For years, I’ve admired the red hulk of Rising Wolf, guarding the prairie from southeastern Glacier National Park, and visible from many angles in Glacier County.  At 9,513 feet, Rising Wolf — or in Blackfeet, Mahkuyi-opuahsin, the way the wolf gets up — is the tallest mountain in the Two Medicine area, and for whatever reason, Pseudo Sista got it in her head this spring that the Hot Buns needed to climb it.  So, we all set aside August 25 on our calendars and did our best to get in some smaller climbs and bigger hikes over the summer, to prepare.

Rising Wolf, looking from slightly below Dawson Pass

Like most mountains in Glacier, there are several routes to the top of Rising Wolf, and the one we wanted to do was easiest in terms of gradual elevation gain and loss, but hardest in length, at about 23 miles.  As the 25th approached, that 23-mile-figure kept running through my head, and I doubted my post-Maggie ability to make it all the way.  Mentally, I prepared to be the Hot Bun on the ridge, taking photos of everyone on the summit, a position all of us have found ourselves in — or will — at one point or another, for various reasons, and no big deal.  The Hot Buns have few maxims: (1) always keep a Steve Lee cooler in the car, for apres hike, and (2) always make decisions that will allow you to go on the next Hot Buns adventure.

We left Two Medicine campground shortly after 7am, breathing in the cool, late summer dawn, and chatting aimlessly in an attempt to let the critters know we were on the trail.

Pseudo Sista, Layla Jane, and me: the Hot Buns of this particular adventure

I arrived at Dawson Pass shortly before 10am, and then spent the next several hours staring at the endless ridge to cross between Flinsch and Rising Wolf:

But as with the unnamed peak in Many Glacier that I found myself on top of, carrying Maggie Rose, earlier this year, my doubts about making the summit turned out to be unfounded.

Pseudo Sista, beginning the final ascent of Rising Wolf.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other — and eating lots of double-cherry-cobbler at rest breaks — and I arrived on the summit of Rising Wolf just before 2pm, joining my joyful companions, and a grizzly bear.

Apparently, there are lots of tasty moths under the rocks of Rising Wolf’s summit, and this grizzly was seemingly unperturbed by our presence at 9,513 feet.  It was, as Brother Dear said, by far the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me on a summit that I would be just fine with never happening again!

On the summit, with Pseudo Sista, Brother Dear, Hanky Pie, Shaun, Neil, and Keith.  Shaun escorted the Hot Buns up, and the rest of the boys took a different route, and met us on top.  We loved hiking with our latest honorary Hot Bun!

Do you see the griz?  After this shot Brother Dear put the camera down, as Griz decided to summit, too.

See ya on the flip side, Griz.

As Saint Grizzly wrote in the entry for Rising Wolf, the drainage looks like a 3D model from the summit!

Crazy frozen springs near the summit.

Brother Dear’s panoramic on the way up, looking down on the Two Medicine valley.

I couldn’t help but think of my Grandma Betty, and her magical yard, when Layla Jane pointed out the hens and chicks growing far above tree line, on Flinsch.

Pseudo Sista descending through the rock chimney — much less scary than it looks, I promise!

Post summit, we hoped to catch the boat and shave off the last couple miles of our adventure, but we are not as young as we were when we first came to Glacier National Park, and we missed it.  The last couple of miles, we were all out of anything worth eating, and as I am known for doing — much to many’s annoyance — I filled the silence between our slow footsteps with a litany of all the food I wanted to eat the moment we were off the trail: Grandma Ivey’s rice casserole, Grandma Betty’s lace cornbread, Park Cafe coconut cream pie, my mom’s cioppino, my mother-in-law’s fudge, Honeydew’s fried paddlefish, my sister-in-law’s shortbread cookies, Wasabi sushi, Brother Dear’s lamb chops, fresh trout and twistas at Two Sisters, ice cold oysters on the half shell, a Sanford Stadium hot dawg, my aunt Cathy’s hold ’em eggs, crab legs and a ribeye at the Cattle Baron, Donna’s mama’s chicken-and-dumplins, the Big Salad at Moonstone Bistro in Redding, Pseudo Sista’s Knock You Naked Brownies, fried chicken at Johnson’s, Campbell’s cuban burgers, Dixie Pig BBQ, Sissy’s anything and Serrano’s chicken-feta-spinach stuffed poblano peppers in a jalapeno cream sauce.

At the mention of Serrano’s, Layla Jane and Pseudo Sista interrupted me and pointed out that while that particular pepper dish is only served twice a summer, we could easily talk the boys into driving us to East Glacier for margaritas and enchiladas at Serrano’s.  Upon hearing that, I quieted down, picked up the pace and made it through that 23rd mile with aplomb.  Thanks, Hot Buns, and Serrano’s.

Rising Wolf, you were wonderful.  I’ll be back.

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