CDT Day 7: Two Medicine Campground to East Glacier – NOBO PCT Camp to Brownie’s Hostel
Miles hiked: 11.5
Total miles: 111.9
6am alarm. Lame. And hitting snooze didn’t make it any easier to wake up. The morning looked dreary through the tent flap gaps, which wasn’t exactly a powerful motivator to get going. But this was going to be a town day! The first one of the trail. Food and showers awaited.
We packed up quietly, not wanting to disturb the slumbering SNOBOs, then got walking up the road out of the campground. It was cold going to begin with, low cloud draped on the treetops like a refrigerated wet blanket. But the weather turned out to be perfect for the big 2,000ft climb out of Two Medicine. We hiked into the cloud, water droplets forming on my beard and mustache, the silvery bark of dead pine trees standing spookily on the Rocky hillside in the dim light.
As we approached what the map labeled a “Scenic Point” I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get a chance to see how scenic it was. But just a hundred feet from the top, the cloud thinned, revealing patches of blue sky. As we walked higher still, we broke out of the low fog completely and I was stunned by what I saw. The high peaks of Glacier rose from a sea of swirling cloud that spread as far as the eye could see across the state. The rest of the world could have been hiding in the fog, or could have not existed at all. We were stranded on one small island of the Glacier archipelago, as isolated from the rest of the world as a sailboat adrift in the Pacific. It was total magic. I had to stop every hundred feet or so for another amazing twirl.
Warm sun accompanied the amazing show for a short while as the trail took us across a bald summit before plunging us back into the cloud. It was again damp walking from there for the last five miles to town, wet plants filling my shoes with icy droplets. The trail was smooth, but our legs were crying for a break after hiking all morning without rest. A big black bear bounced away as we walked into town, then we dodged golf carts as we finally made it to the impressive East Glacier Lodge and their comfy couches.
Food was our priority now, so we moved on to find all the yummy things. Dirty hikers drifted up and down the main street between the diner and grocery store. Now that I am here, trying to piece together a resupply out of expensive Clif bars and Hostess sugarbombs, it finally started to feel like I’m on a thru-hike rather than a long backpacking trip. This is a legit town day with legit responsibilities. Eat, resupply, shower, eat. That is the order of business. A lot to do, but it will get done. Somehow it always does.