No effort was made to be quiet the following morning. It was that we were trying to be rude, it’s just that we didn’t care enough to be quiet. Jumbo Honey Buns and coffee was the morning fare. Jumbo Honey Buns are our “go-to” breakfast when backpacking as they provide over 600 calories per bun. We expect to burn that off in a couple hours. The fat content is marvelous compared to oatmeal, and it’s sinful goodness provides for a longer satiation period. That’s important when you have limited room and are comparing calories per gram (weight).
So enough about “food” and onto the trail. The morning’s sunrise was accompanied by a now noticable haze and a faint odor of smoke in the air.
Our stench, however was beginning to become quite noticable, as well. We were definitely looking forward to the day’s end at Red Eagle Lake (foot), and a full blown swim. 14.3 miles and a difference of 100 feet of elevation gain/loss was on the menu. And more importantly, WATERFALLS!
Yup. Burnt forest, waterfalls and a walk around/above St. Mary Lake, (that, by the way is ENORMOUS!) was the norm for this day.
We went by so many waterfalls, that we came up with a rating system 1-5. To earn a “5” it had to be tall, loud, create wind, and throw a lot of mist. Needless to say there were many a “5”.
We took our time and strolled along the trail marveling at the early morning beauty of St. Mary Lake, the second largest lake in GNP, measuring a whopping 7 miles in length and 300 feet in depth. The Going-to-the-Sun-Road runs her North side, while we walked 30meters above her Southern shoreline.
Eventually we broke from the pull of the lake’s edge and weaved our way through the skeletal remains of a forest thinned by fire. This, however allowed us to have expansive views of how expansive the park we were walking through. Interestingly enough, when all is said and done we will have only walked upon 101.1 miles of the 734 miles of trail, and will have stayed in nearly half of it’s 13 campgrounds.
No matter how hard we tried to “milk” the miles, we made it to Reynolds Lake by 3:30pm. Hotter than hot (high 90’s) we all had a swim…fully clothed, while Hobbit (who can’t swim) decided it was a good idea to test his bear spray…in the warm wind. And yes, what one would expect to happen in such conditions did. Hobbit’s response, when we asked him how it felt, “It is very spicey”, with his eyes still watering and barely open. We all had a good laugh as we lounged on the lake’s shore rummaging through our snacks, and sampling the wild onion that sprouted upon it’s shore.
It was such an easy day, we actually saw the sun set.