I haven’t swung a backpack over my shoulders since last October, when I took a quick overnighter on the South Rim Trail at Big Bend National Park.
That’s way too long in my books, so I’m loading up my dehydrated meals, camp stove, sleeping bag and sunglasses and heading to Montana this weekend for a week’s worth of adventuring at Glacier National Park.
Glacier tops my list of favorite parks. I spent a week there about 10 years ago, backpacking for six days from the Kintla Lake trailhead near Polebridge to Chief Mountain trailhead on the east side.
Highlights of that trip? Lots of ripe thimbleberries, which are hands down the best tasting berries on the planet. Skinny dipping in ice-cold Cosley Lake. A park ranger on a giant white horse, tracking a grizzly bear. Crawling on all fours across a stretch of trail with a dropoff so sheer it made me curl up in the fetal position every 100 feet or so. And the best campsite I’ve ever pitched a tent at in my life. That site, called Hole in the Wall, features a huge rock amphitheater carved out by ancient glaciers and gushing with waterfalls. We camped in the middle of it, listening to rushing water and soaking in a remarkable view of the sloping valley floor far below.
This year’s trip will be different. We’re hiking to Granite Chalet, a back country hut with no running water or electricity, but a roof and flat spot to lay a sleeping bag. I’m also signed up for a birding workshop, and am lugging some of my favorite camera lenses along for the trip – something I normally don’t do on a backpacking trip because they weigh too much.
Want to read about my last trip to Glacier? Check it out at https://www.statesman.com/travel/backpacking-through-glacier-national-park-bears-berries-and-bliss/FUj9vchtGlWhgcd6qx9qGO/.
And stay tuned for updates next week after I get out of the woods.