June 29th, 2019
East Glacier mm 99.5 to South Fork Two Medicine River mm 125.5
Distance in miles: 26
I sleep in until almost 6 am! Then Relentless made us all his signature omelet with the leftover veggies from the night before. It was so good. We took it easy and finally hit the trail by 9 a.m. I was in no rush but we had a pretty long 120 plus mile section ahead of us, mostly through the Bob Marshall wilderness. It’s said to be rough, especially compared to the cruisey trails in GNP. I was carrying a lot food, some to last me all 7 days to Lincoln and the rest for 5 days to Benchmark, a resort near the trail where I was having a box sent.
But first we had to make it through the maze of jeep trails leading from town. We got off trail for a bit but the road led us back to the spot we needed to be. The trail was very lush and overgrown. Thankfully there was a strong wind blowing which was keeping the mosquitoes at bay.
Can you spot the trail?
We stopped at a stream and I discovered the best lunch snack. I took a tortilla and stuffed it with string cheese, beef steak jerky, mayonnaise, onion flakes, and cheetos. Yes, that is my diet on trail and this combination was delicious.
We crossed HWY 2 just after lunch. This is the same road that brought me over from Kalispell, so I had already seen this spot. There is a huge memorial to Lewis and Clark. We took some pictures and wondered through a campground to the next trailhead. It began climbing immediately up a steep jeep road. The trail mellowed out but it was clear we weren’t on the nicely manicured trails of the park anymore.
We entered a burn area and the blowdowns began. At first it was only a single tree here and there. But at one point it became such a tangled mess that we lost the trail. Climbing over fallen burnt trees with a fully-loaded pack on is no fun and even a bit dangerous. I could fall and land on a sharp stick. Being as careful as I was, it still tore my legs up pretty bad.
We found the trail by having to bushwhack up a steep hillside. There were more blowdowns but single trees the rest of the way. We got back down to the river and our per-determined campsite.
There were already a few people there, all of which had been behind us setting out. Reverend Turtle, a lady that we had leapfrogged earlier, then told us about the alternate route we could have taken to avoid the blowdowns. It was maybe about 1 mile longer but obviously way faster. We had all been at the HWY at the same time but she had gotten into camp and had time to set up before we got there. Oh well.
Another couple that we had first met at Two Medicine was there. In talking to them, they said that they hadn’t left East Glacier until 11 am but had supposedly pushed really hard to get to this site. Interestingly, they had suddenly done roughly 26 miles 2 hours faster than us, alternate or no. I had to call bullshit on this claim because 2 days earlier, they had said they were doing much shorter days and one of them was a first-time thru-hiker. What I’m pretty sure they did is get a ride from East Glacier to the trailhead on HWY 2, cutting out the 10 lovely miles we did in the morning. I don’t care about whether people hitch the trail or not but they should at least be honest about it when they do. Other thru-hikers are good at calculating times and distances and can easily figure out a bluff. Whatever, hitch your own hike or something like that.
Anyways, since we had stopped earlier for dinner, there wasn’t much to do at camp. Salty made a small fire to keep away the mosquitoes and we sat around it for a bit. It was still light out and eventually we all wondered off to bed.