Saturday, August 2, 2008

REST DAY !!!!!

After hiking 28.5 miles the first two days, we decided our old legs might need a rest day. It is completely out of our nature to take a day off, but even Jim decided to rest. Normally he would stay and take a hike by himself not wanting to miss anything, but the bottom of his feet had deep blisters as well as the end of his toes, so he was in considerable pain. He decided his blisters were caused by the wrong socks on the FIRST day, so he suffered the remainder of the trip. I also got blisters under two of my toe nails on each foot, but they were caused by walking under a waterfall (NO ALTERNATIVE) and getting my feet wet later in our trip. Those toenails will pop off in a couple of weeks, but I will spare you the gross picture.

We all loaded in the van and proceeded over the "Going to the Sun Road". This road gives new meaning to vertigo. I enjoyed looking out the window and up, but gazing down into the valleys for very long causes definite vertigo. NOT A GOOD FEELING! The scenery was absolutely beautiful, but the going is slow and the hairpin curves make for a ride only comparable to "Space Mountain" at DisneyWorld. To top all of that off, there was also construction going on, so there was only one lane controlled by a red light at each end for a short stretch. This leads to shutting your car off and waiting about 15 minutes on the side of a cliff for your turn. If you are not a hiker, this will avail you the best views of the area. The only way to truly enjoy the majestic grandeur is to hike the trails, but this will give you a small taste.

We concluded our Westward ride at Polebridge, MO. Polebridge is down a dirt road full of ruts and bumps. Quite the jarring experience! LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere there is a general store and bakery with some of the best bread and bakery goods you have every put in your mouth. We stopped and ate a sandwich on their delicious bread and stocked up on some treats for the next couple of days. A very fulFILLING stop!

We then headed UP another dirt road to Bowman Lake where Sonja and family had camped on a trip through Glacier. A beautiful lake deep in Bear Country, we found the campground full of people that I HAVE NO IDEA how in the world they ever found this remote spot. The original plan was to take this day to ride the rapids in one of the local streams. The Ranger advised us the first day of our trip, that we were too late in the season for rapids-so not wanting to just float-we opted out.

This area was devastated several years back by a forest fire. It was really fascinating to see how the fire would take a big swipe out of an area, but old trees on each side of the swipe would be untouched. The trees are regenerating in thick groves and you could tell the approximate time of the fire by the size of the new growth. FASCINATING!

We saw mountain goats on the side of the trail during our ride as well as two grizzlies on the side of the road. You know the grizzlies are young when you see two together. The older bears are solitary creatures. The Mother Grizzly keeps her cubs about two years while the black bears only keep theirs one. So if you see a Grizzly with a yearling, they are all big bears.

A good day with beautiful scenery. My feet and legs were most appreciative of the recovery time.

Can you just believe this is out in the middle of nowhere? Sonja had discovered this on her last trip and I had just read about it on Camille's Montana friend's blog last week.

Bowman Lake and the five admiring the scenery. The flies were horrendous!

The two sisters soaking their legs in the cool mountain water lake. The lakes-especially in the shallow water-were actually bearable.

Here is one example of the butterflies that were in abundance. It was unreal how they could fly in huge wind gusts from flower to flower and seem undaunted.

After a long day, the hotel at dusk as I come from parking the car up the hill. A real contrast to yesterday's sunrise picture of the same mountains.



After two days of hiking with my day pack which rests on your shoulders and hips in the traditional manner, we discovered the above packs. We saw a local hiker with one and all took it in and made note. Today while sightseeing we found a outdoor gear store that had the very pack. IT WAS A LIFE SAVER! The pack takes the weight off your shoulders and places all of it on your hips. Since we all know that women have more lower body strength and are usually weak in their upper body, this made perfect sense for day hikes. I actually did not always use the one shoulder strap, finding the belt more than sufficient to keep the pack on. This made the remainder of the trip much more enjoyable since I did not have to think about how much my shoulders ached at the end of the day. Even after girding my belt so that most of the weight was on my hips with the regular pack, by the end of the day, those straps were most uncomfortable. Well worth the $70 price tag!


Kara said...

Great travel update and such beautiful pictures!

Lora said...

Thanks, Kara. The best days are still to come!

Dutch said...

you referenced some place that you visited near the end of going to the sun road. although it is a long path, it ended in MT (as opposed to MO)

Lora said...

RIGHT you are, Dutch! 20 lashes with a wet noodle for me.