Bad Marriage Mountain

BadMarriageMtn            As it always seems to do, summer is slipping quietly by. Erin and I managed an impromptu camping excursion Wednesday to the east side of Glacier National Park, only a few hours north of Missoula. Driving up the east side of Flathead Lake there were many cherry stands in full operation selling what remains of the season’s harvest. Huckleberries were available as well. After having purchased a Glacier National Park annual pass at the western entry and brief consternation, we decided to fight the peak of the summer tourist crowd and drive over the Going To The Sun road. Once beyond Lake MacDonald, it was jammed bumper to bumper with the mid-July visitors. Erin decided not to drive the section though the wheel was offered. We weaved our way up the mountainside among many plates from Texas, Oregon and Washington. For some reason, these three plates really seemed to stand out this trip among the Jammers (traditional red park busses). I believe I read somewhere that Glacier was the most visited national park last year. Each time I drive the popular road I marvel at the engineering feat. Amazing. We snapped a few photos along the route, but continued non-stop over to St. Mary Lake after noting the Logan Pass parking lot was full. There was construction along the scenic St. Mary, but it was not too inconvenient. We recalled a section where young children once sat on a wall below jagged mountains for a photograph. Unfortunately during this mid-week trip Todd had to stay in town for work and Seth had already made other commitments with a soccer buddy. They grow up fast.

Blackfeet horses
            freely meander fields
                            below Mad Wolf

            As I enjoy the Blackfeet Reservation and its rugged, tundra like country landscape, it was once more where we decided to pitch the tent. Following a brief visit to the Browning Trading Post and the Cenex north of town (both regional information sites), we decided to camp below Bad Marriage Mountain in the Cutbank Creek area rather than our traditional site along Lower Two Medicine. We were fortunate to have a freely roaming herd of Blackfeet horses visiting our camping area. Like the local cattle, the horses too freely browse in the fields below the Aspen and Cottonwood stands along the eastern boundary of the park. At the Pinterest link above this post there are references to works written about the Blackfeet, a tribe with a rich history. Erin and I did not take the canoe to boat Lower Two Medicine and the Middle Fork of the Flathead; however, on more lengthy stays, canoeing in the area can be spectacular. One year Todd and I sat in a canoe and photographed a grizzly and her cub along one of Two Medicine’s banks.

summer hail
            birch leaves drifting
                        down Cutbank Creek

            This trip I did bring along a few fly rods and fished sections in the area during the two days. Cutthroat and Brook Trout mostly, downstream from the North Fork of Cutbank Creek’s falls. This is a hike-in area leading to Medicine Grizzly Lake. I was happy I had the large lid, as it came in handy during the blowing rain. The weather reminded me of my favorite time to visit the park, September. It got pretty bitter Thursday, with thunder and hail at the tail-end of our hike. It felt like fall, only the birch were not turning. I texted Todd a photo of a wet and cloudy Two Medicine on the way out and got the “no fair!” reply. Well, he’s heading to Kimberley, BC, just north of Glacier, as I type this late Friday afternoon – a soccer tournament. Fall camping and fishing, however, loom for the future freshman. My take has always been to sincerely treat each season as though it were one’s last.

misty mountains cloak
            Two Medicine as moose graze
                        grass shoots


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