Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Glacier National Park

I knew it would be an interesting weekend when the white Chevy blazer pulled up in front of my house playing jazz music. I soon met Ryan and Amanda, my escorts north to Glacier. Lucas, my roommate Cora's brother, had invited me along to go hiking with him and his friends. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into because I knew that I wasn't anywhere near as active or in shape they were. We spent Friday evening at Lucas' summer place on a Biological Station on Flathead Lake where he cooked dinner for us and several other friends.

Saturday we drove to Glacier and straight to the top of the Going to the Sun Road. I hadn't paid much attention to the plan for the day as I was just tagging along as the poky photo geek. I was just hoping I didn't slow them down too much.

I was feeling pretty good about keeping up with them for the first 4 miles. And what an amazing 4 miles of trail it was! I had a hard time watching my feet I was so distracted by the view and the mountain goats that just looked at you when you passed by a few feet away from them... less skittish than cows.

We stopped for lunch here where the guys are leaning against the rock wall. And if you look up above them... yes this is where things get interesting. We basically left the trail at this point and started climbing up this , shall we say ... cliff, toward the top. Fortunately they gave me a few pointers about rock climbing as we went. Sometimes I was wishing I had longer legs to make the next foot hold, but I managed to scramble up the rocks somehow.

This is where the scree and chimneys come in to play. Scree is loose rock that you have to get across at different points to find solid rocks... very tricky and my least favorite part of the climb. Chimneys are kind of like corners with hand holds that you have to climb up.

Eventually we made it up to a saddle where a glacier had once been. I came over the ridge and sighed, "we made it" and Ryan just looked to our left and said "we still have to go up there"... so I amended my comment to "we made it this far".

I decided the saddle was as far as I needed to go in one day as I was most concerned about getting down and I had never attempted this type of a hike before. So my three hiking buddies started up the next section of the peak and I leaned back on a nice sloped rock with moss perfectly situated under me and watched them disappear over the rocks. I had a beautiful afternoon on top of a mountain waiting for them to return. Once they came back down we headed down the to the main trail. It was slow going as we tried not to knock rocks down on top of each other. The photo of them laughing is just after we got back down to the main trail to hike back 4 miles to our car.

The last photo I put red arrows to show where we climbed. The lowest arrow is part of the main trail we hiked in on . The middle arrow is the saddle where I spent my afternoon at 8500 feet and the top arrow is Mt Gould about 9500 feet... they climbed to the highest part... I am just not sure where that is along this ridge.

That night we slept out under the stars in a nearby campground. And woke to the hum of motor home generators. But we were off again and my body was reminding me of my age. I did my best to ignore it but when we started hiking on Sunday I had a hard time ignoring the protesting. There was a plan to climb another peak and the guys did climb one, but Amanda and I opted for a 6 mile hike down to Hidden Lake near the top of Logan's Pass. We had lunch on the rocky beach with more mountain goats. Once back from the hike, we sat on the board walk near the visitor's center to watch big horn sheep and people as we waited for the guys to get back. It is amazing what footwear people will attempt to hike in...

Once the guys got back we drove back down to Flathead Lake and went swimming before Ryan, Amanda and I hopped back in the white blazer and drove back to Missoula.

Today is Wednesday and my body finally feels normal again. But what an introduction to Glacier... definitely an adventure I will never forget.


Anonymous said...

VERY FUN!!! It sounds like you found some true crazy people, Montana style! Love the pictures, just curious how many pictures total did you take on your weekend? 100? 200? 500?

I love the goat next to the trail, that is so cool! Well done!


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I know you told me about the hike, but that last picture puts it all in perspective - you rock!!! I'm glad you had a fun trip! lc

Marie VW said...

How cool! You lucky duck!

Sodak Girl said...

Whoa! Wow! and Oooo-ahhhh!

ace said...

You're amazing Carrie! Now I have pics to go with your story. Way to go you! How BEAUTIFUL!!! I MISS mountains!! So glad you had that weekend gettaway! PTL for INCREDIBLE creation to enjoy!