Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn glory in Glacier and Badger Two Med

Katie is in awe over rapids in Badger Creek Canyon in Badger Two Med
Two Med Country in the Front was blazing with color

Looking down on Badger Creek 
Badger Rapids
To give you an example of how wonderful my hike was Sunday, consider that the glorious autumn colors were only a secondary pleasure.
There aren't many places on the Rocky Mountain Front I haven't been, but up 'til that day Badger Canyon, west of Heart Butte, was one of them.
East Glacier's Lou Bruno righted that by taking a group of us who had attended the Glacier Two Medicine Alliance's annual meeting to the canyon.
I can't tell you how thrilled I was being in that spot and drinking in the towering limestone walls of the canyon through which the steel aqua/blue Badger Creek rushes through in a series of rapids.
Like a Christmas wreath, scarlet huckleberry bushes surround this Doug Fir
I hadn't explored this section of the Front for a number of reasons, but mostly because the access is so horrible.
I had driven to the gates across the adjacent Blackfeet tribal lands, but had been too shy to enter, fearing I might be trespassing.  I had also heard horror stories about the jeep trail that leads to the canyon --- that four or so miles of ruts and jutting stone just waiting to tear your muffler off or drain your oil reservoir.
The trail above the rapids is not obvious.  You would not know where to find it, although it has been there for many years, I presume.
It winds its way through dense spruce forest and along hanging limestone shelves above the water.
Bruno took us as far as an overlook above the final set of rapids, but pointed out that it winds its way down to Badger Creek.
Along the way there were great views of Kiyo Crag, Half Dome, Little Plume, Curly Bear and even the Two Med's highest point, Morningstar, which I so love to climb.
Bruno pointed out to the hikers that Badger-Two Med has been arbitrarily left out of wilderness bills over the years for a variety of reasons including a concession to the Blackfeet, who consider it a sacred place for spiritual rituals. He was at a loss to explain why it wasn't considered in the current Heritage wilderness bill those in the Front are trying to get Montana's U.S. senators to tack onto the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
I couldn't agree with him more.
At Otokomi Lake in Park

The trail couldn't have been more colorful

This is incredibly wild country that gets very little traffic and would make a wonderful addition.
My wife and I did the Badger Canyon hike as a capstone of a weekend to enjoy autumn colors.
We were treated to quite a display of ground cover on a Saturday hike to Otokomi Lake near Glacier Park's Rising Sun Campground.  We happened upon a couple of sizeable huckleberry patches, still full of berries along the way.  The huckleberries and thimbleberries were lit up in reds, oranges and yellow.  Many aspens had turned, but it is still a week or so before the color high-point.
On the way out we stopped at the Glacier Two Med Alliance meeting and enjoyed visiting with folks like Bruno, Gene Sentz, former Congressman Pat Williams, conservation leader Jim Posewitz, and enjoyed Blackfeet singer Jack Gladstone's music at the Rising Wolf Ranch just below Marias Pass.
Our Badger Canyon hike.

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