See the day 7 map
On Saturday we again expected mobs in the park, so we decided to head for Bowman Lake near Polebridge, Montana. Polebridge sits on the edge of Glacier National Park, 16 miles up mostly gravel roads, so that keeps the crowds down. On our two drives up to Polebridge, we saw several people turn back after driving partway on the gravel road. From Polebridge, Bowman Lake is another 6 miles on a REALLY rough gravel road. It took us nearly 45 minutes to cover the six miles, including a short pause to allow a mule deer buck to clear the road. We felt like we were really getting away from it all until we rolled into Bowman Lake and spotted a Winnebago in the campground.
We hiked up Bowman Lake trail, which follows along the edge of Bowman Lake. We briefly considered a hike to the Numa Ridge lookout point but gave that up after learning that it was a 6 mile hike with a 3,000' elevation change. The Bowman Lake trail was easy going except for the occasional mud pit in the middle of the trail. We were also on the lookout for bears, as the rangers had said that there was a lot of bear activity in the northwest corner of the park. We only hiked about 2 miles before heading back to the truck.
The drive to Bowman Lake revealed the most stunning display of wildflowers that we saw. Much of the area near Polebridge had been consumed in a forest fire several years ago (including nearly burning Polebridge), and the wildflowers have taken their moment in the sun. It was quite a stark contrast seeing the burned tree skeletons standing in amazing fields of lupine and Indian paintbrush.
When we got to Polebridge we stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile for a snack. The Mercantile is your typical old-time general store, stocking everything you might need on a camping or backpacking trip. We were also surprised to learn that the Mercantile rents cabins for only $31 per day, a real bargain!
Go to Days 8 & 9
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All images and text ©1999 Dennis & Kathleen Deery