Friday, June 30, 2017

Day 38- June 30- Devil's Tower

After we left our campsite last night, we headed to the Walmart in Billings to get some necessary groceries. On the way, we stopped at Little Big Horn Battlefield. We had stopped here at our trip in 2014, but I needed a new stamp in my national parks passport. Mom and dad had never been there before so we did a little bit of walking around where Custer took his last stand.

Below is the marker for the horses were buried that were shot by their own men. They were shot so that they could be used as a barrier for the soldiers to hide behind.

This is a metal monument to the Indians.
Below is a list of some of the names of the Indians that were killed during the battle of the Little Big Horn.
After this – we continue to drive toward Devils Tower national Monument. This is the first national monument site in the United States. The campground was on a first come first serve basis – which always makes us nervous… Even more so this time given the fact that we were going to arrive around 5 o'clock and it was the first day of climbing available on the tower for the season. In addition to that– it was also a Friday. Luckily, David went ahead of us and was able to get both of us a site.
After dinner, we headed out on the valley view Trail which walked through prairie dog town. The prairie dogs really like the sunny weather – so they were not as many of them out as we had hoped. The view from this trail however, was amazing.  These were black-tailed prairie dogs-  there are five different kinds in the U.S.

This monument was recently created to represent the cloud of smoke around the Devils Tower. During the month of June, there is no climbing on the tower in order to respect the Native Americans tribal and religious beliefs that are associated with the tower.

After our short hike, we went to a ranger presentation of a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator.  He was unbelievable – his knowledge, passion, and ability to answer questions on the fly showed how much research she had done in terms of Teddy Roosevelt. He also had a great sense of humor.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 37 - June 29- Leaving Glacier

When we left the west side of Glacier two weeks ago, we were bummed because the Going-To-The-Sun Road was not open yet.  We had hoped that it would open up before our trip to the east side.  After all, we had the week of the reunion and the week in Canada.  It was still not open when we arrived here, but finally opened up yesterday while we were in Waterton.  

We planned to drive up to Logan Pass this morning and see the beautiful views from up there.  We had talked about hiking Hidden Lake, but someone told David that the lake was still entirely frozen over.  We walked out on the trail about 200 yards looking for Mountain Goats but had no such luck.  

Here are some of the views from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  We loved these views of the clouds below the mountains.
This was the view at the top of Logan Pass.  The entire Hidden Lake trail is out on Snow.

There is a wall there known as the Weeping Wall because there is constantly water running down it from the ice and snow melting further up the mountain.
We stayed in Harlowton, MT last night at a City Park.  The weather was perfect and the sites were fine.  You could choose to have electric or not and paid on the honor system.  In this picture, it is hard to see the rodeo arena in the background.  They were preparing for the 100th anniversary of the county rodeo and I was sad that we were going to miss it.  I love the small town feel.
I really need to move-  I was designed to live out here with huge open spaces and lots of fresh air.  Maybe I should visit for a long period of time in winter before I move though.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Day 36- June 28- Crypt Lake

This is the hike that I have been looking forward to since we have planned this trip. My parents took it in 2001 and said it was an amazing hike. Unfortunately, David had to meet Randy, the slide repair man, at the camper with the correct part in order to fix the camper so he was unable to make the hike :-(. With that being said –The boys and I rode in my parents RV up to Canada for the day. On the way – this black bear still on the road and stared at us. He is #14.
We got to the marina and found some red chairs – we were wondering if this is a Canada parks thing or not since we also saw a similar chairs in Jasper.
We bought our tickets for the ferry, walked around the marina a little bit and of course got our red chair pictures.

There was a little bit of time for the boys to skip rocks on middle Waterton lake.
The ferry left at 10 AM and we were on for the 15 minute ride. I'm not going to lie – I have always been a little bit nervous that we would not be able to make this hike and make it back to the ferry in time. By the sheer fact that I am writing this – you know we made it back to the ferry.
This was an 11 mile hike with a 2200 foot elevation change.
The first 2 miles we hiked we did in record speed – primarily because as you got off the boat – everybody just started trekking up the trail. You kept up with the person in front of you or you felt like you were falling behind. After 2 miles – we stepped off, had a snack and a slower pace down a little bit so that we could enjoy the hike a little bit more.
Some of the hiking in this view was torture – switch back after switch back out in the sun and uphill. In addition to that – it was over large, loose rocks – which is not great to hike on.
I know I say it in almost every post – but I continue to be amazed at the things that these two little boys are able to do. On almost every hike – there are not kids even close to them in age that are making the same hikes.
The coolest part of this hike came after about five miles when you had to climb a 10 foot ladder –
And then crawl through the 60 feet natural tunnel that is behind Logan –
My dad had a harder time with that because he is 6'3".
When you came out of the tunnel – you had to hold onto a cable wire for about 100 yards as you walked on a sheer cliff face. This was not Logan's favorite part.
Shortly after you do the most nerve-racking part of the hike – you end up at Crypt Lake.
When you get there – you realize that every single step of the 5.5 miles was worth it – the view was breathtaking.

We had lunch here and I did not wish to leave.

As we hiked back – we did have to go through some snow.
Going down holding onto the cable wire was significantly more difficult than going up.
Hunter and my mom seem to have mastered it. Notice the cliff face on the right-hand side.
You can also see the clip drop off behind me, the boys, and my dad.
This was the panoramic view from that cliff face.
The boys didn't mind the ladder at all.
It is always so much easier on the return trip – when you were going downhill.
It was exciting when we got back to where we could see Waterton lake.

Sitting on the dock waiting for the boat to arrive – we were thrilled to know we have made the ferry with about 25 minutes to spare because the ferry departed at exactly 5:30.  We don't know if anyone missed the ferry.
It was calling for rain in the afternoon and we were able to avoid all of that – but able to get this magical picture of the gray clouds with the mountains in the sunlight behind.

I was so sad that David was unable to go on this hike – he would not like the Heights, but he would've loved the view along the way. This may be my favorite hike that I have ever done because of the views for so many of the miles of the hike.  Waterfalls, mountains, and lakes-  views abound.