{elizabeth lake to many glacier.glacier day 2}

Well, it’s been months since we went on this backpacking trip and months since I posted the amazing first day or this trip.  So to be consistent with my inconsistent blogging, it’s about the right time to post about this second day.

Let me first explain why it is that I don’t blog often. It’s because I am the slowest writer ever.  It takes me forever to formulate my thoughts, type, edit, and be okay with the final product that I have a hard time taking this time from my mom and home duties to blog.  I’m trying to change that.  I enjoy typing up my thoughts and sharing so I’m going to try to sit and type more, me time.  I’m going to share past hikes, as well as new adventures.  I went on some great hikes last year, took a lot of pics and it seems a shame for them to just sit buried on my computer.  I’m excited for this summer!  I have plans for new hikes, exploring new mountain ranges, new trails, mountain biking, kayaking, and any other outdoor exploring that comes my way.

Day two of our Glacier trip started out how I expected it to be, cold and in pain with a tight back. Ugh! I never sleep well in a tent.  I have a new sleeping pad for next season so hopefully that will help.  It took me about 30 minutes to sit up, stretch and do exercises just so I could get dressed for the day and make my way out of the tent and down to the food prep area.  I was greeted by a fire to warm up to and we started heating up water for coffee and breakfast.  We ended up heading out for the day about an hour later than we had planned as we sat around the campfire with the other backpackers that had wandered in the evening before and enjoyed breakfast together.  I just have to mention something amazing that I’m not sure I will ever be able to accomplish.  One of the guys in the group had his pack down to 19# for a five day trip! Very, very impressive.  I think I still pack too much like a girl to even understand how one does that. The pic below preparing a meal was actually dinner.  I was adding water to meals I made at home. I think these were Thai Chicken and noodles.  I forgot the peanuts which would have made them even tastier and added some fat to the meal.

The morning was gorgeous just like the day before when we headed out on the trail along the lake and it was going to be plenty warm.

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Gorgeous morning sun and beautiful blue skies.

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Heading out on the trail along the lake.

By the time we made it to the foot of the lake I dropped my pack and had to take off some layers. The great thing about being in the back country, very little chance of seeing somebody so you can strip down to your panties on the shore of a mountain lake in the morning sunshine to shed your base layer bottoms! I’m not going to lie, I would have loved to sit there on that lake shore like that for quite awhile to soak up my surroundings. Once redressed we were back on our way to climb a mountain…and climb a freaking mountain we did. Holy moly! Once we rounded the foot of the lake we were pretty much on our five mile up mountain hike to Ptarmigan tunnel. About the first mile and a half to two miles were in the trees, we got many peeks at the lake below us as we hiked through the trees.  As we climbed, that lake got smaller and smaller, but as we climbed we were able to take in the entire lake and look down the valley at where we had hiked the day before.  It was spectacular.

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Griz footprint frozen in the snow on the trail.

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Elizabeth Lake and looking down the valley where we had hiked through the day before.

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Looking down the opposite direction from Elizabeth Lake. This is the end of the lake where we camped.  At the base of the mountains in background, in that cirque, is Helen Lake.

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Helen Lake

One thing I regret is not having the time to hike into Helen Lake since we were so close, yet we still didn’t have the time.  Had we known this lake was just two miles past our camping spot, maybe we could have extended our trip one night to have the time to explore the area for another day.  In the pic two up you can see a cirque where Helen Lake sits.  The second pic was from much further up the mountain where we could see the entire lake.  I can’t remember if there was a campground there.  This is a backpacking trip I could do on my own, out and back from the border.  Maybe I will do that one day! I want to see that lake!

Lunch on the trail with the most incredible view.

Our hike continued up and up and up the mountain on a trail to Ptarmigan tunnel.  I found the tunnel very intriguing.  “Hey, lets just drill a hole through the mountain for people to get from one side to the other!”  It really was pretty damn amazing.

Right on the other side of the tunnel we stopped for some snacks and heated up some water for hot tea.  It was lovely, sitting in the sunshine looking down the mountain where we would be making the last half of our hike for the day. Right below where we sat for lunch was Ptarmigan Lake.  I didn’t think it was the most spectacular mountain lake I have seen, but I still love seeing any body of water in the mountains.

Though the downhill side of out mountain was much easier on my lungs it was torture on my knees and feet.  It was the longest six miles ever.  I found myself having to redirect myself several times.  I got to a point were I was just staring at my feet on the trail, staring down the trail just willing my feet to keep going, ignoring the discomfort, and wishing for the time to pass quickly so we could just arrive at the lodge.  I finally stopped and said to myself, This is hiking and backpacking, this is what I signed up for.  I do this to be in the mountains, to see places many people don’t see and I’m staring at the trail wishing for the day of hiking to be over.  From that point on I kept my head up and soaked in the mountain and remoteness around me.  I stopped, turned around and look back at where we had come.  When you hike, don’t forget to do this because it looks totally different looking back than what you see moving forward.

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Looking Forward

Looking Back

Many miles behind us and me with a weary back, knees and feet we finally arrived at Swift Current Lodge at Many Glacier where rooms, hot showers and a restaurant awaited us.  This trip was beyond words incredible.  I learned a lot, saw some amazing country, met people, and came home with a desire to do more.  I can’t get enough of this.  A special thank you to my friend, K, for joining me in the mountains, teaching me how to be safe and take care of myself in these remote areas, and for having a great sense of adventure that matches mine.

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A new hiking and backpacking season are upon us and I intend on making more memories and enjoying new adventures. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!

“You need special shoes for hiking-and a bit of a special soul, as well.” ~Terri Guillemets