Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rocka Rolla: Dawson Pass Loop Day 2 - Glacier National Park


Not long after we left the moose behind, it started raining.  The forecast actually looked really good, calling for a chance of rain Thursday but partly cloudy Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 70’s.  Despite all the times the weather forecast has been wrong, I believed it like a fool, and packed accordingly.  So you can imagine the look on my face a couple hours earlier at the Ranger station when I stood bemused while the Ranger was contacted by radio and informed right in front of us that an arctic storm blowing across Canada would hit the park that night and last for two damn days.  Here it was early August and Glacier Park was expecting 2 inches of snow…

 So when the rain started, all I had for protection was a pack cover and a rain jacket, which usually would be fine in a regular rain storm… But it rained hard and never stopped.  By the time we got to camp at No Name Lake I was soaked. My feet were soaked through waterproof boots, my whole upper body was soaked through a waterproof jacket, and my pants were so wet I could wring them out like a dish rag. I’ll be honest; it made me rethink the quality of my gear.  The really crappy part was that because fires are illegal in most of Glacier Parks backcountry, we didn't build one. We sat in the rain and made dinner, and the first time the rain broke, we hurriedly pitched our tents.

Finally the rain did let up and we all went down to the water and did some fishing. The dreary overcast sky was darkening with the coming of twilight, and as we fished at the waters edge a thunderclap exploded in the sky overhead.  It boomed like a howitzer and the violent crash of rolling thunder stampeded from the mountain side onto our beach and shook the ground beneath our feet. And there it remained, unwavering, beating against our courage and filling our bones with dread. Our eyes were fixed on a massive sheer cliff towering over our beach like Point du Hoc, and with eyes wide open we could see stones and boulders violently tumbling down its doom lit face and smashing into the rocks below.  It was a sight to behold, the raw power of nature. Jesse looked at me and for the second time today asked, “Should we be standing here?”
Luke fly-fishing No Name Lake


It rained all night and the next morning.  At breakfast we discussed our course of action. Luke and I were so sick of the rain. We have been rained on every backpacking trip since April. It seemed we couldn't escape it and we were both feeling like we just wanted to be dry. But Jesse came to the rescue with words of wisdom that really got moral turned back around, “Overcoming adversity like this is what makes you a better and stronger man, we need to finish what we started.” Of course he was right, and a half hour later we were packed up and heading west toward the continental divide.