Friday, August 4, 2017

Notes from the road: Part 2

Day 10: Slept in. Ate a huge egg and bacon bagel sandwich. Sat outside in the sun. Bought bear spray. Met up with Abby and her husband, Jason, Mari and Amy, all adventure racers, for an afternoon hike up Beards and Mustache mountains. Learned that adventure racers don’t follow trails. Bushwacked our way up and down the mountain sides. It is pretty awesome just exploring in the woods not being confined to trails. Eventually found a trail again and ran back to the car. So fun!

Day 11: 108 mile bike ride today around the Tetons with Abby, Jason and Mari. Jason thought it would be fun to ride a section of singletrack that he had never ridden before. Since we all had mountain bikes, we set off to check it out. We spent about 2 hours in the 1st 12-15 miles of the ride climbing over downed trees, up steep hike-a-bike sections, across streams. The rideable trail was really fun though! Then we did about half on gravel roads and the second half on paved roads through Grand Teton park. Incredible mountain views! Abby’s parents met us in Teton Village so we didn’t have to climb back over the pass. Ate dinner at the Grand Teton Brewing company. Nobody was drinking beer so I got a root beer instead. Amazing ride with a great group of people!

Day 12: Rode 55 miles of singletrack at Grand Targhee – some of the same ones as in the Pierre’s Hole 100 race that we did last year, some different ones, had a blast exploring and enjoying the mountain views, the alpine meadows, the wildflowers, the flowy singletrack, the heart pounding climbs. Way more fun just riding those trails than racing them.

Day 13: Rode Phillips Ridge trail in the morning and completed the climb up to the top of Teton pass that I missed riding 2 days ago. Met up with Abby and Jason for a 16 mile hike/run in the Big Hole Mountains in the afternoon. It turned out to be way more running than hiking. I used to run all the time but for the last 18 months, I haven’t done any running at all. Definitely should have done some running training prior to this trip! Ate veggies tacos with Abby and Jason and then we joined up with Mari and sat outside and watched the fireworks. The town of Driggs put on a great display which was almost as good as the street fireworks set off by all the neighbors. Said goodbye to everyone. Learned a lot about adventure racing hanging out here. Definitely would be fun to try sometime. Heading to Glacier tomorrow.

Day 14: Amazingly, I can still walk after yesterday’s run. Drove to Glacier - about 8 hours with extra for stops. Talked to one of the rangers at the Many Glacier area. Unfortunately, a lot of the trails are still closed due to snow but there is a possibility they might open before I leave. Did a short hike out to Red Rock Falls. I have never seen water so clear before in the rivers and lakes. Went to a ranger talk on wolverines. Watched the sunset over Swiftcurrent lake. Beautiful place.

Day 15: Hiked out as far as I could to Grinnell Glacier. There was a really steep snowfield across the trail about 4 miles out that I didn’t feel safe crossing so I turned around there. Still amazing views of mountains and almost green appearing Grinnell Lake below. A bear decided to mosey its way down the trail on the return hike around the opposite side of Josephine lake. Luckily for me, it continued to mosey its way off the trail and down towards the water. Decided to do some more trail running for the afternoon and jogged out to Cracker lake. I forgot how much I like running! Saw a mom and cub grizzly bear way up on the mountain side near Cracker Lake that a ranger pointed out to me. The water of Cracker lake is an incredible teal blue color. There is also an old mine on the hillside that I walked around in with my flashlight. Kinda spooky. Jogged back out, went swimming in Swiftcurrent lake. So cold but felt so good! Found out highline trail opened up which is one of the trails I really wanted to hike while I was here so that is cool.

Day 16: Did a short hike out to Apikuni falls in the morning. Bought a phone card so I could use a pay phone to call Jeff. Pretty funny using pay phones again but I have zero service out here. Spent the rest of the day biking over to St. Mary and then along Going to the Sun Road. Amazing views up over Logan Pass– it doesn’t even feel like a workout! The descent off Logan pass was so fun, lots of twists and turns in the road, snow capped mountains, waterfalls cascades down cliff sides. They don’t let bikes back over Logan pass eastbound until 4pm so I rode along Logan Creek for awhile, filled up water bottles, ate a PB&J sandwich. Started climbing back over the pass at 4. A woman stopped and gave me an ice cold lime pelligrino which tasted delicious! Got in 116 miles. Discovered there are public showers at swiftcurrent inn for $4. Definitely the best $4 I have ever spent!

Day 17: Amazing day of hiking. Took a shuttle to the top of Logan pass. Saw 2 bears on the way out. Hiked Highline trail up to Granite Chalet and then up over Swiftcurrent pass and down back to the car. Incredible views around every turn. Took a side trail up the top of the Garden Wall and ate lunch looking out over Grinnell glacier. The views are so big here. It is hard to capture them on camera even with panorama mode. Saw lots of marmots. After you hike over the pass, you get more amazing views over red mountain ranges, blue lakes below, beargrass and wildflowers along the trail side meadows, glaciers up high along the rock walls. I bought a bunch of tuna fish packets for dinners out here since I figured it would be a good source of protein and would survive sitting in a hot car all day. Needless to say, I am getting sick of eating tuna fish sandwiches for dinner!

Day 18: Another amazing day of hiking. Did a combo of hiking and trail running out to Iceberg lake. Waded in for like 30 secs and the water was so cold, my feet hurt getting out. Then went up to Ptarmigan tunnel which just opened up yesterday! Again, just incredible views. There a tunnel through the mountain that you can walk through and it opens up amazing views on the other side of the mountain range. Spent the afternoon exploring some trails off Going to the Sun road. Hiked out to St. Mary and Virginia falls. Saw a bunch of guys jumping off the bridge at St. Mary’s falls. Decided I needed to try that too. So fun! Went out to hidden lake. The trail is basically all snow covered. Lots of people there hiking it. Some people skiing and snowboarding down. Saw mountain goats and big horn sheep. Makes sense I would see the most animals on the most populated trail. Splurged for dinner at Rising Sun. Got a huge salad with fresh veggies and chicken – delicious and tuna fish free! Drove up to Logan pass to watch the stars. Fell asleep though before it got dark enough.

Day 19: Woke up to big horn sheep around the car. Beautiful sunrise at the top of Logan Pass. Hiked out to Avalanche lake. Pretty, but does not compare to the hikes around Many Glacier area. Lots of cars on Going to the Sun Road. If I come back to Glacier, definitely would plan to skip all the day hikes and just do backcountry hiking. Drove to Mount Rainier. Stopped in Coeur D’Alene for lunch and to catch up on life stuff that comes along with having service again. Got a camping spot at White River. Decided to set up the tent and take a break from car camping. temperatures are definitely cold. I knew I brought my puffy jacket out here for a reason. 

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