Three days, 2 Passes, 32 miles in the heart of Glacier NP
We were fortunate to get back country permits for 2 nights from Many Glacier to Poia Lake and over Redgap Pass to Elizabeth Lake and back over Ptarmigan Tunnel, for three days of backpacking. We had all our gear packed and ready, we drove to Many Glacier and parked at the Swiftcurrent Lodge, then we were crazy enough to walk the 2 miles to the trailhead for Poia Lake back along the road, instead of hitch hiking. It’s 6.4 miles from Many Glacier Road to Poia Lake and we just added 2 more miles to our hike. As we ascended the trail Lake Sherburne appeared visible in the valley below, then after 3 miles the trail passes the shore of Swiftcurrent Ridge Lake, where we stopped for a break.
From this Lake the trail descends into the Kennedy Creek Valley, where the trail crosses a series of beaver ponds set among the large aspens. We started to wind our way upward for the final 1.5 miles through gravelly rock gardens to Poia Lake, suddenly we spooked a moose down by the creek and she went running up the mountain on the other side in a flash. When we looked back we could see her hiding in the trees watching us go up the trail. We arrived at Poia Lake very tired after 6 hours of endless walking through the woods. We set up camp in one of the campsites, that sits on a wooded knoll at the foot of the lake, and went to the lake to relax in our camp chairs on the beach, swim in the refreshing water and read. The lake is deep and cold and is surrounded by blocky cliffs on both sides. There were two other groups of campers here: 3 guys from Brooklyn and a young couple from Columbia Falls, who passed us on the trail. The food prep area is a community affair, we all sit together cooking over our jet boils, telling stories and eating our camp food dinners out of bags. After dinner we hang our food bags from the 25 foot high pole so the bears don’t come into the camp and eat our food. As the sun was setting it was time for bed, after a walk on the beach to see the glow of the setting sun it was back to the tent for the night. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading