Thursday, November 21, 2019

New Hikes in 2019

This was my toughest hiking season yet! 
My count is 207.5 miles between May15 - September 14 with 23 hikes. 
Longest hike was 16.5 miles with the shortest being only 3.3 miles. 
I added 5 new hikes with two of them being fairly easy with the other three that really kicked my (pork) butt!
I'm only going to highlight the three that were most memorable because, well, because they were a doozy and taught me a lot. 
East Butte on July 9, Patrol Mountain July 19 and Dawson Pitamakan on August 19.

East Butte in the Sweet Grass Hills is one of the three buttes in this area of Montana and after doing this one, I'm totally ok with not doing the other two. There is East, West and Gold Butte  It would be nice to cross all three off my list, but guess what?  They aren't on my list! They would be interesting because they are so different than hiking in Glacier or Waterton because they are out in the open and just a different terrain all together, but I'm still not interested. But I have also learned that one should say, "never say never". 
The first part of the hike was fairly easy, with some incline and then a cave adventure right before lunch. See below and above!  This is me just coming into the cave.

The belly crawl was just fairly short, maybe 20 feet and then it opened up into this unexpected large area with an opening.  The cave is called Devils Chimney.   Click the link and read all about it. 
Katie's husband, Tom, led the hike and put a limit of 8 people from our group to join theirs.   Katie is in the blue jacket, Susan from her group is basking in the sunlight which leaves 9 of us. There is a story, but this might not be the place to tell it. Suffice it to say that the 9th person had a heart attack on the trail, but made it out alive and is doing well. It was a very long day! 
Look at Loral Meeks in the back with the fist pump! 
The great thing about this hike for me was that I was invited because they felt like I could do it. 
The hike was only 8 miles return, but with a 2,220 feet of gain in 4 miles and most of it the last two miles to the top, you can see why it kicked my (pork) butt. Steep incline baby and it was hard.  
The hike was somewhat in the trees but a lot of it was exposed. 

Getting close to the top of that butte, East Butte. 

We made it and look what we found, an ammo box with a pen, paper to write our names on and silver wine goblet! Linda Evans to my left with the blue shirt on was the only one in our group to complete all three buttes.  Congratulations! 
So now you see only 7 of the 9.  Laura stayed behind with Ina Jean because Ina Jean wasn't feeling well and Laura had a knee injury she was trying to heal. 
 It all worked out, but like I said, it was a very long day.
Guess what the kicker was though?  There was no view from the top! 
This is pretty cool though.  
I'm glad I did the hike as it got me in ship shape for hiking, yet there was nothing remarkable about it except for the cave and the chance to be out hiking with my friends. 
Mayyyyybe I would go on the others if they were on a hiking schedule. 

Patrol Mountain was my first "sleepover" hike and first hike in the Bob Marshall Wilderness which is just outside Augusta, Montana. 
 "Oh, we're hiking to the far mountain ". Gotta get a picture of that for sure. 
 and on the top of it is a lookout. Patrol Mountain Lookout. 
 This hike was 10 miles return with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet with 2,500 the last two miles. 
Another strenuous hike, but worth it for the view!

Man, it was so so windy at the saddle. It was a miracle I could hold up my poles. No joke!
 We joined the GIG (Girls in Glacier) group for this hike too.  
It was our first time and this hike will definitely be on the list for 2020. 
 I have only hiked to two lookouts and have to get a picture with Linda at each one. 
It was so interesting in the look out.  Samsara (in the beanie) welcomes visitors.  She explains what she does and how she spends her time. She has learned to knit, but most important she watches for fires using that instrument in the middle of the building called a Osborne Fire Finder. 
Samsara stays here all summer and has done so for over 20 years I believe. She said she comes down off the mountain once a month and pack mules come up with supplies every two weeks. 
 Women of Wonder (WOW)
 Can you spot the outhouse?  There is a white spot just underneath the clump of trees.  
That is the toilet seat. What a view! 
 Heading back. 
 The white spot you see is snow.  

 This flower to the right is fairly rare and is called,    Sparrow egg lady slipper.
Oh, sorry, I am adding in another hike because it was partially new. We hiked to the Granite Park Chalet and back and for those who wanted, could take the spur trail to the Grinnell Lake Overlook that added 1.2 miles for me and two other gals. 
 Oh, we are a fun and colourful bunch! Jewels in the Rockies!

 Lunch at the Chalet.
 This was no small feat for me to get up to the overlook. Holy Cow! 
I really struggled to get up here.  It was a pretty steep 3/4 of a mile, but really?  I had to keep stopping to be able to finish and get to the top! I did it and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. Maybe it was the struggle and the expectation, but I can say I have done it so there is that. 

