As I mentioned in my last post, we rose at 6 am with the intention to dry our tents and depart by 8 am. (When hiking steep terrain, it's always better in the cool of the day.) However, due to the rain the day before, and the time it took for the sun to peep over the mountains, drying was a slow process; it was closer to 9 am by the time we bid farewell to the Elizabeth Lake campsite that had been home for two nights.
Redgap Creek crossed our path, offering a welcome opportunity for a break and a water refill. This butterfly seemed to be after a drink too, perching on Nephew's Camelpack mouthpiece!
As we continued to climb, we gained a unique perspective on our whereabouts for the last two days. The sandy bay in the picture to the right is the spot we saw the moose, and around the corner from that is our "beach". Directly above that, high on the mountain, is Old Sun Glacier. From down in the valley, we could glimpse only a small section of the glacier. At this height, the ice mass is visible in all its glory.
I reveled in the blue skies and puffy clouds. In the picture below, I love how the trail disappears around the corner.
This video shows the marmot picking up a rock in one paw, and appearing to eat or lick it. I have seen other animals in Glacier National Park licking rocks for essential minerals, and I am guessing the marmot was after the same. Or maybe he dug up a forb that we could not see!
As you can see in the video, plants manage to find a foothold in this rocky environment. I snapped a few of them.
As soon as we reached the tunnel, I felt like Alice in Wonderland: the whole world turned upside down. Near total isolation transformed to a return to civilization. People everywhere. People who want to hike only as far as the tunnel. People carrying silver umbrellas to protect themselves from the unrelenting sun on the south side of the mountain. "Surreal" does not seem to capture it. We enjoyed well-deserved snacks on the Many Glacier side of the tunnel, and then we hoofed the remaining 5 miles to the parking lot without any real stops.
It was hot on this side, and I believe I drained my Camel Pack by the time we reached Many Glacier. I can't tell you how satisfied we were to reach the parking lot and see my vehicle waiting for us!