North Fork of the Flathead River - Trip Report

Over the weekend my brother, sister and I floated down the North Fork of the Flathead River along Glacier National Park. We caught some fish and had some fun. I mostly want to share the photos from the weekend along with a couple words. I hope you enjoy. 

I haven’t blogged in a while but thought I should share some photos from this past weekend of the float my brother , sister and I did. John and Elizabeth both flew into Montana for the weekend and we planned to float and fish the North Fork of the Flathead River. For those who don’t know, this stretch of river runs along the western edge of Glacier National Park.

We drove up from Missoula on Friday morning and we were lucky enough to use the Omnibar car because my personal vehicle isn’t able to tow a trailer. This is us at the Ford put in on Friday. (about 12 miles from Canada) You could hear and see thunder and lighting in the distance but more on that later.


Here we are just about to set out on the river. None of us had ever done this stretch before let alone an overnight rafting trip. We most likely looked like amateurs.

(left to right: Brian(me), John, Elizabeth) 

Here we are as we just set out on the river. This was the only time the sun came out for more than a minute.


Our family should not be considered fishermen. We had to lookup how to tie flies before the trip and most certainly did not know how to cast or really catch a fish. That said, here is my first ever Montana fish. That is my brother holding the net.

Here I am trying to unhook and then hold the fish. The fish slipped out of my hands before we could snap a photo.


About 2-3 hours into the float is started to thunderstorm and rain. We got to shore just in time to put up our tarp and huddle under it and ride out the rain for 15 minutes. We then setup camp and started cooking. Here I am cooking steak and veggies.

It rained most of the night and we were treated to a good lighting storm. John slept in his hammock (under the tarp) and Elizabeth and I slept in my tent. We all stayed dry. The next morning we got on the river around 11am (we think) and here is Elizabeth and what the weather looked like for most of the day.

Before lunch, John caught a fish. It was so small that it slipped through the holes in our net but that didn’t stop the stoke.

We went through some beautiful and clear water, saw a Grizzly Bear and then next thing we knew I caught my second fish. Elizabeth got to row and we think that contributed to my second catch. Here I am trying to do my best fish photo pose.

Next thing we knew we came upon a log jam and had to drag the boat around it. It was probably about a half hour of dragging and it didn’t help that John didn’t bring water shoes.


Then, soon enough, we were at the Coal Creek pull out. We got off the river around 6pm. This is a photo taken while I was trying to hitch hike back to the car. Luckily I made it in good time.

That’s pretty much it. We camped near Polebridge on Saturday night and listened to some live music at the bar. We ate some well-deserved bear claws from the Mercantile as well.


That’s all for now and you can view my other blog posts here.

June 22, 2015

Hiking ›   Montana ›   weekendswithbrian ›  

Lucifer Lake - Trip Report

I thought it would be cool to write about what I do outside of the office. Since I live in Missoula, MT I thought why not write about what I do in my free time or on the weekends. I like to get outside and enjoy the place I live and now I would like to share what I do with you. My blog posts will be mainly about hiking, biking, rafting and skiing in the winter.

First, a little about me…
My name is Brian and I am an employee at Omnibar. I am 24 years old and really enjoy where I work and the place I live. Describing myself as a weekend warrior might be the best title because I work hard during the week and play hard on the weekends. I like to do everything big whether it is skiing a big couloir or taking on the biggest rapids on the river. I don’t do what I do to impress, I just really like to get after it.

At Omnibar, we are a very small team (2 employees) so it is sometimes hard for me to describe what I do on a daily basis while at work. The big things I do are running our website and managing our warehouse. For those of you who have purchased bars from us you may see that I wrote you a note or sent you an email. So that’s me and now onto the good stuff/this past weekend.


Over the weekend Anthony (the other employee) and I decided to hike into the Mission Mountains and camp for two nights. The Mission Range is north of Missoula and about a 45 minute drive out of town. The north end of the range butts up to Glacier National Park, but we stuck to the south end. This was our first time backpacking in this area so we didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing we had to do was obtain a Tribal Recreation Permit because the area we would be in is part of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Again, new for the two of us but now we have the permits for the remainder of the year so we will sure to be back!

Below is an image of the area we were hiking in. We started just above Mission Reservoir at about 6:45pm on Friday and our destination was Lucifer Lake and then Picture Lake above that.

the dotted line is not the trail. 

This is Anthony at the trailhead and we would be following Mission Creek, which is to his left. (elevation 3504’)

This is a photo of where we are heading. At the tip of my finger is Elizabeth Falls and above that is Lucifer Lake.

After about 1.5 hours of hiking we came to Mission Falls. That’s me taking a waterfall selfie. (elevation 4941’)

View from the top of the waterfall.

From the top of Mission Falls the trail turns to the left and starts to get thick and steep. We could tell most people hike to the falls as just a day hike because the trail from here on was less traveled. Here is Anthony starting the climb.

We did some more climbing

We did some trail finding

(are we in narnia?) 

It started to get dark and we had been on the trail for about 3.5 hours and we didn’t quite know where the lake was. The trail was a little tough to follow and that combined with the little light we had left led us to stop for the night and setup camp. We didn’t make it to our destination but we were happy to take off our packs and eat some food. Here is a photo of our campsite from night one. Taken Saturday Morning. (elevation 6400’)

Night one was a little interesting in the fact that I setup our tent on a level spot except for a large hump in the middle which made for some uncomfortable sleeping. During the night we could hear an animal circling our tent and then chewing on what I now know to be my flip-flops. The straps have some pretty distinguishable bite parks. I did manage to turn on my flashlight while the animal was chewing and got a look. I think it was some type of pack rat. It had a long nose and long tail with a larger and plump body. Not cool.

After not sleeping well we were able to get up and make some instant oatmeal and get going for the day. We hiked for about 10 minutes and came to Lucifer Lake. (yes, we were that close)
Beautiful is an understatement. (elevation 6270’)

Since our goal was to get to Picture Lake for night two we set out on the trail again.

From the south end of Lucifer Lake to the north end it took us about 2.5 hours. We got lost. Found the trail. Lost the trail again and then had to follow the creek on the north end of the lake back down to Lucifer. We were beat, scraped up and tired and it was mid afternoon. If we still wanted to make it to Picture Lake we would have to cross the stream and do our best to find a trail, again. We made the decision to turn around and go back and camp on the south end of the lake but here is the two of us doing our best to look sad about turning back while we were still in such a beautiful spot.


So, we worked our way back around Lucifer Lake and setup camp. Since we still had the afternoon ahead it was time to test the cold alpine water. This is me looking happy but I can tell you, I. Was. Freezing.

The rest of the night we cooked, played some cards and watched the sun set on the surrounding peaks.

Again, on night two some type of animal came and kept us up most of the night. This time it chewed trough a strap on my backpack so I had to use a rope to secure the tent for our hike out.  

The hike out was as beautiful as anything. Here is Anthony crossing through a meadow and it just so happened that a black bear was in the same spot.

I think we scared the bear more than it scared us

Overall it was an awesome weekend! The hiking was a little rugged and thick but we managed. Today, Monday, my legs are still burning but it was totally worth it. We don’t know the total mileage but our best guess is about 6 miles to Lucifer Lake with vertical gain of about 2900 feet. 

That’s all for now and I will post next week after I meet up with my brother and friends in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho this coming weekend.