This is monumental here.  We are just about finished with the hike and I could not be more ready to just stop and sit! The way back was pretty level with a few minor inclines but I was on the struggle bus and was just not happy with myself.  It was not like me to be so frail or fragile or weak or whatever you want t call it. But. After it was over, I realized what the problem was. I had just gotten back from Utah and had donated 2 cups of my precious blood so the lack of blood 5 days later was the reason for my lack of indurance. 
Learned my lesson and will not be donating blood in the summer. Yikes.  
 Sinopah Mountain on Two Medicine Lake (in the Two Medicine part of Glacier) at 7am taken from the boat that is taking us to the trail head to Dawson Pitamakan
 Holy Cow, there is a story to this hike too. 
 I'm wondering how deep to go into this hiking story. I'll just start and see where it goes.
 This is the longest day hike in Glacier National Park and is highly rated.
It is a 16.3 mile loop with an elevation gain of 2,935 feet. 
This is Pumbelly Pillar poking up in front of us. 
 Sometimes I am asked to "lead the group" which is nice because I set the pace and can get great pictures like this of the whole group! We joined the GIG group again, or shall I say, we were invited to join them on this hike. But... Yes, this is where the "big deal" came in with this particular hike. 
It is classified as moderately strenuous and it was another "invite only" hike.  You can see that this is a big group and we all had to commit to finishing it.  I mean, who starts a hike and wonders if they will finish it?  This was a real thing for this particular hike  If you start the hike and decide to not go on then you are turning around and going back out alone. In bear country. 
This hike was a first for most of us, if not all, so it was highly anticipated. 
 That is No Name Lake to the left. We didn't go there as it was out of our way. 
 I have a real thing/problem/issue about sleepovers. Don't ask me why, I always have and apparently  I always will and this experience was no joke!
We met at a house in town to carpool and drive to East Glacier to stay at a place because we needed to be at the boat dock at 7am. Another part of the story is that I got the flu on Thursday afternoon previous to leaving on Sunday afternoon for Glacier. I was in bed all day Friday and can't remember the last time I was that sick and felt so bad. So here I am sick in bed wondering if I was going to be well enough to hike, let alone over 16 miles and knowing that if I couldn't do it that I would be hiking out alone to catch the ferry boat back. 
 As you can see, I made it to the saddle of Dawson Pass.  That is Nyack Creek below and I believe the glacier in back is Lupfer Glacier on Mount Phillips. 
This picture here is monumental, a little emotional and hard earned! 
After this picture was taken, we all sat down and had our lunch and felt a blister on my foot. I took off my shoe and bandaged it up and then had a realization. 
I realized I had hiked hard and felt good so I knew that Heavenly Father had been with me every step of the way to this point. 
Why did't I feel my blister until after I had sat down? 
 I believe that I had help because I had done all I could do. 
After lunch my body felt totally different, but knew I could finish the hike. 
All weekend I had been pondering, praying, wondering, searching, listening for an answer, wanting guidance, a revelation of some kind that would let me know that I was going to be ok and that I could do this hike with being sick in bed 3 days earlier.  Like, I needed to know before leaving on Sunday! 
Ask Mark how much inner turmoil I was in. 
 Flinsch Peak
I took cold medicine on Saturday to see how it made me feel and realized I did not want to hike feeling "off" so on Sunday I didn't tale anything to see how I was felt. I was feeling pretty darn good, but good enough to hike 16.3 miles? I had been packing all weekend (sleepover and the hike and my food for breakfast and the hike) and figured if I didn't prepare and do everything I could do physically and spiritually then for sure I wouldn't get an answer. It's funny now to think about because I never asked for help to get through the hike, I wanted to know if I was suppose to go on the hike. 
 During Sacrament meeting my mind was so preoccupied trying to hear or feel something, an answer. Nothing until a phrase in the hymn, Do What Is Right, stuck out to me. "be faithful and fearless".  I though, ok, I can do it, there is my answer. But no. Looking back, I wish I had grabbed that thought and considered it an answer to prayer.  I didn't do it and boy did it cause a lot of inner turmoil!
What more of an answer did I need? have faith and just go for it! 
I got home from church and was finished packing yet still wanted more of an answer. 
A whisper, a tingle a strong feeling, something!
 I asked Mark for a blessing and it said that I had prepared and would be fine. 
  While gathering in town before heading out, we were all standing in a circle and I had this physically overwhelming feeling of anxiety.  I didn't know (until months later) that's what I was experiencing, but I just had to get out of there.  I wasn't feeling dizzy, but it was like I wasn't there all the way, hard to explain.  I remember looking at all the ladies who I admire and so love being around, so why was I feeling like this? I excused myself to use the bathroom because I had to separate myself, pray and just get through it.  Holy Cow, right?
 It was the sleepover stuff AND still not being fully committed to the hike.  I was quiet on the drive down and thankfully I was not driving and could just hunker down in the back seat and let the others chat. 
 I had a thought that I could still cancel right up until leaving the motel room.  Mark would for sure drive a couple of hours to come get me.  I had a plan and it eased my mind somewhat. 
We got our room and I found my space on the floor because I didn't want to share a bed, because, well, sleepovers. We then went to dinner, took a tour around the Glacier Park Lodge and I still feeling melancholy I guess you could say.  
To make a long story short, I had a nice conversation with Laura Webster and she listened to my concerns, asked me a few question about how I was feeling physically and she said I could do it.  She said that I wasn't the only one feeling apprehensive about the hike. She reminded me that this hike had been talked about for weeks and that we all had to commit to finishing it or else we would be hiking out alone.  I am one of the younger hikers and with no history of injuries or health concerns so  I wasn't the only one wondering about this hike.  I was not alone and that is always a good feeling when you really know that, right? 
 Before I laid down for the night, I realized that my anxiety was gone for the hike, the sleepover, all of it.  I had prepared for this long hike in many ways and was ready! 

 Young Man Lake...I think. 
 I realized from this experience that I don't exercise my faith, have faith, whatever you call it. 
If one prepares and does all he can in every way, then why should one doubt?

 Next time we do this hike I want to stand where Amber is headed behind me.  We had a time crunch and to tell you the truth, I didn't have the extra energy to go further out anyway. 

 Lupfor Glacier again. 

 Katie took this photo and I love it! 
I'm just bopping along with not a care in the world and to think I almost missed this and I know, without a doubt, I would have regretted not doing this hike for many years to come!
 Linda Evans and her daughter, Stephanie with Pitamakan Lake behind them. 

 All we have to do now is cross over the Dry Fork Creek and check this hike off our list! 
What a hike.
What a day.
What an experience. 
What fun!