Ptarmigan Tunnel Hike

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Wowza! Strenuous with a little moderation. Wooo hooo! Switchback heaven OR hell depending on your perspective. Unimaginable beauty, and a defining point would be the totally different vista when you exit the tunnel on the other side. This hike rates right up there as one of my favs because you have an immediate kick your butt elevation gain and then you have an immediate kick your butt elevation gain and THEN you have Lake Ptarmigan for a nice ‘soak your feet in a cold pristine alpine lake and rinse you head wrap.’ After that? Yah, the switch back with a major kick your butt elevation gain, for a total of 2500 feet.

Coming down the mountain is far more arduous than going up for a couple of reasons; The trail is very narow, steep, and dry rocks make it unstable. Bring your sticks! The other reason; as you can imagine the descent is steep and it’s hard not to run. 😉

Bears concerned Kevin the most on this hike because two miles of trail were lined with Grizzly dessert – berries. Numerous campgrounds, trail heads and park sections were closed due to the high volume of Grizzlies this year. Yes, we saw four Grizzlies and three were close. Hind feet close. Check out this article of a Griz in Glacier sleeping on a tent AND stealing a pillow. 🙂

Warm up for Ptarmigan Tunnel with the Iceberg Lake hike.

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Iceberg Lake Trail

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Iceberg Lake Hike – Glacier National Park

Unbelievable beauty. Forever instilled…

Just do it!

Moderate elevation gain. Iceberg Trail ends at the Lake. If you’re there in August, you’ll likely see Grizzlies due to two miles of berry lined trails. No worries, they could care less about you. It’s the delicious Huckle and Blueberries they’re after. Do make much noise as not to alarm them and put them on the defensive.

More floating icebergs than in years past.

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Holy Crap!

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Big Joe and his wife Linda, (our neighbours at the first campground in Glacier) are celebrating their four year engagement anniversary today and because Joe has been so helpful with the Stream and Linda is an absolute blast, I offered to have Linda’s Mom, Gertie for the afternoon while they enjoy and have lunch where Joe proposed; The Prince of Whales in Canada.

Gertie is unintentionally funny, eighty five years old with moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease so you might imagine the stories she tells and the things that come out of her mouth…and elsewhere. Read on.

Cute nuances began immediately; Gertie saved a few of her French Fries for their dog, but the dog is 1700 miles away in Wisconsin. That’s okay, let her think the doggie is here in Glacier. We then drive to our new campsite, Many Glacier and quickly get settled. Remembering Linda’s words, ‘Mom needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom’. I quickly suggested we head to the restroom. THAT trip went great, it wasn’t until thirty minutes later when Gertie rose from the camp chair and announced, ‘I have to go to the bathroom’, that I realised she may already have… ‘Keevinnnnn’ I shouted up to the front of the Airstream, ‘Gertie has to go to the bathroom’. I was bent over laughing. Kevin wasn’t very excited regarding this task but I’m the only one of the two that knows how to hook and unhook the Airstream and I was conveniently in the middle of unhooking it. 🙂

Minutes passed, like twenty and still no Gertie or Kevin. I thought, ‘what the heck is going on’, so I headed up and saw Kevin outside of the ladies room on a bench. After inquiring, Kevin thought Gertie must be done, so in I walked and nearly vomited. How the heck can a cute elderly woman stink so bad. I then noticed it on the floor and well, let’s just say the second trip to the restroom was a rather crappy one. Oh yah, when I asked Gertie where her extra change of clothes were? ‘In the trash, I don’t need them.’ Sure enough, there they were.

It doesn’t stop here friends. After gag me cleanup, we walk back to the campsite with Gertie and I was actually feeling sad for her. It’s hell having Alzheimer’s Disease and I sympathized. Immediately upon arrival at the Stream, I quickly grab my hand sanitizer and say. ‘Here Mama, we need to get this on your hands’, Gertie stabilizes herself with her walker and extends her right palm. I squirt a quarter size dollop in her hand and without hesitation, lickity split, (literally lickity, with lickity being the operative word), Gertie sucks the sanitizer off her hand. Omygosh!!! Again, ‘Kevinnnnn’…he walked to the ranger station where he explained the situation. The Ranger seriously asked, why did she do that?’ I had JUST asked Gertie the same question. Stupid question for me to ask an amazing elder with Alzheimer’s Disease. More accurately my response when Gertie sucked up the hand sanitizer was, ‘oh my gosh, did you just really do that?’

In the end, the sanitizer was not harmful and Linda and Joe showed up prior to another bathroom incident.

Gertie. You made our day. We’re still laughing all the way back to Michigan. Xox

For all of those Caretakers out there, hat’s off to YOU!

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