Friday, May 18, 2012

Glacier I

When visiting national parks sometimes doing a little bit of research is good for finding sunrise or sunset places. Sometimes not. When I did some internet research on Glacier National Park one of the recommended sunrise spots was St Mary Lake. I got up early, and found a spot on the shore and waited. And waited. The sun came up, left the lake in shadow, and there was only a small bit of light on the opposite hill across the shore. It was a bust.The real light was happening up the Going to the Sun road at Lyell pass. Lesson learned. The reality was there was very little going on in the sky, as there was a dominant high pressure system during the time I was there.

The light was harsh when we got to the top. I guess you just need to follow your instinct (and the light), and not be lead by what the internet says. Going to the Sun road was beautiful, waterfalls were flowing down every crevasse and canyon. We were treated to a rare experience at Lyell Pass.
When we got there we witnessed people grabbing their skis and snowboards, climbing up the side of the mountains and skiing down. This was June 24th. Glacier had received so much snow that year the pass had just opened the week before. Eight feet of snow still sat beside the parking lot, and the bathrooms were in operational. The park service had installed porto potties in the parking lot to accommodate. And me without my skis in the middle of June! We had our crampons though. We decided to hike to Hidden Lake, which was really hard to see. It was indeed hidden by ice and snow. We climbed the hill to the overlook and were surprised by some mountain goats.

 They were really tame, and started to hike with us. As we traversed the mountain and got to some green grass we left them behind to make the decent into the Hidden Lake basin. We never made it to the actual lake, as it was really bright and sunny. We were feeling a bit burnt on our eyeballs, and anticipating the long scramble up the snow back to the overlook.
Not wanting to pass up the snowplaying festivities, we decided to glissade back down the hill, being careful not to scoop snow with my shorts pant legs. Well turns out that last little bit was too much for my two month old camera lens.  It rattled the shims out of it and into the mirror box.  The next time I turned my camera on it quit. I removed the lens and discovered the parts inside.  With a week and a half still left on the trip, I was not happy.  Fortunately, I had my back- up camera with me and was still in the game.

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