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North Shore Trail to Twin Falls - 2 members in 5 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 03 2018
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 29,555
 Triplogs 1,151

66 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Upper Two Medicine Lake via North Shore, MT 
Upper Two Medicine Lake via North Shore, MT
 
Hiking avatar Aug 03 2018
tibber
Hiking7.99 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking7.99 Miles   4 Hrs   22 Mns   2.14 mph
800 ft AEG      38 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
writelots
I sure didn't want to do a big hike today and even though this wasn't necessarily a big hike, it was more than what I had in mind. However, we were going to be hiking with Bill, Jim, McKenzie and another friend of theirs, Nina, that had driven quite a ways to be here so I had to buck up as they say and go for it. At least we were going to be hiking it from the North Shore Trail and that would be fun to hike below Rising Wolf directly.

So after getting our breakfast, a huge cinnamon roll that was very good, we car pooled over to Two Medicine via Starr School Road rather than over on 89 so as to avoid the construction delay. I can't believe after all these decades they are just now deciding to straighten out a part of 89 between Kiowa Loop and St Mary. This meant traversing through Browning which is always a bit of an adventure. We did get to see some bison on Hiwy 2 and of course, the views to the mountains, in spite of the smoke, is always quite the sight.


We parked in the overflow lot at Two Medicine and watered and geared up for our day around 9:30AM. It looks like in low water you can cross the inlet between Two Med and Pray Lake but most of us decided to walk around. Wendy and McKenzie took their boots off to cross and met us when we finally got over there. First we had to go around the east side of Pray Lake which I had only really seen on maps but never in person so that was kind of cool. You cross a nice bridge over Two Medicine Creek where there is a notice posted about another bridge on the Pitamakan Trail that is out. This trail is also considered Dawson Pass Trail and part of the Continental Divide (CDT) Trail but today we were hiking it as North Shore Trail.

You are in and out of the forest and are in and out of views toward the lake. McKenzie took off way ahead while the rest of us lingered back from time to time to check out the flora. Bill's friend Nina had good knowledge of the fir trees and she was showing us the difference in pine cones. Most of us also like to know the flora so we were IDing some as we went. We crossed a couple dry drainages and then I came upon some stalled hikers. They said they could see a bear and I finally saw a little bit of fur. Well this little bit of fur was suddenly up the tree and was obviously a cub. In spite of bad lighting, I snapped away and got a couple good pics before it decided to make haste back down the tree and away. As we progressed through here we yelled aggressively but momma was nowhere to be seen. We were so pleased to have seen that cute little cub.

But now, onward we traveled encountering a few folks along the way as we got closer to the triple intersection. We paused here for a moment for Jim's remembrance. As we walked forward we got a couple glimpses of Pumpelly's Pillar through the trees. Our next stop was Twin Falls which is just slightly off the main trail. This year there were only a few people here vs last year and only the one falls was flowing. There was a log below the main falls and both Wendy and McKenzie walked out on it. You can also climb up to the north falls which a couple people had done.

Now that the group was all back together, we needed to complete that last mile and 1/2 or so to the Upper Two Medicine Lake. We passed by the little lake in front of it as you go slightly up to get to the main lake. We looked for wildlife but didn't see any. We got to the Lake and had our snack in the Food Prep area which is pretty close to it. This would be a great area for a beginner or "easy does it" backpack. You have beautiful scenery. One of the backpackers had arrived and he had a huge bear canister with all sorts of food stuff in it. He was apparently carrying it for the group. You don't need bear canisters in Glacier, just a bear bag and technically a lot of people just use regular dry bags. And here at Upper Two Med they actually have a bear box.

We all used the privy and met at its intersection where there also happened to be a lot of Subalpine Spiraea. On our way out we took them over to the little waterfall of Two Medicine Creek we saw last year and there was definitely a little more water flow. As we headed back to the boat dock we encountered quite a few more people including parents looking for their children. As we were crossing the bridge over Two Medicine Creek we also ran into one of the groups that came off the boat for a little hike and were heading back. From here you walk through a heavily forested area with lots of ferns and little bogs here and there. We found a couple huckleberries and other berry bushes as well.

