A soggy journey to Gunsight Lake

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  • Bear grass blooms below Mount Jackson.

  • 1

    A grizzly bear walks across a snowfield in the backcountry of Glacier National Park. Photo was taken with a 400 mm lens.

  • 2

    A snowshoe hare in camp.

  • 3

    A bull moose feeds in the willows.

  • Bear grass blooms below Mount Jackson.

  • 1

    A grizzly bear walks across a snowfield in the backcountry of Glacier National Park. Photo was taken with a 400 mm lens.

  • 2

    A snowshoe hare in camp.

  • 3

    A bull moose feeds in the willows.

There’s a reason why Gunsight Lake is consistently one of the top 10 backcountry destinations in Glacier — it’s gorgeous.

Most folks who camp there are making a longer journey — up and over Gunsight Pass to Sperry Chalet and beyond, or vice versa, depending on whether one is going east to west or west to east.

This time of year, however, Gunsight is an in-and-out affair. Unless you have crampons and an ice ax, you’re probably not going to successfully negotiate the high-angle snowfields that sweep across the base of Mount Jackson, which guards the pass.

Make a mistake on one of those snowfields and you’ll simply whoosh off the mountain side, and fall thousands of feet below.

Last weekend we camped at Gunsight Lake and it was a soggy affair to say the least. The hike in saw just a few sprinkles, but later in the evening, when we decided to hike up to Jackson Glacier, it was a deluge.

A crack of lightning above our heads was a pretty good signal to turn around. The first day of summer may have been one of the worst days of summer.

Bad weather does have its charms — the camp, which has six sites, only had two other parties, and because of the rain, they spent most of their time in their tents. We’ve camped at Gunsight when there’s been more than 20 people there — not exactly solitude.

We did see some cool stuff along the way — a bull moose feeding in the willows, a glimpse of a grizzly bear on a summer stroll, a soggy snowshoe hare in camp and a giant field of bear grass just before camp.

Torrential rain aside, it was a pretty good hike.

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