Imagine a pitch-dark curvy road on the side of a high mountain pass with occasional views of a distant red glowing furry allowing for very little between your remodeled Sprinter van and the edge of abyss. Now imagine someone took an ice cream scooper and made large uneven sudden drop offs in the middle of this road in random locations. This is called Hwy 49 and connects Browning, MT with the Southeastern portion of Glacier National Park. Keep in mind this gnarly mountain pass is not the only way to reach Glacier, but late at night after navigating through the decimated construction site dirt guttered roads of Browning you may find yourself somehow being routed through this pass. Ever since the pavement abruptly fell to unmarked dirt paths you have been asking yourself “Am I in a 3rd world country? I swear I’m in the U.S.”
After driving through the desolate flatness of Eastern Montana the Rambler found its way into the Blackfeet Indian Reservation through Browning and onto the high mountain pass of Hwy 49. With feelings of hesitation on parking overnight on Reservation land, no less on the slopes of the heinous pass, I gradually became overruled by exhaustion and Jeremy’s rationale that no one would bother us. Despite all the Hollywood ideas I could muster up on how unhappy the Blackfeet Indians would be by us trespassing on their land, we woke up safe and undisturbed to a gorgeous mountain view and a quick descent into Glacier. Our sights were set on acquiring backcountry permits for a multi-day backpacking trip that would begin as soon as possible. We were feeling excitement to be back West, in the mountains, and away from the general public. As we spoke with the park rangers at Two Medicine Ranger Station it became clear due to August being one of the busiest months in the park it was going to be difficult to obtain the permits we wanted if any at all. Apparently, like us, other people were not deterred by the 200-acre Reynolds Creek fire that shut down the popular Going To The Sun Road. Settling on a self-shuttle 3-night backpack in the most southern portion of the park from Walton to Two Medicine Lake, we began to prepare for our outing with increasing excitement.