Glacier/Waterton, Part 1 – Many Glacier/Belly River

I am a little late to get this posted, but back in September my sister, her fiancee, and their friend joined me on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park. Our original plans ended up getting scrapped due to fires and bear activity. The park service did an awesome job re-routing us so we could still complete a multi-day trip. We ended up with a 3 night trip in the¬†Belly River / Many Glacier area. None of our days required a lot of hiking which was good for me as I was fighting off a cold ūüôĀ

We started our trip at the Chief Mountain/Belly River trailhead and hiked to the foot of Elizabeth Lake. From Elizabeth Lake, we hiked to the Bear Mountain overlook and then onto the head of Glenns Lake. The next morning we made a short trip up to Mokowanis Lake before going to our final campsite of Cosley Lake.

At the trailhead

We saw a moose within the first mile of starting our hike…

The first few miles were mostly walking through sections of forests which then opened up into big fields. We saw a black bear in one field, but he was too far off to get a good photo.

We made sure to report our bear siting at the ranger station

Shortly after, we reached Belly River where we had to cross a swinging bridge.

We followed the trail for awhile along the river.

We eventually came across a waterfall. I believe it is named Dawn Mist Falls?

We eventually made it to camp at Elizabeth Lake. We hung out beside the lake for a bit hoping for a good sunset, but didn’t see much. It was still a nice view.

The next morning we started our hike to Glenns Lake. We had to backtrack slightly so we got to see the waterfall again.

Instead of crossing the swinging bridge like we had the day before, we continued along the river until we came to Cosley Lake.

We had to take our shoes off to cross the creek at the lake. Brrrrrrr. It was a little chilly. We set one the rocks for a little bit after soaking in the sun and letting our feet dry off before putting our boots back on and continuing on.

Since Glenns Lake wasn’t much further and it wasn’t even lunch yet, we decided to take a detour to Bear Mountain Overlook and have lunch there. It is a bit of a climb up there, but the view makes it worth it.

Clouds started forming as we climbed down the mountain. Glenns Lake was only a few miles away, but had clouded over by the time we arrived.

The next morning we decided to leave our stuff at Glenns Lake and hike to¬†Mokowanis Lake. The sky was still very clouded over so we weren’t sure how much we would be able to see.

We ran into a deer along the trail – he seemed to be more interested in eating and completely ignored us.

From there we headed back to camp, grabbed our stuff, and headed to Cosley lake for our final night. I didn’t take many photos as most of our trail was backtracking from the day before.

At the end of the evening, we got to sit by Cosley lake and watch the last rays of sun hit the mountains. It was the best (and only) sunset we had the entire trip.

I believe Cosley Lake is also where we were awoken during the night to the bugle of an elk. And then some nice fog across the lake in the morning!

From Cosley Lake, we headed back to our original start – Chief Mountain/Belly River trailhead. We got an early start as we needed to find a campsite for the night (see note above about fires/bear activity) and knew that meant we had to get to the permit office early.

We passed a nice waterfall before joining back in with the original trail we came in on.

And then some supplies being brought in…

Day 5: Olympic National Park

We made a quick stop at Ruby beach on the way to Sol Ducky Falls after hiking out from Pony Bridge. They say Ruby beach is one of the most photographed beaches. It was cool, but not nearly as cool as Cape Alava.

IMG_4492

We setup camp at the Sol Duc Campground for our last night. This is a drive up campground that we reserved a few months in advance. I am glad we reserved in advance as there were no more sites left. After setting up camp, we hiked to Sol Duc Falls.

After finishing our hike, we headed back to our campsite. There was a creek not too far from our site so we carried our chairs and beers down there. I really wish we didn’t have to leave so soon!¬†IMG_4630

Day 4: Olympic National Park

Day 4 started off cloudy and a bit drizzly. We packed up and hiked the 3 miles back to the Ozette Lake trailhead.

From there, we began the drive to Lake Quinault. We made a quick stop at the Kalaloch Lodge for lunch and beer.

IMG_4129

We drove up to the Graves Creek trailhead – what a pretty drive! We saw numerous waterfalls and even a deer.

From the Graves Creek trailhead we started our hike to Pony Bridge.

We setup camp at Pony Bridge and then followed the creek upstream for a bit. The water was very pretty and blue! I wish we could have kept going and had a chance to check out the Enchanted Valley area.

