Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Glacier National Park, Part 2

I am so incredibly behind on blog posts.  There are hundreds, no thousands of pictures waiting for posting!

I already posted Part 1 of our Glacier National Park pictures in July of 2011  but I never got around to part 2.  Or the rest of the trip.  I'm working on fixing that :)

So without further ado, the pictures :)

On our second day in Glacier, we set out on a trek to hike over a pass and down the other side, using the shuttle system to complete the loop.  I can't remember the length but it wasn't supposed to be too long.  Here is a shot looking down on what we had hiked up, before passing over to the other side.

Once we got to the top and were heading over to the other side, we encountered a wide and STEEP snowfield.  The trail disappeared under the snow.  And no one, that we could tell, had gone before us.  (This is when I saw a wolverine!  I only saw it for about 2 seconds before it scuttled away down a cliff.)  About this time, another hiker came behind us and we asked him if he knew this route.  It was his first time too.  We contemplated turning around but the snow seemed somewhat soft so Barry started across, kindly creating steps for his fearful wife.  (For those that don't know, I am rather scared of steep snowfields without the proper gear after an uncontrolled slide last year on another wintry hike.)

It's hard to tell, but this is a LARGE and STEEP snowfield with some cliffs at different points.  It took us a generous hour just to get down the steep section.  We switchbacked along until it got slightly less steep, then slid for a ways until it leveled out.  Because of the snow, we really weren't sure where the trail was, but we just went where we thought the trail should go and eventually the trail once again emerged from the snow.

Just for perspective's sake, this next picture was taken much later in the hike, looking back up at what we had come down.  The snow fields on the top middle extending right are what we came down.

After making it down the first snowfield, we ran into these two guys.

They were quite comfortable with us, even settling down for a nap on the trail.  At first we didn't mind; I was busy taking pictures.  But after a while, it was time for us to go and they were blocking the only way down!  

Barry, waiting for the mountain goats.

Eventually, with a little encouragement, they moved on.

It continued to be quite steep, but the views were incredible!

And then we encountered another large snowfield.  At first look, it didn't seem too bad, especially after what we had come down earlier.  But this one had its own trials.  It was facing a different direction and so the sun hadn't warmed the surface, making it icy and very, very hard to make steps.  If we had fallen, we would have had a long and fast slide to the rocky bottom.  Barry valiantly pounded steps, this time out of necessity, not just fear.  The other hiker was still behind us, benefiting mightily by Barry's hard effort.  It would take 4-5 pounding blows before we could take one step.  About half-way across, Barry  was exhausted and the second half just seemed to drag on.  But we made it and nothing but green grass stretched out ahead of us.  We fondly (or not so fondly for Barry) named it "Barry's Great Traverse".

Nearing the end of our hike, we came to these beautiful falls.

We survived!


Kathy said...

Christy, great photos! How lucky you were to see a wolverine too. My husband and I spent 5 weeks in Glacier last summer in August and September. We hiked the Highline Trail in mid-August and there were several snow fields we had to cross - they made me very nervous! Glacier is one of my favorite places on the planet.

Johonn said...

Wow! Love the pictures, as well as the story! That sounds like a lot of fun (and a lot of work for some parts)! :)

Caitlin said...

absolutely stunning!

shama said...

The pictures are amazing! Have you submitted them to some magazine or something? Glacier is one of my favorite places. :D

Christy Joy said...

Thanks for your comment, Kathy! We were there in July and there was TONS of snow left. The highline trail was closed at that time.

Shams - thanks for the vote of confidence! But no, no magazines in my future, at least not yet :)

Saralyn said...

Christy, these are incredible photos. It's an amazing place--just took me back down memory lane to the last time I was there. : ) God truly is big and makes beautiful things--thanks for sharing them... leaves my heart in worship once again...

Michael said...

That's such an awesome place! I want to go back!

Lana said...

Oh Christy! I have done that very same hike! It is SO amazing. It makes me happy to see that place again ;)

Lana said...

I meant to say....we did it much later and there was no snow like that. You guys did quite the difficult deed crossing all those snow fields.

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