Sunday, May 6, 2012

1st Glacier Adventure of 2012

Today is a recovery day. Yesterday, we had our first adventure in Glacier National Park (GNP) for 2012... and it was a good one! Grizz is a member of the Glacier Mountaineering Society (check them out here!) and I got to go along as a guest on one of their adventures. Beware: lots of pictures today...

 On Friday night, we joined some friends in a cabin just outside GNP. It was a campground that our friends had used before... fire, friends and food - what a great night!

 After a quick breakfast while our friends slept, Grizz and I headed out. You can see the snow-line between elevations... snow up high and rain down low.

 Here we are getting ready and waiting for the rest of the group (9 of us total signed up for this little trip). Our plan: bike 8 miles from Avalanche Creek to the Loop on the Going-To-The-Sun-Road. We new it would be a rainy and snowy day, but we still started out in high hopes :)

 It was nice to stop for a quick break in the tunnel. We waited for members of our group to catch-up. This was during a steep part of the ride - the elevation gain for our bike ride was about a thousand feet, most of it during the last two miles.

 A "window" from the tunnel with a waterfall coming down.

 A waterfall outside the tunnel.

 Starting to snow/sleet more! Yay for adventures!

 I always love textures and colorations... this was on the tunnel wall

 Little did we know our destination for the biking portion of our trip was only a fourth of a mile from the tunnel. What a pleasant surprise :)

 On a clear day, that bike ride would have been had amazing views - if you've ever ridden the Going-To-The-Sun-Road, you know how beautiful the mountains are! Well, we just had clouds. This is where Heaven's Peak is suppose to be... all we get is a picture of whiteness...

 Here we are, getting out of some of our wet clothing and getting ready for snowy climb to Granite Peak Chalet :) The first part of the hike was through brush and downed timber, but we did eventually get up to snow.

 Grizz had to take a picture of my gear (yes, we have pictures of my face too, but this was more interesting!). My pack is open because that's where the camera goes.

 Grizz in his snowshoes... loving life.

 Two members of the group. Snow. Wind. It felt so surreal to be climbing up a mountain in Glacier National Park in such conditions.

Well, our trip didn't go as planned. Our leader had heard from other members of the group of a better way of getting to the Chalet from the Loop. It turned out to be more strenuous than we all thought, and with low visibility, it was challenging to keep going without having a visual of the Chalet. We decided to turn around. We had a blast running/hopping/sliding down the snow in our snowshoes. The bike ride back was a little colder with a little more sleet, but it was great going downhill the entire way!

Even though we didn't get to the Chalet, it was an amazing experience. Biking, hiking and snowshoeing in GNP with new friends was so fun - the weather conditions just made it even more memorable.

And yes, Grizz and I have plans on hiking to the Chalet this summer - taking a well-loved trail :)

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