August 24, 2004 Glacier National Park

Wow, I haven't written in a long time. Guess I've been too busy having fun. This will be a quick update. As you all know, Riley and I spent a month apart. I was in Houston helping Mom who is really doing well and continues to improve from her stroke every day. Yea! While I was there, Riley was on a motorcycle trip in the Sierras with Eric, Keith, Dick Scott & Dick's son Austin. We both enjoyed our month apart very much, but were very happy to reunite in Seattle on July 21. We had good visits with Gaynell & Thad and with Roxanne, as well as finishing up some business during the week we were there.

We then headed north and east and crossed the top of Washington (Hwy 20) and Idaho. We took our time and stayed in many beautiful places. The area around Washington Pass is especially beautiful--I've always enjoyed seeing the green water of Lake Diablo and the Skagit River.

Red Rock Falls, Glacier NP

We spent a couple of weeks in Montana, mostly at Glacier National Park--one of our favorites. The wildlife is abundant there and we have always seen bears (both grizzly and black) as well as mountain goats, elk, deer, etc. The rangers use aversion therapy (shooting with rubber bullets for one) to try to keep the bears from becoming habituated to human presence but don't seem to care if the other animals do or not. Mountain goats lie right next to the road and the trails all around Logan Pass, and just look at you as you pass by on foot or vehicle. Even the noise of the motorcycle didn't bother them. The RV is too long to go over the pass, so we were using the motorcycle to get to places while we were there. The wildflowers were blooming and we saw a large variety of butterflies that I have never seen before. There was also this funny grasshopper with wings like a butterfly that I have only seen once before and still am amazed by.

I was looking at postcards of the park one day and started seeing pictures of places we hadn't seen. I became obsessed that we should find them. One was Iceberg Lake and we had seen a trail sign for it on one of our hikes. The next day we packed a big lunch with plenty of snacks and water, got our hiking sticks and set off to hike the 5 mile trail to the lake. It was mostly uphill but a fairly easy upward slope, other than a bit of steepness right at the beginning. About 2.7 miles along the trail, we came to Ptarmigan Falls--very pretty but no ptarmigan to be seen, though there were plenty of fat ground squirrels. We had lunch there and made the decision to head on to the lake rather than turning back. By the time we reached the lake I had developed a blister on one of my toes. People we had passed on the trail had told us there was a grizzly and her twin cubs at the lake, but by the time we got there she had left. Thank goodness! We did see a bear up on the slope--plenty far away. There were a lot of people there at the same time we were, and one of the fellows had a first aid kit and was kind enough to give me some moleskin to cover my hurt toes. He and another fellow were both brave (crazy?) enough to dive into the icy lake! Riley walked out onto an ice floe in his bare feet and did put his feet in the water, but was smart enough not to dive in. The lake was situated at the bottom of a glacial cirque with remnants of the glacier and was covered with icebergs and ice floes. It was truly a gorgeous area and well worth the hike. The 5 miles back were downhill which went faster of course, but which hurt my toes a bit--I wanted Riley to carry me down the last steep bit but he declined. :-) Without the moleskin I would have been in a lot of trouble. Nice to see there are still good people ready to help in this world. Riley and I won't hike without a first aid kit again. I haven't had this trouble before so it must have been the length of the hike that did it. We were both amazed that I was able to do it as well as I did. I think this was due to good planning of food and water; being well prepared--like boy scouts! :-)

Riley standing on ice floe in Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

Running Eagle Fall near Two Medicine

Reynolds Creek

We moved on to Yellowstone about a week ago and have had terrible weather ever since. We have stayed at an RV park near West Yellowstone (still Montana) in order to have the luxury of utilities, which we didn't have in Glacier, and a laundromat. We went into Yellowstone on two days and had a good time though it rained both times and was cold. Winter has come--it was in the 30s last night and snow is predicted for Thursday. The bad weather has meant no motorcycling or hikes like we did in Glacier, so it hasn't been quite as enjoyable. When we are cooped up inside the RV, I do fine with my quilting, but Riley needs an Internet connection or he tends to get cabin fever fast. This RV park does not have WiFi--only a modem that you have to sign up for time on and, of course, it's slow, so e-mail only. The sun seems to be out at the moment and we are going to head back into the Park and down to the Grand Tetons. We'll see after that.

Hope you are all doing well as we are.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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