Friday, 24 July 2009

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National "walk in the" Park

The week that was in facts and stats:

  • immigration officers (1 Canadian, 2 US)
  • US National Park Rangers (several, all very concerned that we hang our food into the provided bear safe hanging tree over night, make lots of noise on the trail so as not to startle a bear and use the pit toilets at the campsite - "but don't put trash in them")
  • moose (10, grazing in a lake)
  • marmots (hoary and very friendly)
  • Columbian ground squirrels (standing bolt-upright like mercats)
  • mountain goats (white as snow with black eyes, kids and nannies)
  • Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (group of tups lazing around, groups of ewes busy looking after lambs)
  • golden eagles (soaring)
  • bald eagle (soaring)
  • black bear (digging up stuff at the side of the trail)
  • tourists (thousands at the roadside visitor centre - very scary - only a hand-full on the trails)
  • miles walked through the park: aprox 90
  • weather: sunshine, hot
  • flowers: carpets of them (bear grass, forget me not, indian paint brush, penstemon, cinquefoil, Schafgabe, hollyhocks, geraniums, delphiniums, asters, glacier lillies and lots and lots I don't know by name!)
  • mountains: SPECTACULAR

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Flip-flop through the hot springs

Dear Reader,

we have made is through the Wemanuche Wilderness in 5 fabulous days with wonderful trails and flowers and wildlife and got back to Wolfcreek Pass where we left off a month ago. The flo-flop to mid-way Colorado has been well worth it since we had perfect conditions (as far as the snow went) in this highest part of the trail. Quite a lot of thunderstorms - which was FUN when you are walking on the Divide!

From Wolfcreek we hitched into Pagosa Springs again and had a dip in the hot springs in the evening. Then Trail-Witch Mary Joy picked us up and took us for a v interesting morning to ancestoral pueoblo site Chimney Rock. Ruins on a narrow ridge leading up to spectacular twin sandstone towers at the end - aprox 1000 years old and related to the famous Chaco Canyon ruins in some way - but very little is known about the people who built them and their culture (or even why they would have built up there, far from water and fields). V intersting!!

Leisurely wound our way back to MJ's home in Montrose via Silverton and Molass Pass. We were guests at MJ's for two nights and managed to pick up a hire car from the nearby town. This we are taking to a town near Glacier National Park on the Canada/US border where we will start hiking again, facing South.

On route we've swum at Glenwood Springs hot springs (Colorado), tiny but hot Saratoga hot springs (Wyoming) and we are now at Thermopolis which boasts two hotspring pools (with GREAT slides!) and the campsite we were at last night (called "Fountain of Youth") also has a hotspring pool all of its own. So over the past 5 days we have visited 5 different hot springs. They say they are good for your health but my face now looks like Pizza and both B and I smell noticible of sulfur. Heading for Montana today and hoping to start hiking from the Canadian Border in 3-4 days time!