Tag Archives: Rising Wolf Mountain

Nothing Petty Here

The HistoryPeople can easily get bent out of shape. You know the kind of people who complain about everything and never can find the good in anything.

Sometimes we need to just move on and let things go.

Noted park history expert L. O. Vaught, the namesake of Mount Vaught located above Lake McDonald, apparently had a thing or two to say about name changes in Glacier National Park.

Mahtatopa Mountain as seen from Going-to-the-Sun Point

Mahtotopa Mountain as seen from Going-to-the-Sun Point

Now keep in mind that L. O. Vaught probably was an expert at arguing and proving his point. He practiced as an attorney in Illinois when he was not in Glacier National Park. He also was great at researching history and wrote an informative treatise on the history of the Apgar area. The “Vaught Papers” contain fascinating reading about the numerous homesteaders around Lake McDonald. These important park documents, along with tons of other cool historical information, are located in the Glacier National Park Archives at the main park headquarters in West Glacier, MT.

Vaught apparently was perturbed at some “petty park official” for changing the name of a mountain on the shores of St. Mary Lake.

The peak that he was upset about was Mahtotopa Mountain (8,672 ft. / 2644 m.) located on the ridge line between Red Eagle Mountain and Little Chief Mountain.

This peak was originally called Four Bears Mountain and in 1932 the name was changed to Mahtotopa Peak. L. O. Vaught identified George B. Grinnell as having credit for naming the peak, Four Bears Mountain, in 1885.

 George Bird Grinnell with autograph, portrait, unknown date and photographer. Photo courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives

George Bird Grinnell with autograph, portrait, unknown date and photographer. Photo courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives

Mahtotopa was a Mandan Chief and the grandfather of Joe Kipp. Kipp was a hunting companion of George Bird Grinnell, Jack Monroe , and G. R. Gould in the Saint Mary Valley.

This is a pretty important crew of guys for park history.

Hugh Monroe was named Rising Wolf and he has a mountain in Two Medicine named for him.

G. R. Gould was a business associate of Grinnell and is the name sake of Mount Gould along the Garden Wall.

Grinnell has numerous places in Glacier National Park named for him as well.

I am not sure if L. O. Vaught ever moved on past his outrage about this name change, but he likely focused his efforts somewhere else where he could make a difference. That’s what people did back then. They found that we only have so many days in our lives and sometimes moving on is all you can do.

Things To Consider:

  1. LOOK for Mahtotopa Mountain above the shoreline of St. Mary Lake. It is across the lake from Rising Sun Point.
  2. ROUTES up Mahtotopa Mountain will be available in Volume 5 of Climb Glacier National Park that will be released in 2016.
  3. MOVE ON past those issues that are holding you back. Holding on to it is probably not doing you any good.
  4. FOCUS on what you can change not on what you can’t do anything about.

We can learn a lot from history and L. O. Vaught’s outrage against some “petty park official” can serve as an example to us today.

Move on and forget about it.

Read another story about forgiveness here in A Chief’s Apology.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Glacier National Park?

I am on a quest to learn more and I would be glad to help find answers to your questions. Drop me a line at info@climbglacier.com and I will see what I can find out.

Matotopa Mountain is featured in What They Called It. This book features stories about the names along Going-to-the-Sun Road and is available on our website.

Thanks for joining me on this quest for the story behind the History.

Blake

© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2015

Give Me Them Bones, Them Dry Bones – What?

The HistorySome people are just plain odd.

In my line of work as a mental health counselor I have met my fair share of interesting and colorful characters, but I have never met anyone who demanded to keep their brother’s bones in a sack.

This is the story about the Native American name for Flinsch Peak in the Two Medicine Valley just above Dawson Pass.

173 R

Flinsch Peak from near Dawson Pass

Flinsch Peak (9,225 ft. / 2812 m.) was named for a young Austrian, Rudolf Ernst Ferdinand Flinsch, who came to the area in 1892 with Dr. Walter B. James to hunt mountain goats. They were guided in the area by William Jackson the namesake of Mount Jackson.

Flinsch was quite surprised later when he looked at a new map of the area and found his name on a peak. It used to be called Flinsch’s Peak.

The proposed Native American name for this peak was No Chief Mountain.

No Chief must have been quite a character and was more superstitious than most of his contemporaries. This caused problems with some of his wives.

Here is the story as James Willard Schultz told it.

Flinsch Peak from Rising Wolf Mountain

Flinsch Peak from Rising Wolf Mountain

No Chief was said to be a great Piegan warrior who led many raid against the Crows. In one particular raid his younger brother Little Antelope came along and No Chief went against a vision that was given to him.

