Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Neither Rain Nor Snow

NOTE: This is part two in a three part series about our recent weekend away. If you would prefer to start with part one (which now includes photos), please scroll down or click here.

The weather for most of our trip was miserable--at least for a June celebration of school letting out for the summer. When we arrived at Mad Wolf Ranch, it was pouring rain and the wind was blowing. Winnie the Pooh would have called it a "blustery day."

We didn't mind the weather one bit, as we were just happy to be away for the weekend. Since Paul the Ranch Hand had to be gone for a couple of days, and the Nelsons, who own the place, had not arrived yet for the summer, we had the ranch house to ourselves for the first evening. We made some yummy tortilla soup and mopped it up with good bread, then retired to the family room for popcorn and a movie.

Andy made a fire in the woodstove and we cuddled up two by two on the couches with--get this--buffalo hides. Each couch was covered with a pair of impossibly luxurious buffalo hides, and then there were more to cover ourselves with. I have cuddled in some soft and cozy blankets before, but they were nothing compared to this. Amazing.

We stayed up late, not wanting to crawl out from our cozy nests, but finally put boots and coats back on and sloshed our way to our little cabin in the woods. The kids got the top of the king-sized bunk bed; Andy and I took the bottom. The sound of rain on the roof lulled us to sleep and then woke us again the next morning.

Breakfast was back in the ranch house and the kids sucked us into watching another movie--any excuse to cuddle up again as we had the night before. Eventually, we decided that rain or no rain, we were going to Glacier National Park, the original destination for this weekend trip. We hadn't really brought rain gear with us (stupid), but we figured we could at least drive around and see some sights.

Unfortunately, most of the sights were left unseen. The majestic peaks were shrouded by fog and low clouds. Visibility was poor. The pristine glacial lakes were choppy and grey-green, instead of brilliant blue. But Glacier is beautiful no matter what the weather, so we ooohed and aaahed nonetheless.

We drove up the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as Logan Pass before we were turned back by deep snow. The road won't open completely until some time in July, most likely. We carved our names in the snow, shoved snow down one anothers' backs and generally enjoyed the novelty of six feet of white stuff in June.

As we drove back down the road, the kids were clearly antsy to get out and hike. We had hoped the rain would let up so we could get of the beaten path at least a little, but it persisted. We decided to try a short hike anyway.

The sign for Sunrift Gorge looked interesting, so we parked there and walked down under the old stone bridge. The gorge was beautiful, the river running fast and furious. We hiked from there to Baring Falls, which fell so violently that it looks like pure snow in the background of our photos there. The narrow log bridge crossing the stream there was a little scary to take the kids across, but we did it.

From Baring Falls, we hiked on to Sun Point. It was a beautiful place, overlooking St. Mary Lake, but we didn't find any sun there. False advertising is really not nice.

All told, we only went about two miles, but we were quite damp by the time we returned to the car. Was it worth it? Always. Kids don't care if they are wet. They love to get out and see and do. We love it, too.

On the way back to the ranch, we stopped in a touristy town for some terribly overpriced hot chocolate, but it warmed and soothed us all the way back.

The day seemed to stretch on forever, first a leisurely morning with a movie, then sightseeing, then hiking. By the time we got back to the ranch, the Nelsons had arrived, as had Paul the Ranch Hand. We made a big dinner together and enjoyed each other's company all evening.

We slept well that night, again to the sound of rain pattering on the roof of our little cabin.


Blogger is up to its old tricks again. I've tried everything, but no photos. Really, I'm not just trying to stretch this out longer, I promise.


Ruth C said...

Lov'n it!

CML_Shearings said...

What a great week-end away, rain & all!

Mister Ed T said...

Snow blocked roads? And you think we live in the "Great White North!"
Glacier park is an awesome place. Will never forget your husband, your brother, and my sons hiking up the mountain side at the summit. All the tourists forgot about the big horn ram they were watching!