 

Day 3: Olympic National Park

We woke up at Cape Alava to find it very cloudy. Daniel woke up a bit later than me – I had already had breakfast and packed up most of my stuff. We decided to split up for a bit and meet up closer to Sand Point (~ 3 miles away).

IMG_3745
View from my tent

I explored a bunch of the tidal pools. I wish I could have taken more photos, but the reflection from the water made it difficult. I saw a bunch of crabs exploring and lots of washed up rope/buoys.

I only made it about a mile and a half when Daniel caught up with me. We continued on to Sand Point where we began looking for a campsite. Most of the sites were covered with drift wood. We finally settled on one of the first ones we found… after an hour of exploring and trying to find the “best” one.

Like the day before, we left our stuff at the campsite site and continued exploring along the beach. We found a busted up kayak and part of a ship.

We made dinner on the beach – Annie’s White cCheddar Mac and Cheese with Honey Baked Ham – one of my favorites! There wasn’t much of a sunset with so many clouds, but we did get to watch some otters splash in the water. They were a bit too far away to capture with my camera.

IMG_4077-Pano

Day 2: Olympic National Park

We woke up the second morning at Lake Crescent to find it raining even harder then the day before. This made packing up our stuff not the most enjoyable experience. We crammed all of our wet gear into the car and headed for the coast.

We made a quick stop at Clallam Bay to stretch our legs, take some photos, and for Daniel to collect some rocks.

IMG_3555

From there, we continued our drive onto Lake Ozette. The hike from the Ozette trailhead to Cape Alava was about 3 miles and consisted of a ton of board walks. It was very different from our experience at Lake Crescent! What was really interesting is the number of small creeks we passed along the boardwalk, and how brown the water was. The park ranger warned us in advance that the water would be very dark brown due to the trees, but still safe to drink if filtered.

After 3 miles, we finally caught a glimpse of the ocean! We wanted to explore some more since it was still early afternoon so we found a good campsite and dropped our stuff.

After setting up camp, we grabbed the essentials and headed north along the beach. We only went a mile or two before we had to turn back because of the incoming tide.

Once back at camp, I went ahead and pulled out my food for dinner and set it on a log. This was a major newbie mistake and I should have known better… while we were drinking our wine (hey, it was only a 3 mile hike!), a crow swooped in and stole my food! Luckily I had packed extra so it wasn’t a huge ordeal… I won’t make that mistake again! After dinner, we hung out by our campfire and watched the sunset. What a gorgeous view!

Day 1: Olympic National Park

We woke up at Lake Crescent to find it still¬†drizzling… we would find this to be the the theme most of our trip. After a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon, we headed over to the rangers station off of Hurricane Ridge to get permits for the week. We had originally planned to go back to Lake Crescent and go kayaking, but due to the weather, decided to opt for a hike¬†instead.

We drove up the road along the Elwha River. We stopped to check out the remnants of the old dam and a few creeks along the road.

We continued up Whiskey Bend Road to the trailhead for Goblin Gates.

The hike to Goblin Gates was fairly easy. We ate lunch on a rock which hung out over the water.

IMG_3364

After lunch, we decided to head up the river a bit more and then cut back to the main trail.

IMG_3396

On the drive back to Lake Crescent, we we stopped to check out Madison and Marymere Falls.

 

Day 0: Olympic National Park

IMG_3191.jpg

Daniel and I left Seattle mid-day Sunday and drove to Olympic National Park. It rained almost the entire drive. We arrived at the Fairholme campsite around 5 pm Рa drive up site located on Lake Crescent. The site has just opened for the season and we found ourselves the only campers the first night. Since none of the sites were occupied, we were able to grab the best site Рa spot in the corner located on the lake.

IMG_3275

We set our hammocks and tents since we would be there two nights. I slept in my hammock both nights, but kept all of my gear in my tent. I was pretty disorganized when we first arrived Рbeing able to organize it all in my tent out of the rain was crucial.

I was also a little nervous to sleep in my tent as the temperature was dropping fast as we setup camp. I recently purchased an under quilt from UGQ. This was my first time using it… if I got too cold during the night, I figured I would hop into my tent. The quilt¬†worked great and I was able to stay in my hammock both nights!