We got to the boat dock and it looked like we wouldn't make the boat as it would be full. Ticketed passengers have priority. We enjoyed the tide coming in and out and played a game with others about guessing what the person was thinking about (rock, place, flora, animal, etc) with a couple hints provided. If you have to be left waiting, this is not a bad place as the scenery is pretty fabulous. Last year we watched some goats up on the side of the hill. The boat dropped off the other passengers and came to get those of us left at the beach and we filled the boat up again. They never leave anybody behind. Another boat would be coming on the schedule. We did see two law enforcement folks come up and get out and then they were back in their boat not too far from us so I'm not sure what that was about.

We all said our farewells as Bill was headed to Gt Falls for his early flight, the others were heading back to the KOA as they were driving and I think heading out the next day while Wendy and I headed to Kalispell. I had heard the others discussing eating at Serrano's in E Glacier but because of the delay in getting on the second boat, they apparently changed their mind.

Serrano's first sitting fills quickly if you aren't in line. We went to get fuel just down the street and thot what the heck, let's go see what the fuss is all about; even though we get our good fill of Mexican food in Arizona. We got the last table so we had to wait awhile before we got our food. The chips and salsa were great. Across the way was a family with an older fella that was a retired Red Jammer driver. Our food did turn out to be pretty good. Wendy's burro was gigantic.

Sue, the glacierchatter we had met on the Highline and in the room next to us at the Chalet, happened to be eating there as well and came over to say hello. We would run into them again across the street at the Glacier Park Trading store as I had to get some huckleberry ice cream. You should have seen the berries in that ice cream, oh my! We walked around the store even though we had been in there a little over a week ago. It's a great shop and the Two Medicine Grill is right next door. Alas it was time to head for Kalispell so back we went but not before stopping at Apgar to return our bear spray. On our way back out to the highway we got to see a nice little buck.

The next morning we were up at 4:15 AM or so as I had to catch a 6AM flight. Wendy was now in full-blown cold mode and she had a week to go as she was participating in the Bob Marshall Wilderness work vacation which involves lots of sawyering; a newly acquired skill. Sadly my flights were just not providing much in the way of photo ops so I was able to get a much needed nap.


[ youtube video ] from Two Medicine to and on the North Shore Trail (additional bear cub pics are in this video
[ youtube video ] North Shore Trail to Twin Falls
[ youtube video ] Twin Falls to Upper Two Medicine Lake
[ youtube video ] Upper Two Medicine Lake to boat dock and boat ride
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
_____________________
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.
1 archive
Aug 14 2017
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 29,555
 Triplogs 1,151

66 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Upper Two Medicine LakeNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2017
tibber
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,024 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.00 mph
1,024 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
After louszy weather yesterday we arrived at our little cabin at St Mary KOA. We did some laundry and ordered a salad and then had dinner using some of our groceries we had bot at the grocery store a few days prior. We reviewed various hiking options for the following day. I had wanted to do Piegan Pass but Wendy was getting the cold I had and she was gimping so we needed to find something a little less challenging and came up with this hike.

But first, we had to drive to East Glacier cuz tibber needed her Grizzly Rolls and though Rock n Roll Bakery didn't have them, we were able to get them at Glacier Park Trading Co just up the street. However, the bakery did have some Huckleberry Pie so we got a couple pieces of that to take for later. I also picked up the book Seasonal Disorder by the local ranger Pat Hagan for Wendy. It's a great read. As we came out we saw that there were Rainier cherries for sale down the highway so we walked over and got a big bag of those. I cannot tell you how big and juicy and tasty those cherries were :y: . One more stop at the Spiral Spoon where Wendy purchased a handcrafted wooden spoon... this store was full of them in all sizes and shapes and kinds of wood.


We stopped at the Two Medicine Ranger Station to pick up a map and get a suggestion for the best route. We had just missed the Ranger Pat Hagan guided hike to Upper Two Medicine. I've hiked with him in 2013 (Dawson Pass) and 2014 (Rockwell Falls). However, as luck would have it, we would meet him and the group on the trail as they were coming back from Upper Two Med. He said he recognized me when we met.

Oh ya, about the hike.
It was a lovely day as we started from the boat dock area and actually hiked a section I had done back in 2014. Today's weather was much nicer so things looked a little different. We stopped and admired the beaver pond as we continued along the South Shore Trail and crossed Aster Creek. Wendy decided we should go up to Aster Falls; and though I had seen it in 2014 I said sure as it's not very far off the main trail. I'm glad we made this side trip as we were able to get a good view of the falls. We were able to get down further in the creek to see the whole falls as it was so much later in the year and there wasn't so much water blocking your ability to get a good look at the Falls.

