Sierran Masthead

Glacier Trip Full of Surprises, Smoky Views

With this article, we’re debuting a new feature on the chapter Web site called “The Rest of the Story,” where we’ll run full stories excerpted in the Indiana Sierran.

Because important chapter news fills most of our newsletter, space runs short for interesting items submitted by members. So, we’ll print excerpts of submissions as space allows, and then direct you to the Web for the rest of the story!

See the full story on the chapter Web site at

by Bob Friend, Dunelands Group

Glacier National Park, Montana, was the Amtrak destination for four Hoosier Sierrans, two from the Michiana Group (Geza Csapo and Charlie Day) and the other two from Dunelands (Ken Kovach and me). My first trip to Glacier, also via Amtrak with Geza leading the excursion, was back in 1988, and I returned for more of the same in ‘94 and ‘95. The most recent trip was different from the rest in three ways: we rented a car because the “Jammers” (ancient open-top minibuses) were in the process of being upgraded or replaced; we did less backpacking and more base-camping; and numerous forest fires dictated, to some degree, where we could go and how much we could see.

East Glacier Park, Montana, is about a 30-hour ride. On previous trips to Glacier we’d all spent most of our time on the east side of the park; I had never been to West Glacier. Ergo, westward ho! We were able to secure a backcountry permit for two nights at Bowman Lake. Charlie, recovering from a tick bite suffered back home before the outing, elected to stay with the car at base camp.

Next morning Geza, Ken, and I shouldered our backpacks and began hiking to the “primitive” backcountry campground. We took our time as we made way along the surprisingly hilly trail. (I logged an extra mile or two backtracking to retrieve my aluminum walking stick, left behind after we’d stopped for a break.)

The campsite turned out to be excellent, with beautiful views over the lake, especially at sunrise and sunset. The lake water, filtered of course, tasted crisp and clear. Oatmeal, fried eggs, and Spam (for Geza), and “cowboy coffee” in the morningÉfreeze-dried grub (not grubs--those are for grizzlies) at nightÉparadise!

Next day, while Ken and Geza stayed near camp to try their hand at fishing, I went on a day hike up into the mountains--making lots of noise so as not to surprise any members of the Medved family. (“Medved” is Hungarian for “bear”; hang around with a guy named Csapo and you’ll learn some Hungarian words in short order!)

Charlie, when traveling in bear country, has been known to holler out a little sing-song ditty along the lines of “Hey bear, ho bear; Charlie Day is on his way.” As I walked, the memory of his voice inspired me to pen the following, sung to the tune of the old standard-issue military chant “Sound Off”:

Hey bear, ho bear, go away;
Come again another day;
I have heard you play too rough,
And my meat is way too tough.

Hey bear, ho bear, hear me say:
Don’t eat Bobby Friend today!

Read the full story on our Web site: the train trip, the people our intrepid members meet in Glacier, how the forest fires affect them, the bear claws they encounter, and what the author loses!

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[8/11/02]efp

Spring 2001