Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ZERO LAKES LEFT!!!
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

Upper Rowe and Linham Lakes – Where’s that goat trail? – CAN

Folks, don’t try this at home...or in Glacier!
FULL SAFETY MESSAGE

This is a story about last summer. I never got a chance to create a blog for this until now. So, hope you enjoy a backlogged lake blog (say that ten times)…..until I get something new for the year. Hope to a new lake before the end of May. Stay Tuned

So the story goes……………

Tradition has it that once, and it seems to be only once a year my friend Kieth and I go for a hike. He works for the boat company in Waterton and we tend to have contrasting schedules all summer. We were able to keep tradition going once again with an awesome day in late August.We completed a feat that I have only had success with once before. We got five lakes in one day. It takes putting a large effort in, but more so it takes a cluster of lakes to be able to pull that off.
This project is about the lakes and the park, well more than my or anyone else’s efforts. If they want to allow things to progress. then I progress.If not, then we kindly say thanks and slowly plod along to one lake at a time…. If you’re lucky.So luckily the upper Rowe Lakes and the Linham Lakes are in general vicinity of each other in the middle of Waterton National Park.We headed off pretty late in the day. I bet we did not hit trail till about 11:30 or noon. We had lots to do in a short amount of time. Up the Rowe valley till the Upper Rowe Lakes trail took a big, uphill left turn. I had done the single lower Rowe Lake last year, so to acquire the top two was a great hit for me.We found a little bay behind a rock to take a dip because the wind was kickin hard. After it we walked the outlet creek to the middle lake. What a lovely day for a bunch of dips. This would have been a brutal one if it were nasty weather. Five lakes would get terribly chilly going at it in the rain.There is a nice goat trail that connects the Upper Rowe lakes trail with the upper reaches of the Rowe valley trail. It was nice because we did not have to drop that whole way back into the valley bottom.

We had to push up to Linham ridge and find a spot to hop over the other side of it. We envisioned that we just had to get to the prominent saddle and head down from there.

When we finished the huge uphill slog we got up to that saddle and there was a 2000 foot cliff on the other side.

Alright…Keep looking.

I had always been told that there was a perfect goat trail heading down to these lakes.

Gotta try and find it.

So, folks…

“Go find the off trail lake insight #73”

Sometimes you find the ideal way to the lake. But more often, you find the ideal way back from the lake. Often, you just find “A” way to the lake”….

This was one of those days.
On top of the ridge we saw a goat trail. Why not try it…Time is of the essence. Just go!!!

“Go find the off trail lake insight #74”

Albeit I owe this entire project to the goat trail leaving goats. There are lots of goat trails. Not all of them are going the direction you want to be going. There is always paths going in the general direction of any body of water. But there are also paths going down a shelfy, rotten rock infested chute also..

Goats are much better at this than you or I.

I promise.

Well, we had to follow through with it though. There was no more time to fiddle and fuss about a better route, we did not leave the excess time for that kind of thing on this day.

So, we just dropped off a crumbling, steep ridge.

Eeehh……

I’ve since seen where we should have gone. This was not it. But this was the ridge we dropped down. From upper left to lower right.
It did work though..

Once down we started just busting through these lakes. There are three of them.

We did not have time to dilly dally…

Enter that whole, we started at noon thing. It is becoming an important part of our trip

So, we hit the first lake which was pretty obvious. We were looking at it all the way down.

After him though, we started moving pretty frantically around this hanging basin trying to find the other two and waste as little time as we could.

There is an efficient and optimal way of doing anything in life. Finding and jumping in remote mountain lakes while working with serious time constraints is no different.

The second lake was over a wooded ridge.

The sun kept falling and creating that soft colorful light on all the rock walls around us. It is lovely, but when you know you have a long way to travel before you are back at the trailhead and in your car. It only creates a bit of anxiety.

Then, off in the completely opposite direction of our exit out of this valley to find the last one. It was right above the cliffs that drain the hanging basin. They drop off into Linham Falls.

There once was a trail up the face of the headwall that holds the lakes in place. It must have had a few cables and chains to hold on to along the sketchy route. At least one person fell to their death through the years, though. Needless to say, no one goes that way any longer.

Not being able to go that way, forced the “random, over the ridge and drop in” route to get to these lakes that we had to take. No matter how difficult it was to get here, at least we did not have to scale a crazy cliff to make our way…

Sorry, that was a tangent….
We found the last lake..

One of the truly ironic things about the project is the amount of work and time that it takes to get to these places… Most often I have to get there….take a dip,…and head directly back out again.

This place would have been a nice place to hang for a bit.

Oh, well…Maybe some day. Right now I just want to make sure that we get out of this hanging basin and back on trail before dark.

It is getting late and we have a big, ridiculous ridge to climb up and six more “on trail” miles to bust out.

So, out we head.

It is situations like this that I am very happy that I use trekking poles. Somewhere through the evolutionary process of most animals,. they found out that “four legs good, two legs bad” is a valuable thing to keep in mind.

Well, atop the ridge we took a few awesome pictures and dropped back into the valley on trail and headed back to the car. We got out about 30 minutes after dark. Never great, but it is so much better when it’s dark and your on trail. Dark when your off trail is “No Bueno”!!!

So,..thats that. Upper Rowe Lakes and the three Linham Lakes.

Check!

All went well. Keith and I got our annual hike in. I got to 126 lakes and busted out a great day with the help of a good friend and some crazy goats.

Hope your crazy goats are well!!!

To Life,

Marc

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