Last night was very weird. It was warm out, enough that I was dripping sweat in my sleeping bag, but there was a gusty wind big enough to freeze me whenever it kicked up. So I didn’t sleep more than 15-20 minutes at a time, alternating between in and out of my bag. Hailey had also told me over the phone that my dad was reading journals of people ahead and that some of the river fords in the Bob Marshall Wilderness were “very hard”. I was somewhat worrying about that even though there’s nothing to be done but keep hiking and see what happens.
Anyways, we got up early to have one last town meal before heading out again, then got hiking by 8am. We saw a baby moose in the parking lot… Ahh nature, isn’t it wonderful? ;).
We started with about 4 miles of easy day hiker trails but then quickly got onto snow. We wandered easily up the slopes and saw some great warterfalls on the opposite side of the valley. This is probably one of the few good things about how much snow is around – the waterfalls are huge!
Eventually it was time to start climbing towards the pass, and our challenge this time was a wind gusting up to 60km/h. More than enough to stop me in my tracks! On top of that we were climbing very steep snow slopes, so being knocked off balance was less than ideal. Unlike yesterday though, the pass itself wasn’t so snow-locked, and we were able to just walk up to the top at 7520 feet. There was only one hard traverse, and I caught it on video a bit.
Looking down into the next bowl, we could see a problem – the trail was almost completely buried in snow, and we were supposed to traverse high around the slopes and eventually drop down to the Rising to the Sun Road. We ended up dropping almost straight down out of the pass and then walked to the road on top of the frozen river. We had a lot of fun getting down, lots of big boot slides.
When we got to the road we were greeted by a ranger telling us the road was closed… But there was no problem, he just wanted to make sure we headed down the right way. It started pouring rain and we quickly road walked and then dropped off the road to our campsite.
Lightweight camping in the rain isn’t super fun, because we don’t carry things like cooking tarps, so dinner was fast and I was in my tent faster. Chance did make and share with me some chocolate pudding though… Mmm.
Overall today we did a much better job of navigating, multiple times we were walking on untouched snow commenting “the trail should be near here” only to have a 10 foot segment of bare trail pop out a minute later.
Date: June 29, 2011
Daily Distance: 14.8 miles
Trip Distance: 61.2 miles