days ago. We exchanged phone numbers as she wants to do some hiking in AZ. They are very good hikers from Maryland. That's what I love about Glacier as this happens more often than not you run into people you know. As we got nearer the junction to the campground, we were told by some hikers that there was a bear and cub around. But as usual, we would see neither hide nor hair of her but we did keep an eye out. Also in this area you start to see lots of silver trees. The short side path down to the lake travels through a ghostly forest of dead whitebark pines, the result of white pine blister rust, a fungal disease that was accidentally introduced from Europe around 1900.

We did have to take our time on this hike as Laura hasn't been out backpacking for quite some time so she had to get her sea legs. She is quite the hiker/backpacker and has been all over the park. We used her large MSR 10L Water Gravity Filter so that would save us a few trips to fetch water for our trip. On our hike down to get water at Oldman (Old Man) Lake, two people had just come out from their swim. We kept our eye out for Momma Bear and I can see why she would use this as her entrance to the lake as it's steep and rugged around the edges.

Soon a big group of guys came in to the food prep area. They were being led by a Glacier Guide. They were very tired as they had come from Upper Two Medicine. They were Ivy League college buddies that had united for this trip. They were a lot younger than they looked which surprised me. Tina and I made our tries at the bear pole food hang. Tina nailed it and I once again, wrapped my string again but we were able to get it undone without too much effort.

After cocktails and dinner, we went up to our very nice campsite and hung out sitting in our chairs. It was a lovely evening, perfect weather.


3 videos:
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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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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