From there we continued on past Paradise Creek which is partially fed by Rockwell Falls and flows into Two Medicine Lake. There are a few trails that split off from this South Shore Trail and there is lots of signage along the way. All of the hike has been in the forest with a few openings here and there showing you views in different directions to the mountains around you. We come thru a bit of a clearing that shows us a nice portrait of Sinopah before going back up into the forest and eventually down toward the lake. As you are above the lake of course you have nice views of the west part of Rising Wolf and the south of Flinsch Peak. And if you stop, you can look all the way down to the other side of the lake where the Two Medicine store is (part of the old Chalet).

Once down to the lake you veer left onto the Two Medicine Trail. Here is where you run into some more people traffic as the Twin Falls is a short but easy hike for people to reach. Altho, it wasn't that busy today. We stopped at Twin Falls where there was a backpacking contingent resting up (not sure where they came from but they were headed to Upper Two Med as we would encounter them not far from there on our way back). The Twin Falls are nice but with all the wood debris, not that scenic. So we continued on up the trail. Some other hikers along the way kept telling us about the moose in the pond so we were looking foward to that as the valley opened up with views of the mountains all around us.

We finally reached the area above the pond and saw the moose. This is also where we met up with Ranger Pat Hagan's group coming back from Two Medicine. We only got to say hi as I suspect he was running late to catch the boat. Wendy said his mouth was pretty purple; ya, even the rangers like their huckleberries :lol: . We spent a bit of time trying to get good pics of the moose; had to do some serious zooming. We would see others with their fancier cameras trying to get that ideal moose photo.

And now on to our final destination. There was a wide area just before you reached the lake. We passed the campground which looked really nice with a bear box and nice seating area. We spent a little time at the lake admiring the views of the surrounding mountains. This was not necessarily the best time of day to be here for photos but it's still so pretty. We had a snack and then headed on back. We took a little detour to what we thot was a bit of a waterfall and that's about all we saw. But the color of the bedrock and mountain ash and the vista to the east was really quite something if you imagine yourself being a glacier.

We enjoyed our hike back to the boat and stopped to take some more pics of the moose that was still eating in the pond. We imbibed in some more berries along the way. We arrived at the lake and waited with the others hoping we would all be able to fit on the boat. There were kids playing in the lake, ducks swimming on the lake and a couple mountain goats far above the lake. We all fit and enjoyed our ride back to the dock; not bad for $6 or so. And you pay when you get back to the main dock. Now for our drive for dinner on Looking Glass Road to St Mary to Babb. The ultimate hiking reward, dinner at the Cattle Baron Club that includes a t-bone steak cooked to perfection and tasting YUMMY! (see the last photo in the set)

to Aster Falls and Paradise Creek [ youtube video ]
Paradise Creek area to Twin Falls [ youtube video ]
Twin Falls to Upper Two Medicine lake and THE moose [ youtube video ]
Upper Two Medicine Lake to Two Medicine Lake [ youtube video ]
Boat Ride on Two Medicine Lake from upper west shore [ youtube video ]
Culture
Culture
HAZ Food
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
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.
1 archive
Aug 14 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 40
 Photos 5,607
 Triplogs 340

48 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Upper Two Medicine LakeNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2017
writelots
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,024 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.00 mph
1,024 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
I loved this little day hike. We'd had more ambitious plans, but I felt a cold coming on and with the air quality still low, we figured that keeping it easy would be a better plan. Of course, 9 miles is hardly "easy" - but with as little elevation gain as this hike offered and the long hiking day, we were able to cruise. The plus side were that we had more huckleberries (yay!) and a moose sighting to make our day more interesting.

I think that camping at Upper Two Medicine would be a great entry-level backpack in Glacier. With the boat ride, it would be a very short hike, with a big payoff at the end and a lovely campsite. Of course, if weather turned, you could get back in a shake.
Flora
Flora
Cow Parsnip
Fauna
Fauna
Moose
Named place
Named place
Aster Falls Sinopah Mountain
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jul 08 2013
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 29,555
 Triplogs 1,151

66 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Dawson Pass GNP, MT 
Dawson Pass GNP, MT
 
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2013
tibber
Hiking8.65 Miles 2,448 AEG
Hiking8.65 Miles   6 Hrs   41 Mns   2.07 mph
2,448 ft AEG   2 Hrs   30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I woke up to a blistery morning at the Rising Sun, gathered my things, had a quick breakfast at Two Dog Flats restaurant and headed on my way to the Two Medicine Valley. I stopped a couple times to take pictures of the ominous weather. I also pulled over at the stone bridge that crosses St Mary River as I had never stopped there before. At least it wasn’t raining.

