Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glacier National Park (5)

So, after our night of dorm room sleeping (and Blackfoot Indian bar adventures), I got up early and snuck out of the room so as not to wake the whole group.

I found the coffee lady downstairs, bought a mocha, and walked around the grounds of the lodge.

What a beautiful place!!!

(you have to tilt your head a little to the left on this one...picture is a might bit crooked) :-)

When I returned, most of the people in our group were in various stages of "up." Some had already packed, some were packing, and some were still laying in bed trying to catch those last few z's before finally rising. :-)

We loaded up the vehicles and headed back to Luna's (Mmmmm....Luuunnnaaaaaa's) for breakfast.

Brady made a new friend outside before leaving! Awwwww!!!!


After breakfast, we headed towards the Going to the Sun road. It takes park visitors from the east side of the park, over to the west.

We hadn't been driving for more than 10 minutes, when we started making our first (of many) stops along the way.

Parts of the road were under construction, so there were short waits. But, no one seemed to gave everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs, and take more pictures.

When we were nearly to the other side, we all stopped for a lunch break along the way.

And a little polar bear plunging, for those with suits and guts! :-)

There are Red Buses everywhere, full of tourists.

Once we arrived on the west side of the park, we found a campground, found a couple of sites next to each other, and set up for the night.

Cell phone towers in Glacier. :-)

I want to jump into this picture, sit back down on my chair, and breathe in that fresh air. I love (and miss) the mountains!!!!!

After dinner, the group sat down to play some cards, then everyone split up to do their own things.

It was a great day!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Glacier National Park (4)

No beautiful sunrise picture today. It rained...scratch that...POURED on us all night long.

Half of the group started on the trail before the rest of us. From what I understand, they took on quite a bit of water that night, and wanted to get a head start back to civilization.

Those of us that were left, ate breakfast in the rain, packed up, and headed down the trail.

Sorry about the blurry shot. The trail looked just like this the whole way back. Puddle, after puddle.

Actually, the trail was more of a flowing stream or river most of the time.

We splashed and sloshed our way for 4 miles.

Eventually, the sun came out, the fog and mist cleared....and we got a view of what we'd been hiking through for the last couple of hours.

And boy, when the sun came out, it got warm quick. We stopped in the middle of a mountain meadow to strip out of our soaking wet rain gear (to expose the soaking wet layers under them). :-)

The information we were given about the park shuttle service on the east side of the park was...well....less than helpful actually.

We arrived at the Cut Bank trail head thinking there would be a shuttle stop....signs...something.

No luck there.

We stopped a passing vehicle, and it's occupants told us that the rest of our group had been through not long before....and had headed to the ranger station up the road. we went.

The ranger station was abandoned...but the rest of our group was there waiting for us when we arrived.

One member had found a ride back to our vehicles...she would bring one back...pick up more people, and go get the other.

After she left, the rest of the group successfully obtained a ride for the rest of us from a local who was in the area checking on his cattle.

A ride where, you might ask?

Well....the shuttle stop was "just up the road."

5 more miles up the road.


We all loaded into the back of his truck...and off we went.

The shuttle was rumored to pick up people where the road met the highway. So, we all unloaded from the truck, and waited.

We ate bacon, we spread our gear out in the sun....

...and some of us took a nap. :-)

Just as Ashley arrived with her vehicle, ready to pick up others, the shuttle also made an appearance.

He was less than helpful.

Nej "So, is there a schedule for the shuttle service on this side of the park?"

Driver "Yep"


Nej " it like every half hour, every hour.....?"

Driver "Nope"


Nej "Will there be another shuttle today?"

(you see, just before going to bed the night before, a group from.....oh heck, where were they from....Norway, Finland, something like that.....anyway, they arrived to take the last camp spot. That morning, due to the rain, they had decided to also hike out to the trail head and grab the shuttle. They were going to be about an hour behind us, and I was curious if they'd be able to catch a ride)

Driver "no, this is my last trip going north....I have one more going south and that's it"

Nej "are there any other drivers also making this route"

Driver (sigh) "so, do you guys need a ride, because I can only take 6 (or was it 8?)...I can't take all of you" (he said all of this with a disgusted look on his face, like he'd never seen hikers coming from the park, needing showers, before)

Nej "no, we're good....thanks"

Once all of the vehicles had arrived to pick us all up, the group voted to head back to East Glacier and stay at the lodge.

