Friday, August 3, 2012

Glacier continued: whitewater rafting and Avalanche Lake

We're really getting into the Glacier groove now, and yesterday was the big splurge of the vacation. We had to choose between horseback riding and white water rafting. We chose the latter, and  unanimously feel that we made the right choice. Leo was more than a little bit worried at the start, but after plenty of reassurances he quickly got into the spirit of it. We glided down the middle fork of the Flathead river and encountered some exciting rapids along the way. At one point I was launched right out of the boat, but no harm was done. Matt, our terrific guide and all-around renaissance man quickly yanked me right back into the boat, though I really wanted to climb in unassisted. I guess Matt was a little worried about the giant rock that we were about to collide with. Matt has been leading whitewater rafting adventures for more than 15 years, works as a carpenter, and does large format photography. He is currently studying to be a bush pilot, so he really has a lot going on.

By the end of our adventure Leo was screaming more out of joy than fear, and was regularly calling for paddle high-fives. It was great to see the way he grew in self-confidence, and we've been seeing this pattern quite a bit with our boys as we have faced minor adversities and somewhat challenging hikes. There's no question that the boys have been benefiting in many ways from our great adventure, and now they can speak at length about what they learned about each National Park that we've visited, thanks to the junior ranger programs and all of the helpful rangers and signage.

Today we hiked the lovely and quite popular Avalanche Lake trail, and were rewarded with stunning views of mountain waterfalls and glaciers. The hike started off with temperatures in the 40s and heavy clouds and fog. By the time we reached the lake, the sun was breaking through the low-hanging clouds and the views were amazing. I couldn't help but think about the 19-year old hiker and Lake McDonald seasonal worker who has been missing for over a week now. Over 50 people have been searching for him on foot, with helicopters, and with high-tech infrared equipment to no avail. I can't imagine what his family is going through, and hope that a miracle occurs, though at this point it doesn't look good at all. We see his face on posters everywhere. He was travelling from Logan Pass, bushwhacking down to Avalanche lake by himself.

As we come to the end of our Glacier visit, it's finally time to do our giant load of laundry and plan for our next drive on Sunday, which will probably land us in Sheridan, Wyoming. I kind of like these quiet afternoons. Hopefully the clouds will clear and I'll have one last go at Going to the Sun road tonight, this time starting from Avalanche.

No comments:

Post a Comment