Bridge of Hayden

Hayden Trail, Weehawken, Potosi Peak, hiking, Ouray, Colorado, August

Hiking the Hayden Trail, with Potosi Peak and Weehawken valley of the Sneffels Range in the background.

We started my birthday off right this morning with a hike up Hayden Mountain, high above Ouray. We found a new ridge-route to an awesome overlook point that I never realized was there, despite having hiked up past here numerous times before. This is definitely now one of my favorite Ouray hikes, along with the Bridge of Heaven on the opposite side of Ouray.

Hayden Mountain, Ouray, Colorado, August

We are excited to finally go backpacking again in a couple days – for a week long trek in the Weminuche – woohoo!


Hiking the Weehawken Trail near Ouray, Colorado

..we’ve been going on a lot of day hikes around Ouray with Claudia’s mom and sisters. It’s been fun to show them around! Here we are on the Weehawken Trail.

Arches National Park, Utah

We even went for a quick road trip to Moab, despite the inferno heat! Her family has never seen the desert before, so Arches and Canyonlands National Parks were are good way to start!

Red Mountain summit, San Juans, Colorado

Here’s a summit cairn complete with Tibetan prayer flag on the top of Red Mountain #3.

Our Big Day!

Claudia and Jack Brauer
Jack & Claudia Brauer. Photo by Melissa Plantz.

On August 4, Claudia and I got married! We had a small but immensely fun wedding ceremony and party here in Ouray. I want to give a big THANKS to all our family and friends that came to celebrate with us; and for those who couldn’t make it – we missed you but we will celebrate together soon!

It still amazes me how our paths from America and Germany crossed in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru two years ago. Crossed, and joined for good! I am forever grateful for that fateful trip, and I look forward to many adventures to come with Claudia – my friend, my partner, and now… my wife!

Goodbye Glacier!

St. Mary Lake, Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park, Montana, stars, shooting star

Saint Mary Stars : Prints Available

Stars and a shooting star over St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island.  The clouds are illuminated by the lights of the town of Apgar on the west side of the range.

Our last night in Glacier National Park: sitting by Saint Mary Lake, drinking wine, reminiscing about all our recent adventures and dreaming about more to come. All in all, it was a great trip – we packed in a lot of adventures during our three weeks away. In fact, except for the big driving days, we hiked every single day of the trip! Now we’re happy to be back home in the San Juans where thankfully it’s been raining nearly every day while we were gone, ending the drought that spurred us north to Montana three weeks ago.

Piegan Pass

Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking

Hiking towards Piegan Pass, from the Going to the Sun Road.

For our last hike during our stay in Glacier National Park, we went up to Piegan Pass – a nice day hike from the Going to the Sun Road.

Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking

Once at the pass, we were greeted with an awesome view of the sheer walls of Mt. Gould.

Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking, Mount Gould, Cataract Creek

Hiking above Piegan Pass, with Mount Gould and the Cataract Creek valley in the background - July.

After lounging around on the pass for a while, we decided to hike up to another pass that’s about 1,000 feet higher.

Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking, Going to the Sun road, Logan Pass

An awesome vista from the pass higher up to the southwest from Piegan Pass, between Pollock and Piegan Mountains.  The valley below is where the Going to the Sun Road passes, just to the east of Logan Pass.

Epic views!

Elizabeth, Glenn, and Cosley

Belly River, Belly River Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana, July, hiking

After extensive puzzle solving and backup planning, we finally scored backpacking permits for a 5-day trek in Glacier NP! As I mentioned before, it’s not easy getting these permits since half of the campsites are already reserved and the others fill up quickly each day. And of course, as with most national parks you have to camp in the designated campsites when backpacking. So after repeatedly getting denied, I was stoked when I showed up at the ranger station promptly at 7:00am and the ranger said that we got our desired itinerary!

Glacier had an above-average winter snowpack this year, so unfortunately most of the high treks we wanted to do were still closed – but we managed to figure out a nice route for our trek anyways. We started from the Chief Mountain TH, just yards from the Canadian border, and hiked up the Belly River valley. We spent the first night at Elizabeth Lake, in the valley to the left of the mountain in the photo above. We then backtracked and hiked up the Mokowanis River valley – the valley to the right side.

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Iceberg Lake Trail

Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking

Our next outing was a day hike to Iceberg Lake, one of the most popular hikes in Glacier NP. One nice benefit of the busy trail is not having to shout for bears so much!

beargrass, Glacier National Park, Montana, wildflowers, Iceberg Lake

Beargrass wildflowers are so cool. They look like fireworks, and I bet that if a patient photographer were to make a multi-day/week time-lapse video of the flowers, they probably would look just like fireworks shooting out of the earth and exploding in the sky!

beargrass, Glacier National Park, Montana, wildflowers, Iceberg Lake

The lake, true to its name, was still frozen over and unphotogenic, but I had a great time anyways shooting photos of those beargrass flowers.

Cracker Lake

Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, hiking

Our first backpack trip in Glacier National Park was a one-nighter to Cracker Lake, in the Many Glacier area. This is easily one of the most spectacular mountain cirques I’ve ever had the pleasure of camping in, with a 3-4,000 foot sheer vertical wall encircling the milky turquoise glacial lake and green grass meadow slopes. And the mountains here have such an intriguing character, which their complex patterns in the eroded sedimentary rock.

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