Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 8 - back to the start in E Glacier

Ah, the first big town day, and the first milestone, exiting Glacier National Park (mostly), and starting on the next leg of our trip.

After a mostly dry morning, with intermittent showers, we saddled up at the Two Med campground and rolled out to the ranger station. We ran into Ranger Ankerbauer who had helped us get our permits on the first day. HE told us that the trail would be mostly clear of snow except with limited patches, and that we would be hiking in the rain after noon.

As we were chatting with him, th rain started to roll in, and we put on our backpacker ponchos. He piped in some music over the speakers for us--Eminem's "Lose Yourself" to get us sufficiently pumped up. We then ran out of there and started our 5 miles, 2500' climb to the "scenic point". Almost entirely clear of snow, we bulled our way up a seemingly interminable set of switchbacks, climbing higher and higher above the Two Med Lake and the campground.

Near the apex of the climb, we saw a small moving figure at the near crest. As we approached that figure turned out to be one of a flock of ~25 bighorn sheep. There were several mature males in the bunch with magnificent, fully developed horns. As we walked by, it was eerie to see all of their eyes follow our progress across the hillside.

Knowing that it is bad to surprise wild animals, Gangles and I decided to sing so the sheep would know exactly where we were. We focused mostly on the capitalist paean, "Part of your world" (from "The Little Mermaid), after abortive attempts to remember the lyrics to "Proud Mary".

I was wondering if my off-key caterwauling was antagonizing the sheep when the one nearest stood up as we passed, and I worried for a minute that my ignominious end would be falling off the hillside after a ram's head butt. The ram head swiveled slowly, watching us carefully, then he shifted his haunches and peed. Gangles thought he was marking his territory, and I just hoped that he really had to go.

AFter switchbacking steeply, we ran into Very Fit, Swiss Miss and Barrel Roll, and we five decided to roll into E. Glacier together. The trail merged with a jeep road, pocked with hoof prints and tire ruts. It was mostly dry, but quite muddy with long patches of boot sucking mud. Trails diverged off of it, to the left and right, but we resisted temptation and stuck to the jeep road.

Now, one thing I had heard on the CDT is that most people have at least a daily moment when they are "misplaced". I had never understood the distinction between "misplaced" and 'lost" until today. As far as I understand it, "lost" is a complete wtf moment, stuck in the brush on no trail at all. "Misplaced" means you're on something but you're not sure if it is the CDT.

We eventually came to town just before the rain came.

First order of business, I showered. For the first time in days, and it was glorious. Then laundry, then food. Laundry is always a fun moment, when you improvise something to wear while your only set of clothes (it's like being a cartoon character!) is being washed. Barrel Roll out-coutured us all with his backpacker poncho skirt.

Clean clothes, clean skin, full bellies, satisfying return to East Glacier.

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