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