So, I wanted to get back into the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark Wilderness. For thousands of years, the Blackfeet have used this area for vision quests and prayers. They believe it is sacred and have protected it, in lengthy court battles, against exploitation from oil and gas companies.
"Overlooking Two Medicine River, 1806" by Z. S. Liang
First, I planned to enter the area through the Blackfeet Reservation. There are many back roads here, and on my map, I noticed a Forest Service trail that began on one of these back roads and went way back into the mountains, near a lake I intended to fish. Before reaching the trail however, I was continually warned about Grizzlies in this area, once from an old fellow who’d been chased on horseback by one, another from a young fellow who’d actually been mauled by one, and finally, on the back road, from an aged hippy who, in the 70’s, had come from California to live with Indians, ended up marrying one and settled there. He just told me they were “bad,” and that I was “going the wrong way.” I never did find the road to lead me where I originally wanted to go, and I suppose, after the three warnings, that was okay with me. I chose a different route.
The second route I chose was just south of East Glacier National Park. It started at a landmark called Summit, but I was too eager to get started to actually read the landmark placard and too lazy after I got back. So, I don’t know what it’s all about. I just know the trail from Summit sucks. On what should have been a relatively easy hike to the Two-Medicine River, I took one non-trail to another, until I gave over my life completely to my Garmin Foretrex and bushwhacked two miles over deadfall to a point I’d previously plotted. The upshot was I saw all kinds of deer and elk signs, and it looked like it’d be a great place to stalk during bow hunting season.
After I hit finally hit the river, I crossed and picked up on a wide and mushy horsetrail, which looped me back around to beautiful meadow, apparently called Sawmill Flats according to a big sign posted there. This was where I was supposed to be!
By the time I arrived it was only around 6’ o’clock and I had plenty of time to set up a nice, little camp. Tent, fire, and all.
…What you don’t see in this photo is a dog in stealth mode. Nika accompanied me on this trip, too, but somehow she managed to evade all my photos.
Cooking rice and chicken. I keep it spartan, just dump the canned stuff into minute rice and stir in lots of Lowry's Seasoning Salt. Salt is important.
My newest piece of kit—a Ruger 10/.22 compact.
Paintbrush and Bear grass.
Wildflowers everywhere! Also, the river
I tried fishing some in the morning but came up empty. I did, however, forage some Camas bulbs and will be cooking them up with my steak tonight.
The hike back was much easier, knowing where I blundered previously. I totaled just over 8 miles.