June 24th we saw numerous mule & whitetail deer, a Cinnamon brown bear and a enormous elk buck all before 11am. Then our legs were whipped into a bloody mess by overgrown brush on the trail up to to Spotted Bear Pass. After lunch at icy My Lake we walked in awe under the magnificent Chinese Wall… but before long the wall lost its appeal… it was a never-ending wall and we were only inching along on slushy snow and mud.
Thankfully we had some good glissading once we finally started our descent…. but it was many more miles before we could make our camp along the Sun River.
Glacier and The Bob have been gorgeous but all the snow, mud and river crossings make for slow travel and constantly WET feet.
The Kiwi Krossing
June 23 – Little did we know what was in store for us on our 10th day. We awoke to another sunny day with a likelihood of waist-deep river crossings coupled with hair-raising currents and a chance of snow travel at high altitude. The high mileage day (spurred by the prospects of good camping with a bear bagging set up) wasn’t planned.
The day started nice and easy with good talks of childhood memories over pleasantly shaded forest. As we drew near lunch we met with 4 more thru-hikers to exchange strategies over the looming, double, waist-deep, freezing river ford. Thank goodness for the Kiwi, Rolling Thunder, who had a wad of good techniques up his sleeve….
The first time we attempted the Kiwi Krossing strategy Dan lost his trekking pole down the swift current of the Two Medicine River, but this time we were better prepared and linked in a chain with our arms clasping each others backs/packs we forged through the raging waters without incident.
We continued through the Bob Marshall Wilderness area often hiking the “Continental Divide Creek” since the trail ranged from a slushy snow pile to a sticky mud pit to a swiftly flowing river. We made our way up to a snowy plateau with the Trilobite Mountains arching above us and then, guided by Yas’ superb navigation skills and Nina’s powerful snow-steps, we made our way up to Switchback Pass. Then came the switchbacks….never-ending as we let gravity compel us onward. Finally, around 10pm we finished our 32.5 mile day at a scenic campground by the Pentagon Ranger Station.
Exhausted, elated, asleep!