I continued the drive taking the beautiful and windy Kiowa Loop (Hwy 49) off of 89. It’s such an incredible drive that you have to go somewhat slowly due to road conditions. As I drove down the Two Medicine road and running a little late, of course I run into a bear jam :oplz: . Fortunately I was at the tail end of the entertainment so I arrived at the boat dock with 10 minutes to spare. I had made my reservation so I just had to show ID and gather my gear. The weather was still very tenuous but we were on our way.


Before taking off, Ranger Pat Hagan had us do a name remember game. A fellow hiker was Spruce Bruce, I was Angel Angela, Richie Rich, Pat on the back and I already forgot the other two, shoot! Anyway, the older couple, probably in their 60s had done this hike way back. The other couple was originally from China but now living in CA; this was their 4th trip to GNP I think.

As you start walking on the lovely trail you are overwhelmed by the green of the flora and the trees :) . This sense would continue until you got out of the treeline. Ranger Hagan kept a pretty decent pace so you’ll hear me breathing a little harder than normal on the videos. He did stop a few times to give us some information and he had a lot :wrt: ; all of it fun to hear. He taught Blackfeet language and had been a ranger for 27 years originally from Anaconda MT but now living in East Glacier I believe.

He had great stories and a wonderful sense of humor which came in handy as we started the serious part of the two part climb. Fortunately, the elderly lady got a little more winded than me from time to time so I got to rely on her stopping almost as much as me (sorry to say). Ranger Hagan would show us a couple times where the bears had been rubbing on the trees and that’s where fir trees really got their name :lol: . He would talk about many of the plants and was familiar with their medicinal uses. He actually tried most of them with interesting results but most true to their use.

As we gained altitude, I mean elevation, Pompelly’s Pillar (7620 feet - This glacially carved, cone-shaped rock is named after Raphael Pumpelly, leader of the Northern Transcontinental Railway Survey party that crossed Pitamakan Pass in 1883.) loomed like a skinny pyramid high above you. Ranger Hagan said, “and just think, when you get to the Pass, you will have climbed past the height of the Pillar”. OMG!!! (you have to see the picture of the Pillar from where we were looking) What was cool about the Pillar is that it turns into a shield as you hike to the other side of it. The Indians had a different and more appropos name for it (maybe the point of an arrow shape?) but I forgot that too. You will see in the pics. It’s no wonder I can't identify a mountain when you’re looking at it from a different side :doh: .

Not too far from you is a hillside of Fool’s Huckleberry. WOW, that is amazing. Good thing it’s Fool’s as otherwise you’d never be able to hike here due to a huckleberry-feeding frenzy by bears :scared: . After winding thru some switchbacks about ½ way into the hike the trail levels for a while. That’s a nice surprise. Since we hit the No Name Lake junction, I thot we might be going over there but apparently not. It is also a camping spot.

We edged our way up and up and up; still a wonderful trail despite some deadfall we had to go over and under. We eventually reached what the ranger called the “official” end of the hike. What this meant is that we now had snowfields ahead and you could choose to continue or not. The older couple decided they would be better off not going but 3 of us wanted to continue. Fortunately, every year that I’ve been hiking in the Park, I’ve had to do snowfielding. Two of the fields were just fine but one was just a bit nerve-wracking. However, as long as you have 3 points of contact, you’re generally good to go.

It started getting windier and a little colder as we finished off the snowfields. I had been sweating but am delighted to report, those micro-fiber shirts really do the job so I was neither cold nor wet. We donned our jackets because as you near the top, it is like a wind tunnel and when the sun isn’t out, it is darn right nippy (Joe, we need a cold emoticon - I know you could have used one a couple times this summer). Ranger Hagan said to be prepared for an incredible view as you came up over the pass so with camera in movie mode, up we went to finish off this glorious climb. And you know, yep, it was everything you can imagine and more :y: . The pictures I had seen don’t even do it justice.

There is just so much to see even as the wind rips around you. We all took picture after picture after picture. I took two movies of almost the exact same scene pano just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The sun even came out for a few wonderful minutes. You got to look across to some of the tallest peaks in the Park as you overlooked the Nyack Valley and a few little lakes WAY below. Ranger Hagan didn’t put any pressure on us to leave any sooner than we wanted but the wind and chill did.

