Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glacier National Park, Hidden Lake and the Loop Trail

The day after Lauren's wedding we cruised on up to Glacier National Park with my parents and Lyndee.  Erik and I had never been there and my parents hadn't been since the 70's.  We knew it wouldn't do the park justice to only spend 5-6 hours there, but that was all we had.  This trip was kind of a blur driving from one event to the next, but still really fun.  Since we were with family and had limited time, so opted to do two short hikes.

First we hiked Hidden Lake from the Logan Pass visitors center.  There was tons of snow at the pass (SHOCKER! Story of our hiking season this year!) And there were actually a lot of people with skiis and snowboards hiking up peaks to ski down.  It looked like alot of fun. So we hiked the entire way on packed snow, Erik and I were really regretting wearing our chacos! Who hikes in the snow in Chacos?!?!?! Obviously we weren't prepared.

 Classic Monte moment

At the lake overlook we saw several mountain goats! That was my one major goal in my trip to Glacier was to see one, so I am pumped we did.  Naturally, my parents broke into song at the sight of a mountain goat singing the "yodalay-hee" song from sound of music. . . we didn't see too many goats after the singing. . .

After the hike to Hidden Lake, my family took off to continue their drive to Lewistown to visit the Ranch.  Erik and I decided to get as far as we could up the Loop trail in one hour before turning around.  We still had a long drive to Spokane that night and didn't want to we driving too late into the night. It was a really nice trail with views in every direction.  The only problem. . . we had no water.  We had planned to fill our packs with water at the trailhead. . . what national park trailhead doesn't have a drinking fountain?!?! Since there was none, we just went for it anyway. . . when were we going to make it back this far North to enjoy beauty like this?  Bad idea.  It was really hot and the trail was steep, and we were dying for water. There were running streams and rivers all around us, and it wasn't helping.  Our fear of giarrdia was still stronger than our thirst.  On our way down we found some water seeping out of a rock.  Apparently this is pretty safe to drink since it has been filtered through the rocks. . . so we drank enough to satisfy the cottonmouth. . . we were too scared to drink more than that.

We didn't quite make it to the pass before we had to turn around.  But we were both really thirsty and hungry, and frustrated at out lack of preparedness.  We are the Rasmussen's after all! We know how to prepare for a hike! Anyways, on the way down I sprained my ankle really bad.  I had sprained the same ankle less than 2 weeks before and it was just getting better! Needless to say I was pissed, hurt, hungry and thirsty, yet still the beauty of the park was enough to make it an enjoyable hike.  Erik carried my pack for me (Knight in shining armor).  I limped down a few miles and then iced my ankle in a chilling mountain stream before we got in the car to head back to Spokane.

Lucas Family Fun, Lake Coeur' d'Alene and Liberty Lake

We combined several trips we have been meaning to take this summer into one weekend.  We visited Erik's sister Brenda and her kids in Spokane, WA, went to my cousin Lauren's wedding in Flathead Lake, MT, and then went to Glacier National Park in MT.  We had a ton of fun visiting Brenda and Matt and their boys Mathew, Jackson, and Gavin in Spokane.

Our first day there we drove over to Coeur' d'Alene, ID where Matt works as a physical therapist.  We picked him up from work and spent the afternoon at Lake Coeur' d'Alene, hiking along the bank. We hiked to a nice enclosure where the boys did some serious swimming and jumping off the rocks.  

Another day we went to Liberty Lake to so some Fishing/swimming/picnicing/hiking around the lake.  It was a glorious day, we we caught a fish almost everytime we cast.  The only problem was that each fish we caught was only about 3-4 inches long.  But Gavin loved catching the little "Gav Fish" beacause they were little like him.  

It was really great getting to know the Lucas boys a little better.  Even though Erik and I have been married 4 years we don't see his family very much and when we are together it is usually the entire family, where it is hard to get to know each other on a personal level.  So it was a lot of fun to hang out with them this weekend. We had a blast, I would love to live up in this part of the US, although I am pretty sure the winters would be a struggle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shingle Mill Peak, Wasatch Range

Our original plan this weekend was to summit the Pfiefferhorn, but once again this years mass amounts of snowpack has delayed our ability to safely reach some of the summits on our summer bucket list.  So we went with our backup plan and chose to peak a few local mountains near Provo.  We set out to climb Single Mill and Freedom peaks. Each one about 10,700 ft elevation and we figured we wouldn't have any problems with snow.

