OUTDIP – Montana hiker Marc Ankenbauer, 37, plans on ending a 10-year quest today by plunging into Fishercap Lake in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park.
The swim will cap the goal he set as a seasonal park employee to jump into each of the 132 named lakes in the park, as well as the 38 in adjoining Waterton Lakes National Park.
Subtracting for the two lakes that straddle the border into both parks, Fishercap will likely be etched in his memory as Lake 168.
The goal “seemed unapproachable enough that it would be an epic life adventure yet doable enough that I might be able to do it,” he told the Great Falls Tribune, calling it “a normal guy’s crazy adventure.”
It’s consumed his summers, nearly all his free time spent hiking to lakes, planning the routes, or finding hiking partners.
“I haven’t seen a music festival in 10 years,” he said.
Ankenbauer swam in some lakes and merely dipped into others. “The neck and down is pretty much my pre-requisite,” he said, noting that he’s waded into lakes still harboring ice.
The bigger challenge is simply reaching lakes that extremely remote and don’t have trail access.
“No chance in the world I would have seen this park as thoroughly without pursuing this,” he said.
Some lakes required multi-day hikes to reach, but he saved Fishercap, a 10-minute hike from the trailhead, for his finale so his mom and friends could help him celebrate.
Ankebauer, who was successfully treated for cancer as a teenager, used publicity about his quest to raise money for Camp Mak-A-Dream, a camp near Drummond, Mont., that offers free programs for cancer patients and families.
Biologists, trail crew members and other people who know Glacier well often gave him directions to his destinations.
“If it wasn’t for the insight of all those people this would have taken 20 years,” he said.
• On the Web: glacierexplorer.com/.
Outdoor programs set
OUTSEE – After a summer hiatus, outdoors groups are reviving monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:
• Bicycling programs of the Spokane Regional Transportation Council explained by Ryan Stewart, senior planner, 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Bicycle Club.
(Directions: see club website.)
• Birding on the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, by refuge manger Diane Ellis, 7 p.m., Tuesday at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.
• Fly fishing local streams, by Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop, 7 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.
• Gardening for wildlife, by master gardener Eva Lusk, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.