Bear Free and Huckleberry Full at Glacier National Park

Mt. Sinepath

Two Medicine campground near East Glacier is considered the "Mayberry" of Glacier National Park. The Two Medicine area is special to the Blackfeet Indians who consider it the backbone of the world.  The name commemorates 3 talented native women. Two ceremonial medicine lodges were started by 2 holy women and the nearby Running Eagle Falls honors a famous woman warrior known for her ability to infiltrate enemy tribes. (The falls appear and disappear among the rocks).

"Mayberry RFD" - as in Andy Griffith's famous sitcom. The campground has a friendly, small-town feel.  Campers are compliant by keeping their campsites food-free so bears are not a problem.  YaY!!!

Huckleberries - look like blueberries, taste like heaven and are now in-season - they only grow wild in special eco systems in and around Glacier.  Bears love them too.

Bear-Free - Glacier is home to a large population of bear roaming at large. When hiking, you are supposed hike with a buddy and be noisy so as not to surprise those bruins. As to the "fight or flight" instinct, bears often choose the fight option.  

Since hiking is the "in-thing" here, I found a hiking buddy. She's a lovely high-school biology teacher and birder, experienced in the wilderness, and walks a perfect pace for me. (I have also armed myself with pepper spray.)  20 bear-free miles and counting…..

Each night I fall asleep to the sound of rushing water in the shadow of Mt. Sinopah ("Fox Woman" in Blackfeet).  The clear water reflections and changing weather patterns have inspired some lovely photos and plenty of silk-painting opportunities for later.

Keeping Wildlife Wild

Moose Two Medicine Glacier

Many of us visit national parks to see wildlife. However, our proximity to these fascinating animals can habituate them to us and eventually put them at peril of being put down when they start to seek us out. We want them to think of us as yucky humans to be avoided, yet we want to see them too. Such a quandary! Yet, as good stewards we keep them safe from us, keep them wild.

We secure our food in cars and bear-proof cabinets.  We stay 200 yards from bears (when they are not attacking) and 25 yards from mountain goats, deer and big-horned sheep. One morning I saw a female moose swimming across Two-Medicine Lake in East Glacier through my telephoto lens.  Believe me - it's still good. 

To Glacier National Park With Gratitude

Noname lake hike

The photo came from a hike with ranger, Lynne Dixon, to Noname Lake. Yes, the water is turquoise from Glacial runoff. We climbed the rock pile at the base of the mountain, looking for pica.  Pica are small creatures related to rabbits.  They live at high, cool places because they cannot regulate their body temperature when it is too hot. One entertained us for a few minutes - very sweet.  Another 5 bear-free miles added…..

The "Native America Speaks" program at the campfire was very moving. We listened to a rendition of Iz's "Somewhere over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World" where the Beetles "Let it Be"  added at the end gave us all a tear or two.  The speaker explained the tribe's vision of God as an empathetic process of connection to all that is within and around. Caring came to mind. Feelings of deep connection to place and to each other resonated around Pray Lake by the time the program ended.

I ended my 2-week stay at Two Medicine saying a big "Thanks".  In nearby East Glacier I say goodbye and thank-you for the bear spray and hospitality to the Sherburnes at Mountain Pine Motel.  Many thanks as well to Brownies Bakery and Hostel for reliable internet, delicious huckleberry muffins, hot showers, and clean laundry facilities.