Our peaking pals, Kenny and Kari, had to drop out last minute due to a foot injury Kenny received rock climbing the day before.  And the few other friends that originally wanted to joined us dropped the idea when we told them we were leaving Provo at 5:30am.  Well, after Erik spent the night before tossing and turning (2 big gulp sized cokes at 9:30 at night may do that to you), we didn't actually end up leaving until 9:30. . . I guess our friends could have come with us after all. . . oh well!

We started from the Dry Fork Trailhead off of the Squaw Peak Road and hiked till we reached the Cascade Saddle.  The thing I love about all of the peaks East of Provo are that you rarely see many people.  The whole day we saw one other couple and one group of boy scouts who were also headed up to Shingle Mill.  Apparently there were scout troops assinged to every peak in the Wasatch on this day and they were all going to be signalling with mirrors.  I wasn't sure how well the plan was going to work since there was still snow on most of the peaks, but didn't want to burst their bubble.

Just a word to the wise: if you ran 15 miles the day before, hiking a steep summit trail is pretty rough on the legs.  I wanted to turn back the whole time, and that is very atypical for me, I am usually the one leading the brigade! So I was dead and Erik was dead due to his lack of sleep, so when we hit the saddle between Freedom Peak and Single Mill Peak we opted to just climb one of them.  The knife edge leading up to Freedom looked a little bit terrifying half covered in a snow cornice, so we turned north and chose to summit Shingle Mill. 

 View of the Cascade Saddle behind me.

 View of Shingle Mill (Left) and Freedom (Right) from the Cascade Saddle

We scrambled up to Shingle Mill Peak reached the summit in about 2 hours 45 minutes.  We enjoyed an incredible lunch looking at the peaks around us for any sign of the mirror signalling Boy Scouts, but didn't see any.  Pretty magnificent views of the Wasatch and Utah Lake from up there. We were so glad that we didn't turn around in the beginning when we were both so tired.  This hike was a testament to not giving up, and just putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the top.  So rewarding!

 View from the summit looking South towards Freedom and Provo Peaks

 View from the summit looking west towards Provo, with Y Mountain and Squaw Peak below

View from the summit looking North towards Cascade Peak and Mt. Timpanogos

I have included a link to a hike description and directions to the trail head if anyone is interested in more details on this hike.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th July Weekend, Grand Teton NP, Day 3, Jenny Lake

Day 3 in the Grand Teton National Park we found ourselves on one of the most scenic trails in the park.  We did the full loop around Jenny Lake with a short detour to Hidden Falls up Cascade Canyon.  Everyone in our camping party joined us on the nature walk except Brandon, our chief outdoorsman who couldn't resist another opportunity to fish the Madison river in Yellowstone.  So me, Erik, Trisha, her friend Carrie, Kyle, Jen (who's parents named her for Jenny Lake), Makayla, and Cambree braved the Sunday tourist crowd at the Visitor Center where our trail began.  The total hike was 7.5 miles, I have included some of my favorite photos.

 Group shot at Hidden Falls


Glorious day to finish up a glorious weekend.  I still stand by my conviction to return to the Tetons again one day so Erik and I can climb The Grand, I can't help it, the mountain calls to me.

4th July Weekend, Grand Teton NP, Day 2, Snake River Rafting

Day 2 in the Tetons found us setting out for the Snake River for some white water rafting.  Because of the mass amounts of snow this year, and the late snow melt, the river was running at about 25,000 cubic feet of water per second.  It was very high and fast.  Also because of a recent landslide, there was a few new rapids that aren't typical.  When your guides, the Grossarths, who have been down this portion of the river 100 times are nervous, that may be reason to worry.  Thanks to the expertisse of our trusty experts Kyle and Jen, we made it through all the rapids without flipping or losing anyone. . . I guess that is a successful trip.

You can see how scary the water looks

Pushing off at the beginning of our run

The trip took one hour to paddle, it normally takes 2 hours, that roaring water just had us flying through the rapids! When we were done we hiked down to the "Lunch Counter" where we ate our lunch and watched boats go through this particularly exciting portion of rapids.  These next couple pictures aren't of us, but I snapped a few of the boats coming through.