We would hike about a ½ mile or so I think to a lunch spot secluded from the wind right on the trail. I was starved as we only stopped very briefly for a Tibber snack. It took us four hours and 2400 feet in about 4.5 miles to make the Pass and it was now 2PM at this stop. So we scarfed down our lunches, and got back on the trail with an incredible view of Two Medicine Lake, No Man Lake and the snowfields on Mount Helen with Mount Pompelly still showing off its shield :D .

The Ranger had another surprise. He wanted to boot-ski down the biggest and steepest snowfield. WHAT? Are you crazy? I’ve never heard of boot-skiing. So he puts on his gators and tells us to wait for him around the corner at the middle of the snowfield (where the dirt separated it). Well who are we to stop a ranger from pursuing his fun time. Yep, got it on video; pretty cool :worthy: .

After that excitement, it was time to get 'er on down the trail. After all, we have a boat to catch. As we got lower the skies got darker and then boom, the thunder started and the sound of the wind or was it rain? Anyway, we had to put on some after jets; where this might normally might not be too bad, I had just hiked over 13.5 miles the day before so I wasn’t sure how long I could keep that up : rambo : ; especially at this steep level.

But get this, in the next 1 ½ hours I only took 18 pictures…. 18. Of course, the light rain deterred some of that and the fast pace…but still. The Ranger apologized for making us bust our way down but he was concerned about the weather. He had already called ahead to let the boat know we would be arriving 10-15 minutes late. Well when we got there, the boat hadn’t even arrived yet (may have done so on purpose) but would shortly.

As we boated back to port, the rain started to come down lightly and as we left the boat it was coming down hard. I sat in my car and had a snack before driving away. I had debated running over to Glacier Park Lodge as I thot there might be some relatives there but the weather deterred that. As I was rounding the hill far above Two Medicine Lake, the sun broke through and I stopped a few times to get pictures. As I got back over to the St Mary side though, the weather got a bit tenuous again.

My mission however, was to find a piece of huckleberry pie. Not at Park Café but no surprise so I thot I would try Johnson’s restaurant up on the hill; I asked if they had huckleberry pie and the waiter said yes. Come to find out, not exactly as I didn't say huckleberry ice cream pie. Normally I would have gone for it but the piece could feed a big bear and her cubs. So I had to be satisfied with the stew and homemade bread with no dessert. I was not deterred as there was one more restaurant over at St Mary Lodge. There I had to be satisfied with a couple scoops of huckleberry ice cream but it was better than nothing. I finished the nite off by picking up a huckleberry wheat lager beer from the camp store at Rising Sun.

This is such an incredible area that I definitely want to spend more time in. I would love to do the Dawson-Pitamakan Loop. It's a few miles longer plus the boat would not be an option due to timing. However, you could take it if you didn't start til 9AM; you would miss it on the way back.


Video 1 - stop at St Mary stone bridge, start of hike: http://youtu.be/Nap7xHrMykA
Video 2 - hiking up and up: http://youtu.be/9EqaldYt3s8
Video 3- getting to the Pass and the boot-skiing: http://youtu.be/i59zzKvVcJk
Meteorology
Meteorology
Snow
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
thimbleberry, fool's huckleberry, paintbrush, glacier lily, moss campion, globe flower
_____________________
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.
Jul 06 2008
Grasshopper
avatar

 Guides 47
 Routes 487
 Photos 8,980
 Triplogs 551

76 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
North Shore Trail to Twin FallsNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 06 2008
Grasshopper
Hiking7.00 Miles 725 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   3 Hrs      2.33 mph
725 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This hike into scenic paradise is easy to follow, well maintained, with little elevation gain, and parallels the north shore of the "very" scenic Two Medicine Lake. The first .5ml provides wonderful views of the lake, as well as panoramic vistas of the dominant 9513' Rising Wolf Mtn. to the north. Just across the lake to your left is the much photographed 8271' Sinopah Mtn. with 8164' Appistoki Mtn to the south...all just a picture perfect setting!

The mighty "Twin Falls"..a very unique set of falls that is technically cascades, but that makes them no less impressive! Beautiful wildflowers reside at the base of these two side-by-side falls. This impressive falls is fed by major drainage's further up the Dawson Pass TR and from an upper lake called "No Name Lake" off this same trail.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
1 archive
average hiking speed 2.11 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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