We were able to score a 4 bed dorm-like room for a very, very cheap price....and we jumped on the opportunity.

For the first few hours, we all took turns in the TINY bathroom, while others starting hanging all the wet gear from sprinkler system piping...bed posts.....radiators.....anywhere we could find really.

The rest of the evening, we kept the door open (man was it muggy in that room!)....guests of the lodge would come upstairs and take pictures of the strange room. :-)

After showers were taken, and gear was hung....everyone started looking for food. The plan was for everyone to meet up at the one cafe in town, Luna's.

To pass the time, some of us headed down to the lounge in the lodge....for some drinks and appetizers.

If you are EVER in East Glacier, go to Luna's cafe. The food was great.....and the desserts.....yumm! We were told it was the best Huckleberry pie in the area.....and I think everyone that had it agreed.

Huckleberry ice cream.

Everything in this town is made from huckleberries. Syrup, jam, lip balm, bath soap, soda, honey, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.......

This sign was in the lodge.

It was the "and more" that caught our attention. :-)

I know I posted this as a wordless Wednesday picture...but I had to post it again. First off, why not make a sign that says "All rooms ----->".

And.....Room 355 (our room) was actually the other direction. I mean, the sign was right beside it....pointing in the opposite direction!!!!! :-)

After dinner, most headed to bed....while some of us went against the advice of the people in the lodge lounge. They said that the one bar in town was great....except Wednesday nights.

We're not exactly sure why they tried to keep us from going. It was a normal, pool, people hanging out and talking.

After we left there, we headed back to the lodge to bed.

Good night Montana!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Glacier National Park (3)

Good morning Montana!!!

I could really get used to waking up to this, I swear!!!!!

We woke up to a wet campground. So far, it had been a somewhat "soggy" trip....but that was nothing compared to what we encountered later in the hike! :-)

Hanging out in the tent, waiting for everyone to get up.

Making breakfast before heading out.

From the Red Eagle Lake campground, we set off for the Triple Divide Pass.

(called the triple divide because water from this location flows to not two, but three oceans....the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic)

Our elevation gain and distance traveled was going to be MUCH higher and longer than the day before!!!!! :-)

The group set out in three smaller groups...but we all met up and passed each other multiple times over the day.

I elected not to bring my DSLR...but Brady brought his. Every time I saw it, I was peeved that I didn't go ahead and bring mine. With the unknown status of my knee, I just didn't want one more thing to worry about. (sigh)

Cairns to show us where to make our first actual river (small river) crossing. Quite a few of us decided to balance our way across a downed log. Some took off shoes and went walking.

We stayed somewhat dry, until just after stopping for lunch. That's when the rain started, and really didn't leave again....well....for the rest of the hike.

Ashely and her home made gaiters....made from the rain pants she started the trip wearing! :-)

The higher we got, the rain started changing to sleet and snow. I didn't get many pictures while it was really coming down...mainly because I was trying to keep my hat on my head, and my fingers from freezing. The wind started to pick up just as we hit the monster switchbacks that led up to the pass.

We found ourselves planting our hiking poles in and bracing against the wind quite a bit....and it made for slow going up the mountain.....but boy was it worth it!!!!!!!!!!

See that sun on that distant mountain? We spent quite a bit of time wishing it was shining down on us! :-)

Looking back along the trail.

Getting closer!! The sleet and snow was coming down pretty good...but you can't see it in the picture.

The top!!!!

Now, we have to go back down.

Pot of gold at the end of that rainbow?? No. But our campsite was!!!!! :-)

We arrived at the Atlantic Falls campground as it was starting to get dark. We made dinner and all went to bed. It was still pouring rain, and everyone was pretty tuckered out.

Drying wet socks and boots over the fire. It rained on us all through the night...and into the next morning.

Good night Montana!!!