Monday, August 29, 2011

Dawson - Pitamakin Pass Hike (aka killer marathon hike)

Our second day in Glacier, Grant wanted to attempt an 18 mile hike with an elevantion gain of 2,800ft he had heard about and Ed said was his favorite hike. We started out around 8am since it had taken Ed 12 hours to complete and we didn't want to be back too late. Our plan was to just start out and see how we felt and how far we could make it.

We left the campground on the North Shore trail going around Two Medicine lake. This is a creek on the other end of the lake.

We had a lot of energy at this point ;)

At an intersection on the trail - we're headed to No Name Lake, Dawson Pass and then Pitamakin Pass.

Cool views along the way.

Made it to No Name Lake!

Filtering water because there won't be another opportunity until the other side of both passes.

Once we left the lake the trail started to climb and do some long switchbacks.

These cute little ground squirrels crossed our path several times on the hike ;)

Holy buckets - it is a long ways up and we're not to the top yet - above the trees though now. That lake down there is Two Med where we started.

AH! We made it to the top of Dawson Pass FINALLY! Shortly before this I seriously thought I was going to die. It was very uphill and I kept thinking I saw where the trail went over the top but then when we'd get to that point it kept going. I almost cried ;)

Headed even farther up after Dawson Pass. Check out those sweet mountains in the background.

It was SUPER windy up there - thought we might blow over at some points.

Glacier park has some really pretty valleys.

So once we got to Dawson Pass we were told we'd have to go across a ridge line. Ok, when I picture a ridge line I imagine walking on top of something flat where you can see down both sides. Hm. When we got around a corner we saw this lovely trail ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN! I about cried again. It was like a 2,000ft angled steep slope on the side and we had to walk on a slippery rocky, not flat path. I pretty much crawled part of it ... lol ;)

We got to this part and I thought the traversing part of the trail was over but, oh no, we still had that whole section to do - see that little line across the left of that mountain - that's where we had to go.

Looking down from the point we were at in the last picture you could see this lake called Old Man Lake. That is eventually where we'd be going after we went around the mountain in that last picture. You can see the trail switchbacks on the side of this hill if you look closely.

More scary trail.

Looking back at the scary trail we just finished - it's that white line across that mountain - it was like 4 miles of it!!

And around the corner of the mountain we found this - more scary trail. GAH.

But the scenery was pretty spectacular despite the frightening trails ;)

Standing on Cut Bank Pass looking down at a couple lakes.

Looking down at our next destination - Pitamakin Pass (it's the level saddle part with the trail on top kinda between the mountains).


Old Man Lake from the top of Pitamakin Pass. We're standing on the part you could see from that other picture with the trail switchbacking down the side.

A little animal peeking over the top of a rock at us ;) We think it was a marmot.

Pretty mountain wildflowers along the trail. I feel like the pictures are all a bit deceiving - you should know that at this point we were both exhausted and needed to fill up our water bottles hopefully at the lake below. It was a seriously long hike.

It turned out the trail didn't go right to the lake and we weren't about to go any farther than needed so we filtered water a little ways from the lake at a stream the trail crossed. This view is down the valley we STILL have to walk - yeah - the entire thing all the way around that mountain on the right. I didn't think I'd make it. Both of our feet hurt SO BAD. We stopped and rested several times. All I was thinking is seriously that mountain is not getting any closer. It's still forever away and my feet were hurting and the trail was really rocky and not level so every step HURT.

When we actually did finally get to that end of the mountain I thought I'd be excited but then it felt like it took forever to get around the end. At one point - about a mile from the campground - my feet and knees were pretty much numb and I just wanted to GET THERE - so I started running. Ha! I really didn't even notice my feet hurting then and when I finally got to the campground I whipped off my shoes and ran into the water (well not exactly ran because there were rocks but went as fast as I could). When Grant got there he joined me. It was SO COLD but it felt SO GOOD and I was so glad to be back ;) Ed and Diane came looking for us because Ed had heard from some other hikers where they had met us so he thought he better walk up the trail and offer to carry our pack :) We headed back to their apartment for some spaghetti. It was about 7pm when we got back. It was a gorgeous hike but there were a few points where I thought I wasn't going to make it. Pretty cool to have done it though!


  1. Oh my god, Ashley. This is why we do not vacation together. You are doing too much work! Get yourself a cocktail, and sit by the beach!!

    This is funny though. Hehehehe.

    Also, the pics are beautiful.

  2. P.S. I'm not sure what changed, but your comment form never works for me with my Google account anymore... not from any browser. I can comment by picking the Name/URL option though. Not sure if others are having the same problem. Seems like it changed in the last month or so.

  3. P.P.S. I'm sending some of these pics and stories to Gramma Rosie.


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