The fates cooperates with us: we both had Sunday and most of Monday off work(s), and the best weather in over a month in which to enjoy it.  We had planned on riding up the closed to cars Going-to-the-Sun road, hiking to the snowline, and skiing Swiftcurrent Peak, with a campout near Granite Park chalet.  The NPS only gives out one permit for each BC site during “winter conditions,” and someone beat us to it.  So we decided to execute the original plan, minus the skis and camping gear.

It was a good day to ride a bike, and an encouragingly large number of folks were out doing so.  Everything from Walmart cruisers to custom painted Pinarellos.

We used plenty of sunscreen, and with the spring we’ve had, upper-70s at 6k felt absolutely swealtering.  Fortunately plenty of cool runoff streams were to be found.

We hit snow about a mile below the chalet, or around 6.2k, or around the upper limits of whatever fire swept through the lower McDonald Creek drainage not too long ago.  I thought we were done at the snowline, but M insisted we continue.  Remarkably the slush was only a few inches deep, and progress was quick.  (Compared to my other postholing experiences this year.)

We weren’t ideally prepared for day hiking, but did take advantage of our too-big packs to haul a Pocket Rocket, pot, ramen, and pouch chicken for a gourmet hot lunch.  Replenish electrolytes after sweating all day.

And some beer.

We also had a top notch lunch spot, in the upper deck of the still-closed Granite Park chalet.   I’ve written elsewhere about the mojo this place has for me, so enjoying it with no one around for miles was satisfying.

The descent was quick and easy.

Given that we were car camping, we fetched more beer and some hot dogs from the Lake Lodge store, and had a relaxing evening.  Morning was given over to road side photaging, touristing, and rock skipping on McDonald Lake.

There was a lot to see.

As I told M yesterday, I’ve think we’ve done well seeing Montana in the last two years.  Every thing seen adds at least two to the list (thank goodness), but you have to judge such things within the scope of human understanding.
I’m trying to embrace still photos and video for what each is respectively best for. Preferences ebb and flow.

It was already a good day, and I was sitting here in the chair catching up on the news shows when I proved that a watched pot indeed never boils.

After all the stochastic doorstep checking I’ve done this week, I didn’t even hear it hit concrete.  Sneaky UPS person.  I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much tonight.

2 thoughts on “Sun

  1. A night sleeping in front of the trails crew cabin at Granite Park was night one of probably the hardest route I ever did in Glacier. No snow on that one, but bagged a peak and did the Ptarmigan Goat Wall traverse in one day.Too bad you two didn't get to bring the skis and do some camping. There was a nice trip report similar to yours (but with skis) posted last week to Wild Snow – you might enjoy it.

  2. Sam, that report confirmed the conditions for the route, which I already had in mind. I think they did it at least several weeks ago, as we saw much less snow than they seemed to have had. It looked like you could ski off the summit of Swiftcurrent, but I didn't see a line all the way down without taking of skis and talus hopping.With the arrival of the raft, I'm saying that ski season is over.

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