Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
Archive for October, 2010
The end of September brought about the end of the cycling season and time for some cross-training. This involved my first week-long vacation from work since last Christmas and a week-long trip to Glacier National Park to go backpacking!
Photo gallery of some awesome scenes at the end of the post – mostly taken on Jess’ point-and-shoot since my dSLR was a bit bulky for lightweight backpacking.
The first day in the park we drove the Going to the Sun road on the last day it happened to be open for the season, saw a rainbow, and then made camp at Many Glacier on the East side of the park before starting our hiking the next morning. It rained all night, and a forecast for inclement weather combined with wet gear starting off on a 50+ mile trip made things a little up in the air, but we decided to set off and see where things went.
The first day of hiking was 10 miles with a climb up to Ptarmigan tunnel and a great view out towards Elizabeth Lake, our campground for the night. We made camp that evening and woke up to a fresh layer of snow several inches deep.
Day two was supposed to be a very short day, but due to the questionable weather and muddy, wet trail, we decided to detour a bit past a ranger station to check the weather. We came out of the forest into a clearing with fenced in horses and a small cabin with smoke coming out of the chimney. It felt straight out of a movie. Even the park ranger fit the bill – dressed in a full ranger outfit with a handheld radio to check the weather. After some warm tea and a promising forecast, we headed to Glenns Lake for our second night of camping.
Day 3 was 8+ miles and included a climb up Stony Indian Pass, which was easily one of the highlights of the trip. We woke up to fresh snow and frost for the second morning, and enjoyed seeing all the fresh animal (including bear) tracks on the trail with a complete lack of human footprints – the weather had caused cancellation of most of the other trips that would have been on those same trails that week. The climb up to the pass included a view of a massive cascading waterfall surrounded by snowy hillsides with some autumn colors poking through. We didn’t come up with any photos that did it justice. Coming over the top of the pass, we saw fresh bear tracks, and several hundred yards later we saw the culprit racing away from us across the hillside. That night we made camp at Stony Indian Lake and managed to convince ourselves that the deer outside of the tent was actually a bear.
The next day took us another 8 miles from Stony Indian Lake all the way down into the valley just to immediately climb back up 2900 feet to Fifty Mountain campground. The weather had gotten considerably better by this point, and with the snow melted and the trail dry the going was much easier.
From Fifty Mountain we set out along the continental divide via the Highline Trail, and got a close-up view of several bear cubs with a mother nearby. This was our longest day, which ended up being slightly over 12 miles to Granite Park.
Our final day brought us a final bit of climbing 700 feet to the top of Swiftcurrent Pass, and from there it was all downhill back to the car at Many Glacier.
There are many great stories and experiences to share, but this is just a very broad overview of the trip. 54 miles in 6 days of hiking, and it’s certainly one of the more memorable outdoor experiences I’ve had. It was a great getaway from the everyday routine, complete with the fun of dehydrating some of our own food, seeing bears, staying warm curled up in sleeping bags, and nearly running out of toilet paper. Jess was a great travel-mate and I think she enjoyed it every bit as much as I did (except for perhaps the last mile back to the car)!
Now, some photos!