In the vision No Chief saw bodies of Piegan warriors lying in the underbrush, but he did not see their faces because he awoke before he could see them. He shared his vision with his party and most of them including Little Antelope did not want to turn back. In fact, Little Antelope stated that if No Chief truly loved him he would lead them up the valley.

No Chief could not refuse his brother’s request and he lead the party on foot toward the enemies’ camp. Eventually, the party was discovered by a great number of Crow warriors on horseback.

A battle ensued and Little Antelope and other Piegans were killed. No Chief fought bravely and led his force against the Crows to ensure that they did not scalp and dishonor on the Piegan dead. The dead were recovered and buried properly.

Months later No Chief went back to seek revenge. He stole a number of prized horses and belongings as well as counted coup on his enemy. He returned with his spoils and a bag that he refused to let anyone else handle.

He entered his lodge with the bag and told his three wives, who were sisters, that the bag contained the bones of his fallen brother Little Antelope. His wives then feared for their safety and only his oldest wife remained in the lodge. Eventually the other wives came back as well after they decided that Little Antelope was kind in life so they had nothing to fear from his bones.

No Chief began to speak to his brother’s bones as if Little Antelope were alive. Some believed that the bones carried on a conversation with No Chief as well.

When No Chief died he was buried with his brother’s bones.

In conclusion, if someone you know wants to sleep with his brother’s bones try to steer clear of them. No Chief’s wives came back but I know of very few wives who would tolerate this in today’s culture.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Glacier National Park? I am on a quest to learn more and I would be glad to help find answers to your questions. Drop me a line at info@climbglacier.com and I will see what I can find out.

In the meantime, make sure you check out What They Called It. This book features stories about the names along Going-to-the-Sun Road and is available on my website.

The story featured in today’s  post can be found in Volume 2 of What They Called It that is planned for released in the Fall of 2015.

Thanks for joining me on this quest for the story behind the History.

Blake

© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2015

 

Don’t “Flinsch” When You Read This

The HistoryThere is a real sweet peak above Dawson Pass named Flinsch Peak.

It is pretty easy to climb from the pass and the views of the neighborhood are outstanding.

Flinsch Peak (9,225 ft. / 2,812 m.) was named for a young Austrian, named Rudolf Ernst Ferdinand Flinsch, who came to the area in 1892 with Dr. Walter B. James (the namesake for Mount James) and was guided in the area by William Jackson (of Mount Jackson) to hunt mountain goats.

Flinch Peak stands on the Continental Divide

Flinch Peak stands on the Continental Divide

Flinsch was quite surprised when he looked at a new map of the area and found his name on a peak.  It used to be called Flinsch’s Peak.

James Willard Schultz proposed the name No Chief Mountain for this peak.

No Chief was said to be a great Piegan warrior who led many raid against the Crows.  In one particular raid his younger brother Little Antelope came along and No Chief went against the vision that was given to him.  In the vision No Chief saw bodies of Piegan warriors lying in the underbrush, but he did not see their faces because he awoke before he could see them.

Flinsch Peak from the Rising Wolf Mountain route.

Flinsch Peak from the Rising Wolf Mountain route.

He shared his vision with his party and most of them including Little Antelope did not want to turn back.  In fact, Little Antelope stated that if his brother loved him No Chief would lead them up the valley.

No Chief could not turn his brother’s request away and he lead the party on foot toward the enemies’ camp.  Eventually, the party was discovered by a great number of Crow warriors on horseback.

A battle ensued and Little Antelope and other Piegans were killed.  No Chief fought bravely and led his force against the Crows to ensure that they did not scalp and dishonor on the Piegan dead.  The dead were recovered and buried properly.

View along the Continental Divide.

View along the Continental Divide.

Months later No Chief went back to seek revenge.  He stole a number of prized horses and belongings as well as counted coup on his enemy.  He returned with his spoils and a bag that he refused to let anyone else handle.

He entered his lodge with the bag and told his three wives, who were sisters, that the bag contained the bones of his fallen brother Little Antelope. His wives then feared for their safety and only his oldest wife remained in the lodge.

Eventually the other wives came back as well after they decided that Little Antelope was kind in life so they had nothing to fear from his bones.

No Chief began to speak to his brother’s bones as if Little Antelope were alive.  Some believed that the bones carried on a conversation with No Chief as well.

When No Chief died he was buried with his brother’s bones.

