I will preface by saying that I am in no way affiliated with the company that manufactures Keens. However, if a representative of said company is reading this, I do accept endorsement deals of any sort.
(The “Pic of the Day” associated with this post, as with all other POD’s, and additional pics of the trip, are featured down and to the right in the slideshow. Watch the glacially rotating thumbnail images, or do yourself a favor, and click on the picture.)
Keens are AWESOME!! They are a hybrid hiking boot and river sandal. Julie and I spent last week hiking, kayaking, and lounging in Michigan, both clad in Keens (shout out to the Northwestern Univ. crew who are all “krazy” for Keens!), but I was dubious as to whether or not they could handle snow. My hike today took me from Logan Pass on the Continental Divide in Glacier NP, over a saddle, around a ridge, and down to Hidden Lake. The rangers cancelled the ranger hikes for the week due to “trail conditions.” Snow still covered a good portion of the trail, and hikers were advised to hike “at their own risk.” When I saw that World War II veterans and children under the age of 5 were braving the hike, I decided that I could not be dissuaded. So, I plodded the three (very slow) miles through snow/slush/ice to the most delightful lake tucked between Reynolds and Clements Mountains. Half of the lake was still iced over, but the other half is cobalt blue, and iridescent when the sun is shining. Along the way I befriended a family of mountain goats, a mama and baby marmot, and a number of other critters. The goats and marmots on this hike are not at all shy, and in some cases, play with passers by.
Earl, Barbara, and I climbed the Going to the Sun Road together on the free park shuttle, which goes as far as Logan Pass (6000+ ft. in elev.) Barbara and I cased out the Visitor Center, cancelled our National Park Passports (one of the many geeky exercises that you will hear about) and posed for some pictures. The ride itself is about 1.5 hours in duration, with construction adding a variable, so Earl and Barbara soon headed back down to Apgar Village to rest, snack, people-watch, and await my return.
Glacier is obviously well-known for her many glaciers, which at one time numbered in the hundreds. Now, however fewer than 20 exist, and they are all in a state of retreat. In fact, Barbara made as one of her few requests that we stop in Glacier, in her words, “while there are any glaciers left.” Perhaps some day soon they will have to change the name to Glaciated National Park, lest they be accused of false advertising. Glaciers or not, the terrain is something to behold: cirques, arêtes, U shaped valleys, moraines of several sorts, hanging valleys, and so many other glacial features. In fact, on our way up the road, I noticed a hanging valley that seems to have been carved not once, but twice by two glacial events! If someone wanted to take pictures for an illustrated textbook on glaciers, you could do a lot worse than Glacier NP.
My ride down was interrupted by road debris, halting no one but my shuttle bus driver, prompting me to hop off my shuttle, and hitchhike back to the parking lot. It only took two cars before a nice family from Flathead Lake, MT picked me up. We had a wonderful conversation on the way down about airplanes (the man was a pilot), Montana (the man was from Montana), motorcycles (the man has owned A LOT of motorcycles), and my job and hometown (the man asks a lot of questions). They dropped me off at the RV doorstep, where I told Earl and Barbara of my adventures, and we whipped up some delicious andouille sausage (thanks, Molly!) with peppers, onions, and zucchini.
Tomorrow, more hiking, some paddling on Lake McDonald, and perhaps a ranger –led boat tour.
Thanks to Jean Cerar for solving the “Enabling Act” mystery (read comment below). Now for the next brain teaser: On my hike today, as I crossed the saddle between Reynolds and Clements Mountains, my cell phone asked me if I wanted to convert my calendar for the new time zone. It then asked me the same question as I crossed back to Logan Pass. I assumed that the Continental Divide also serves as the border between Mountain and Pacific Time. However, when I got home, and told Earl and Barbara of this occurrence, they furrowed their brows, and objected. “The Continental Divide does not straddle a time zone!” they cried. They sprung into action, grabbing the first map/atlas/gazetteer that they could find (there are only about 30 in the motorhome), and confirmed that lo, the time zone changes at the Montana/Idaho border (witness geeky exercise #2). So, I put it to you Monroe clan, et al. If the Mountain and Pacific time zones straddle the Montana/Idaho border, why did my cell phone believe otherwise??
Make it snappy. We’re only here for two more nights.