02 September 2010

hike: glacier national park, goat haunt (waterton lake)

Unnamed lake, where we stopped for water.
We ate dehydrated, vacuum sealed maple cinnamon toast with rehydrated apples (found here) for breakfast -- not too bad, if I may say so, but then I am a huge fan of any breakfast served on toast.  The toast was bulky to carry, so have it early in the trip.  We ended up chatting at length with two of the guys in our camp.  They had been brought in by horse (though the horses had been taken back to the trailhead).  I clenched my jaw and refused the real cream one of the men offered me to put in my coffee, simply because it had been brought in by a horse.  I don't like what horse packing does to the trails, let's just leave it at that.  As we chatted with the guys, we came to find out that they were plain-clothed Border Patrol agents.  They told us about how they get the hard job of hanging out in GNP (since it abuts the Canadian border) for a spell during the summer.  I was surprised at how forward they were with us, which made me a little skeptical, though it explained (but didn't soften my attitude towards) the horse packing. 

After breakfast, we packed up our gear and headed towards Goat Haunt.  We stopped at an unnamed lake glacial blue lake, and later, at Lake Francis, we could hear thunder, and by the time we were ready to go again, the storm was nearly on top of us, so we hung out under tree and waited it out.  First time I've had to do that.  It showered on and off for a time after that, finally easing up as we approached Goat Haunt. 

Goat Haunt was rather surreal.  We knew it was accessible from the Canadian side of Waterton Lake via a ferry concessionaire, so while we understood that people might be present, it was still odd to come wandering out of the woods and into a developed visitor center area, complete with uniformed Customs agents, NPS law enforcement and swarms of non-backpack-shlepping tourists.  The NPS law enforcement ranger asked us if we had encountered any Border Patrol agents in the backcountry and my skepticism of the two horsepackers evaporated.  We were then asked if we'd seen these folks (we hadn't).  The ranger went on to tell us that there were known bears in Goat Haunt, including a brown-colored black bear. 

Goat Haunt has formal "hiker shelters": concrete slabs with three-walled and roofed cubbies for hikers to pitch their (hopefully free-standing) tent in.  My tent is not free-standing, so I slept sans tent, which is my preference anyway.  If a bear is intent on getting me in the night, making myself into a plastic-wrapped treat isn't going to help me.  We did see the brown-colored black bear while we were enjoying some time lakeside, but he stayed away from camp so far as we could tell.  We did laundry and considered our options for the next day.  The previous day's hike had done a number on some of us and we weren't sure we could safely proceed with our next day (14 miles).  Dinner was "Tamale Pie for Ungrateful Waifs" from Lipsmackin' Backpackin'.  Really good (I'd had a hard time dehydrating the green chilies, so we actually packed in a small can of them -- first time I've ever packed in canned food), but sooo much of it, we nearly didn't finish it.  Cheesecake for dessert. 
The view from the Goat Haunt campsites
(the Goat Haunt Visitor Center is the structure on the shoreline)

Next morning, we had dehydrated eggs with spinach and cheese a la Backpacker's Pantry (much better than I remember from my girl scout days), vacuum-sealed bacon and tortillas for some pretty fine breakfast burritos.  As we were packing up, it became clear what I think we all knew: we weren't going to attempt the 14 mile hike, but take the ferry to Waterton, Alberta and then a shuttle van from there to my car, stationed at the border on the east side of the park.  And that's what we did.

4 comments:

Claudia Lawrence said...

nice blog and good post!!!!!!!!

LadyInRedwoods said...

Looks like your trip to Glacier was much more successful than ours was last year...It sounds like you had a super great time.

Are you still planning on visiting next weekend?

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Laura said...

Hard to believe a lake that pretty doesn't have a name. Hopefully someday those who makes the rules will come around on the horse thing.