My morning started at the butt crack of dawn with my tea and oatmeal.
You see the entire reason for my being in this park was to mark “touch a glacier” off the list, but due to bad weather I didn’t want to do the 18 mile, 4,000 foot elevation change that would be required to complete that task at the closest glacier to my campsite.
So I drove the 115ish miles around the park to get to Grinnell Glacier trail. That trail is only 10ish miles and only has an elevation change of about 1,700 feet. It was a gamble on wether or not I could make it with the weather, but I my friends am not one to give up on something that I’ve spent months saying I’m going to do easily.
So I arrived at Many Glacier hotel around 1030 am and I hopped on one of the boat rides that cuts a few hours and miles off my trip. I really was stacking the deck in my favor.
The hike was beautiful despite the rain. In fact I think the pouring down of rain actually made it even more beautiful. All of the water falls were gushing, the clouds were doing strange and unique things, and the best part, all of the fair weather hikers stayed in the lodge drinking.
Unfortunately the line between crazy and stupid is often blurred in my mind. The above picture is when I realized that:
1. My kilt is soaked through and it’s 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. The storm was getting worse
3. I needed to turn around or risk missing the boat back that I needed to be on in order to make it back to my campsite 115 miles away in time for dinner.
Every experienced outdoorsman knows that being wet when it’s below 75 is dangerous. Your body has trouble retaining heat when you’re in wet clothes and hypothermia is a threat. My top half was dry, but from my waist to the top of my boot was wet and cold.
The storm picking up meant more wind which only increased the heat retention issues. Not to mention the possibility of me literally getting blown off the side of this mountain.
Also missing the boat would prolong my exposure and risk. Not to mention the driving and whole being late getting back to camp
So I turned around and headed down the mountain about 3/4 of a mile from the glacier. Mother Nature won this round.
I don’t know if it was the fact that I was heading down hill or the fact that I was trying to keep my temp up by moving, but I made excellent time back to the boat pick up. They had a wonderful shelter there that was closed on 3 sides and helped immensely with the wind. Also I was the first to arrive, which meant there only had to be one slot on the boat for me to get a ride back.
That’s when I started making friends for the day. The first people to arrive was a very friendly family that I had leaped frogged and chatted with the day before. It was a mom, dad and 3 very excited kids. We chatted for a few minutes and that’s when the next group came in.
This group was two sets of parents who were friends, one 6 year old boy and two 3 year olds. All of them were soaked and all but one of them was having fun. One of the 3 year olds was not having it. Her pants were water logged, she was cold and honestly I was a little concerned that she might be in trouble by the time the boat arrived (about a 45 minute wait). She also was being very vocal about her discomfort. I listened to the parents try to decide the best course of action and they didn’t have a good option.
So I did what I could. I took off my rain gear and took off my dry (and prewarmed for her) sweatshirt, leaving me in just my rain gear, dry T-shirt, and wet kilt. I knew I was gonna be cold, but if I kept moving I’d be in better shape than the girl. So I walked up to the parents and I spoke directly to the girl, “if it’s ok with you’re mommy, you can take off those wet pants and wrap up in my sweatshirt like a blanket.” They unanimously accepted the offer and 5 minutes later the little one was calmly sitting on her mothers lap eating a bagel.
I spent the rest of the wait and the boat ride talking with the three families and discovered that one of the families frequents Broadway style musicals and to be honest I am about 90% sure they have seen shows that I was touring. I told them all about this blog and how it came to be. They seemed genuinely interested and when they asked how they could thank me for my kindness.
I told them to check out the blog and share it. Because that’s what friends do, and yes this is also directed at those of you who have known me for years and are reading daily but not sharing. I know…
I took a slightly longer route back to my campsite. I did it because I saw that there was a Theodore Roosevelt monument and even though I failed at touching a glacier, I was not about to have two days in a row with no points.
Upon return to camp I built a fire to warm myself and get dinner going. I also decided to have an adult beverage. Dinner was a Mountain House backpacking meal, chili Mac with meat. Once again they nailed it, it was exactly what I needed.
Unfortunately the rain was continuing and I noticed that a gathering was starting to form underneath a rather large rainfly. They all had adult beverages, so I took mine and headed over.
The group consisted of wonderful couple. The man is a camera operator for a small film company that most notably does filming for Mountain Men and his wife is a teacher. There was a Math professor who is currently doing a massive road trip similar to mine (minus having a scavenger hunt). The last individual was a lady who works for a camping gear company. I’ll let you guess who’s rainfly we were under.
What I had hoped to be a 20 minute socializing turned into drinking around a campfire till 1 am. It was a glorious evening spent swapping stories of all of our adventures as well as a few suggestions for my current adventure. Most notably an addition to the scavenger hunt that I am adding. 5 point wild card. It can be any form of adventure that just couldn’t be predicted or planned. I can only claim it once, so I better hold on for the right story. I’ll add it to the list next time I have my laptop out.
When the night was over and I had consumed my weight in twisted ice teas I retired to my hammock and was lulled to sleep by the drops of rain hitting my rain fly. It was a truly adventurous day where I made friends at every turn, all because the universe decided to rain on us and we all banded together like the tribal creatures we truest are.
One last thing. As this blog is gaining in popularity I have been receiving questions about why I am only doing black and white photos. It’s an artistic choice. I feel that color distracts from the subject matter and the point of the photos. You see the point of this adventure is to allow my imagination to be my guide. I want you to look at a photo and have your imagination run wild trying to picture the beauty of it all. I will only be posting color photos if I feel the colors add more than they take away from that goal.
And for the one bootlicker out there who just flat out demanded color photos, the above color photo is for your enjoyment. Don’t get used to me giving in to your demands.
Daily Scavenger Hunt score: 1
– Selfie with the Rosevelt monument.
Total score to date: 10
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