Archive for the ‘2009/08/08 Montana’ Category

Glacier… The Rainy Season

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
Luke misses his spare

Luke misses his spare

On Wednesday of Luke’s visit it started raining and basically didn’t stop until he left on Monday. We considered flying Kim’s dad back out since he had such good weather karma.  Even though the weather didn’t cooperate we found things to occupy our time.  We had a lot of fun playing Wii, especially when Kim wasn’t a sore loser. We also frequented the movie theater in town.  They now consider us regulars and call us by name.

Hey look, it's not raining

Hey look, it's not raining

We tried to make the most of the times when the clouds parted and even fit in a campfire one night.  Luke made some killer pie iron sandwiches.  On several of the days the sun peaked through the clouds in the morning and the day looked promising. We would set out into the park for a hike, but to no avail.  We tried to do the Highline trail once again, only to be rained out after getting to the trailhead (which we couldn’t see, as the mountains were socked in with fog and rumours of recent snow). The good part about all of our trips into the park was the huckleberry milkshake joint we found and had to pass every time on our way home, yum!

Birds nest on Hungry Horse Reservoir

Birds nest on Hungry Horse Reservoir

The day before Luke left, the skies looked promising once again.  We decided to check out the Hungry Horse Reservoir and the Jewel Basin.  Our hope was to hike into one of the many lakes in that area.  It started off pretty good, however every time we went to get out of the truck for a hike, it started to rain… We enjoyed our car touring and even gathered some firewood in the National Forest.  We had a great time regardless of the rain and enjoyed having Luke visit.

What is the opposite of cubicle?

What is the opposite of cubicle?

Of course, the day after Luke left the sun came out. Rumor has it that  it rained in Webster… We finally made it to the Highline trail, which didn’t disappoint.  The trail runs just under the Continental Divide and offered great views the whole way.

Wildflowers on the Highline Trail

Wildflowers on the Highline Trail

Although it was a bit past peak, the wildflowers were very pretty adding color to the day.

Brave marmot

Brave marmot

There was a great deal of wildlife.  We saw several marmots who had no problem coming right up to us on the trail.

Braver bighorn sheep

Braver bighorn sheep

We thought the marmots were bold… We finally saw tons of male Big Horn Sheep who were enjoying grazing on the fauna.  They had no problem using the trail for themselves and would even block our way on occasion.  One time we had to head up the rocks to go around them as they wouldn’t move.  It was quite intimidating having a huge Big Horn stare you in the eyes from a few feet away.

Still finding snow on our hikes

Still finding snow on our hikes

Even in August we still found snow on the trail.

Grinnell Glacier

Grinnell Glacier

Since we are gluttons for punishment, we decided to add another 1.2 miles roundtrip to our already 11.6 mile hike.  Not only was it added mileage, it was a 900 foot elevation gain.  The view was worth it.  The peak of this spur trail sits right on the Continental Divide and looks down onto the Grinnell Glacier.  This, almost 13 mile hike, was the longest of the trip so far.  We were pretty pooped when we were done, but happy to have finally been able to do it.  3 times is a charm…  Tomorrow it’s off to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Glacier National Park

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

20090812-003x

St Mary Falls

St Mary Falls

We left Waterton NP happy that we were able to do the Crypt Lake trail.  We made it to Kalispel, just outside of Glacier, on Saturday afternoon and spent the day getting supplies and set up for Luke’s visit. He arrived safely at about midnight, after a long day with 3 flights.  We stayed up late chatting and catching up, going to bed around 2 AM Mountain Time.  Our first day was spent chillin’ around the campground and relaxing.  The next day we set out into the park on the motorcycles to ride the “Road to the Sun” road.  It would have been a better ride without the traffic and construction, however the views were outstanding. After making our way to the other side of the park we decided to take a walk/hike to several falls we had read about. We parked at Sun Point and made our way to Baring Falls, St. Mary Falls, and Virgina Falls.

Fun in the St Mary River

Fun in the St Mary River

Each of the falls were  more impressive than the last.  The intense blue of the rushing water at St. Mary Falls beckoned for you to jump in.  While working our way up to Virginia Falls there were several great “mini” falls, swimming holes, and jumping spots along the river.  We stopped to watch a family cheer on their kids as they jumped from a rock cliff into the ice cold water.

Virginia Falls

Virginia Falls

When we finally made it to Virginia Falls, we were pleasently surprised to be the only ones there.  We took a bunch of pictures and enjoyed a snack along the rocks as we listened to the water roar.

Luke, How do you feel after your first hike?

Luke, How do you feel after your first hike?

We didn’t set out to kill the boy, but after about 6 miles this is what he looked like.  As much as his butt hurt from riding on the back of Chris’s motorcycle, he couldn’t wait to get back on. It was a long day and by the time we got home we were all pretty pooped.

Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake

The next day, we opted for an “auto tour”, so Luke could rest up.  We headed for some less traveled areas of the park and stopped at Bowman Lake for a little while. The views were quite enjoyable, however the bugs started to carry us away. 

Luke is so sad rain canceled our second hike

Luke is so sad rain canceled our second hike

On Wednesday the plan was to tackle an 11.6 mile hike from Logan Pass along the Highline trail and back to our car via the Loop trail. When we woke up it was pretty gray and threatening.  Having fought the weather before, we packed for a day on the trail, ready for anything.  As we drove into the park it got worse and worse.  We stayed positive and grabbed a shuttle from the parking lot at the Loop trailhead up to Logan Pass.  The higher we got, the colder, cloudier, rainier, etc… the weather got.  When we stepped off the shuttle it started to pour and we couldn’t see 20 feet through the clouds (which we were in).  We tried to wait it out, but after 30 minutes we gave up and grabbed a shuttle back to the car with our tail between our legs after an unsuccessful attempt.  As you can see Luke was VERY disappointed about this.

Rain forced us to Plan B

Rain forced us to Plan B

Alright, back up plan. We had seen advertisements about “The House of Mystery”, a location known for having a vortex(s) causing weird things to happen on the property.  Both Chris and Luke had heard about it before and even saw/read about it.  We were all pretty skeptical and looked at it as just another tourist trap but what did we have to lose, it was raining and miserable outside, why not check it out.

Kim takes a snooze in the vortex

Kim takes a snooze in the vortex

After walking through some woods with crooked trees (of course caused by the pull from the vortex…) we happened upon, you got it, THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY. This house was mysteriously off camber(actually, it looks like it just slid off the side of the hill), allowing you to enjoy some play with gravitational forces (oh, we mean the vortex(s)).

The Vortex pops out an evil head from Chris' shoulder

The Vortex pops out an evil head from Chris' shoulder

We had fun trying to capture the moment. Is it real or is it memorex?

From there we headed home to watch some movies hoping the weather would break.