Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 41 - Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

Sadly, time to leave Leadore, one of my favorite stops to date. Great hospitality, and a fun town of 105 residents. We had dinner at the Silver Dollar Diner last night--rib eye sandwich was great. Other highlights include the fresh corn on the cob and blackberry pie. Thanks, Becky. As we were leaving, we heard the unmistakable sounds of Grease, from the adjoining bar next door. We stayed for an energetic 'Summer Loving', and then off to bed.

In the am, we got a lift back to Bannock Pass from local Leadorian, Richard. He's a more handsome Ron Swanson (Parks & Rec), and a real character. He was born in Braintree, Essex, though he's got the Montanan accent now, he can slip back into the Essex. "British by birth, redneck by the grace of God" is how he describes himself.

He dropped us off at the trailhead, and we got on the road. The first item on the agenda was climbing Elk Mountain, a nearly 2500' climb from where we started. And our first time above 10,000'. This was a long process, two steps forward, one step back as we undulated across the divide. When we finally crested, the rain clouds which had been threatening all day, began to spit on us; large, cold drops.

We pushed on, but were a little alarmed since nearly all of this section was a ridge walk. Bigfoot mentioned this was a 'dry thunderstorm', meaning not much precipitation, but definitely lightning. Gangles and I somehow found a pocket of relatively dry clouds, and they moved along with us SE across the trail.

At the height of the perplexing weather, we were surrounded on all sides by clouds, the sun was shining brightly enough to cast shadows, hail was falling, and three rainbows were visible in a 360 view. The weather eventually slackened, and we pushed on, down into the valley, which was orange with alpenglow, and wreathed in fog from the weather.

Late night, but glad we made it as far as we did (~26mi) to Morrison Lake. The lake water looks putrid, surrounded by cow pies fresh and old. We've decided not to drink, and to wait for SImpson Creek in ~3mi. Tomorrow is a new day!

Mileage: 26mi from Bannock Pass to Morrison Lake

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