Okay, that might be a little creepy but visiting Flinsch Peak does not have to be.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Start early.  Be at the North Shore Trailhead in the Two Medicine Valley early in the morning.
  2. Prepare for dry.  There is little water above No Name Lake so plan accordingly.  Filter or carry its your choice.
  3. Take your camera.  There are spectacular views above treeline.
  4. See the Route … Follow the Route.  Use the red-lines in Volume 2 to safely guide you to the summit of Flinsch Peak.
  5. Consider Sinopah. Use the Sinopah tour boat to save about 3 miles of trail travel on the way back.  The last boat leaves at 5:30 pm from the dock.
  6. Make it a bigger day.  If you have the time and energy getting Rising Wolf Mountain is not out of the question.  You could also consider Mount Helen from Dawson Pass.

What piece of Glacier National Park real estate do you want to learn more about?

Send me a message and I will get to work.

Thanks for joining in for this small bit of fun history about Glacier National Park.  Not all of it is true but it is interesting.

Blake

Sources:
McClintock, Walter, The Old North Trail or Life, Legends and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians, University of Nebraska Press, 1992 (reprint of 1910 edition)
Schultz, W. R., Signposts of Adventure, Glacier National Park As the Indians Know It, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1926
 Holterman, J. Place Names of Glacier National Park, Jack Holterman, Helena, MT, Riverbend Publishing, 2006

© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2014

 

 

Can You See Me Now?

Fall colors at its best!

The Two Medicine Valley from Looking Glass Highway. Fall colors at its best!

Montana Highway 89 travels between East Glacier Park and Babb, Montana.

Locally it is called The Looking Glass Highway. Many visitors drive this road to access the Two Medicine Valley and those who are brave enough accept the challenge and drive between the Two Medicine Road Junction and Kiowa Junction.

This is a horrible road!

This section of highway is broke up and seems to be in a constant state of disrepair.

A folded rock formation along the Looking Glass Highway.

A folded rock formation along the Looking Glass Highway.

There are ginormous holes that are simply filled with gravel.  The road has short sections of 8 feet or so that have dropped a few inches (or more) lower than the other parts of the road.

Nature has built in speed bumps to help you not drive too fast.

It’s not that the road has not been repaired, it appears that it can’t be fixed due to the herculean forces that the continental plates place on the earth’s surface as they collide then ride one over the other.

In fact, whole eastern side of Glacier National Park is located over the Lewis Overthrust which forces newer rock on top of older rocks.  This action formed the iconic Chief Mountain and can be seen in many places along Highway 89.  Click here for more information on the Lewis Overthrust.

What They Called It.

The HistoryAlthough technically not in Glacier National Park, the Looking Glass Hills are part of area folklore.

The Native Americans called them “Looking Glass Hills” because they said that “under certain atmospheric conditions Rising Wolf Mountain shines like a polished black-glass mirror.” 

The Looking Glass Hills were the site of a fire lookout at one time as well.  It was built in 1937 and the wind blew it away 3 years later. 

The wind must have been horrific that day.  It was located on a ridge overlooking Two Medicine Lake so the view would have been amazing. Read more about Glacier’s winds.

Please note: The Looking Glass Hills are all contained within the Blackfeet Reservation and are private property.  Please respect their lands.  A Blackfeet Use Permit can be purchased at most sporting goods stores as well as gas stations that sell hunting or fishing licenses.  The $10 cost allows you to cross the Blackfeet reservation to access Glacier National Park but please use ESTABLISHED access points and ask permission to cross private property.

Recommendations:

  1. Drive this incredible section of highway with caution.  Perhaps you should borrow your mother-in-law’s car, but definitely drive it.
  2. Drive slow and use the pull-outs for incredible views of the Two Medicine Valley.  Rising Wolf Mountain dominates the view from this highway but you can also spot peaks such as Mount Morgan, Flinsch Peak, Mount Henry and even Grizzly Mountain.
  3. By the way, all of the peaks in the Two Medicine Valley are within your grasp if you want to climb them.  Climb them all!  See The Featured Peaks for more info.  Purchase Volume 2 from our store.
  4. Again make sure to use all the pull-outs.  Spot Mountain, seen from the top of the hill and then again on the downhill section before Kiowa Junction, as well as the Basin Creek drainage are also worth a gander.
  5. The views get even better in the fall when the aspens start to turn.

What is your favorite section of road to drive in or around Glacier National Park?

Send me your comments.

Thanks for joining in for this small bit of fun history about Glacier National Park.  Not all of it is true but it is interesting.

Blake

Sources:
Ruhle, George C., The Ruhle handbook Roads and Trails of Waterton-Glacier National Parks, Falcon Press, 1986
Rex’s Fire Lookout Page, 2014.

© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2014