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...

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes – Good Livin’

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

Margaret and Ipasha Lakes delivered beyond our expectation which is a tall order.

I’ve been here and working on this project for a decade now and that gives you a long time to create expectations.  This area truly awed us.

My trusty off trail companion Pat and I saw a three day weekend of hot, sunny days and decided to pounce.  We hauled it in through 85 degree weather to Glenns Lake Foot Campground and posted up for two nights.

We even ended up with a little grotto to rinse off just by our campsite.
In the morning over oatmeal we decided a little whisky in our coffee couldn’t hurt anything.

Aside from ruining our already lousy coffee we felt no ill effects.

We were the first people heading up trail in the morning which brought us face to face with many a spider web, some still being staffed.  Be sure to keep your mouth closed.

There was a great patch of grizzly bear hair on one of the DNA traps.  That’s one of the best samples I’ve seen through the years.
Above Mokowanis Lake we had to leave trail and continue up valley.

The heat was filling the waterfalls to capacity.  Above those falls was the hidden treasure we had waited eons for.

On the way we did some filming using my new Olympus OMD EM5.  I’m so happy with how small but powerful it is.  I hope you enjoy what it’s been producing too.

Margaret Lake simply put, punched us directly in the mouth.

There was grizzly bear digs everywhere, so we were far from alone.

The only animals we really saw though were a group of Bighorn Sheep up on the side of Mount Merrit.

Bighorn Sheep

We decided it would be better to push up to Ipasha Lake so we could take our time back at Margaret.

10-mi

Nothing but an hour of alder bushes and crazy thick ground cover in-between us and # 153 or # 16..

11 mi

Depends on if you are counting up or down, the math gets confusing now a days.

Ipasha was a beautiful body of water.

Ipasha Lake

Cold and blue with chunks of ice still hanging on the walls of Ipasha Peak.

Cold and blue with chunks of ice

Clouds were collecting around Mt. Cleveland and seemed to be coming from the north.  We decided that it might be a better idea to scoot back to Margaret Lake so we didn’t get stuck any further from camp if the sky opened up.

Comparing the terribly thick alder we just pushed through to the cold water of Margaret Lake, we decided it was worth trying to walk the lake.

Getting cold feet

There was a small shelf of rock that we walked which kept us out of the schwack, but it was SO COLD!!  We couldn’t stay in the lake any longer than it took to find even the smallest little beach of rocks.  We stopped and freaked out letting our ice cube toes melt back to flesh.  Then repeated the process over and over.

It was better than the alder.  Virtually anything is better than the alder…Trust me.

Georgeous

Pat pointed out while we were walking the lake that technically I had now been in Margaret Lake.

While that was true, there is no way that could suffice.  I wanted to go swimming.

There’s an amazing point of rock that juts out into Margaret Lake but to get to it you have to ford the outlet of the lake.

Cold water

The creek was moving way to quick so we actually had to wade across the lake portion so we didn’t get swept away.

It was well worth it.

Water's edge

The weather had calmed down, the sun came back out and we had a perfect spot all to ourselves to take in the majesty of this seldom visited area.  So many remote peaks that I’ve had to imagine this whole time.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Mt. Merrit one of the six 10,000’ peaks to our left and way off to the north was Mt. Cleveland the highest point in the park.  Ipasha Peak, Mt. Kipp, Pyramid Peak and the Lithoid Cusp ringed us while we jumped in water like we were in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Safety first for lake jumps

Note to those reading, you have to be careful jumping off cliffs in life in general much less in this remote a place.  Normally I just get a shore to walk into, but we had this perfect little point so we had to take advantage.  Just be careful out there folks.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Sick shots though, huh?  Thanks OMD EM5!

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We had to eventually head out, but it was hard.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

This was GOOD LIVIN’.  I had tried to get to this spot for years.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

I’ve even been snowed out trying to get here with my brother about five years ago.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

The weather could literally been anything and it was calm, warm and inviting.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We must have been really good to a puppy or picked up the right amount of litter or something.  We did not deserve how good the living was at this moment.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Can’t stay here though.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

So we pushed on towards camp, undoing all of our efforts.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We headed back down the headwall towards those amazing waterfalls and a cup of red wine in camp.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

The next day we more hot, sunny weather and time to kill.  We did some filming at Cosley Lake.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We ate jelly beans and floated around like porpoises.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Eventually you always have to do the push out to the trailhead.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Hot is great when you have lakes everywhere, but open meadows and uphill is less pleasant.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Luckily through the years I had met the Belly River Rangers and they were able to scrounge up two cold glasses of lemonade before we headed uphill to the car.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

It was a hot slog up the last few miles to the Chief Mountain Trailhead

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Spectacular trip.  One of the epic ones.

In moments like this trip you just wish you could snap your fingers and extend it to all your loved ones and everyone who can’t make it to places like these.  I felt like this trip was a gift and its always more fun to give a gift then receive one.

Alas we have to just enjoy the moments we are given, and be thankful for them.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

TO GOOD LIVIN’!!
And…TO LIFE!!

P.S. – I’d love to hear what you guys think about this post and Glacier Explorer so far. Please let me know in the comments below.
13 comments
Bob Sihler
Bob Sihler

My wife and I went to these lakes in August this year.  We took the same hideous way to Ipasha that you did.  On the way back, I proposed trying the west shore and slopes of Margaret, as it looked cleaner higher up there.  It worked, with very little time in those awful willows.  If you ever go again, try that.  The only iffy spot was crossing the stream below the waterfall draining Chaney Glacier.

 

Elizabeth Lanza
Elizabeth Lanza

Those were absolutely breath taking photos. I can relate to the beauty there as my daughter makes Glacier Park her home. It is beyond the words I could use to describe it all. Awesome.....

Melissa Lanza
Melissa Lanza

I'm emotional in my life right now. For many reason. Reading this post brought tears to the corner of my eyes. I'm in a small town bar where breaking down and crying may get me more then a few awkward glances but, I wanted to. For some reason this post and the idea that it took you so long to get to those lakes and the beauty, wow the beauty that is GLACIER! Really, just the idea that youre doing a thing such as this inspired my emotions, all million plus of them! Like all journeys in life that are begun out of curioosity and reverence and good will this journey seems so pure and well meant. I'm proud of you and I'm sort of stoked to know you. Keep on jumpin and photographing. It truly does inspire.

Pat Hagan
Pat Hagan

Just love the pictures and what you guys are doing. Keep having fun and inspiring us!

Matt Mizwicki
Matt Mizwicki

Marc I think think this is your best post so far. Your photos are absolutely stunning. Keep up the great work!

Richard Smith
Richard Smith

Marc Ankenbauer is one bad-ass committed dude! Summer Park Ranger at Two Med. Marc's 10+ year quest to swim in every lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity. 168 lakes. Only 17 left to go. Read about it. Lovin' life and livin' life!