This past weekend was my bachelorette party! If you had asked me five years ago to describe my perfect bachelorette party it certainly wouldn’t have included going into the farthest northern reaches of Montana to hike, whitewater raft, and sleep in a cabin. Ohh how much I’ve changed since becoming a mountain girl! I could not have asked for a better bachelorette party. The terrific trio of my sister, Taylor, and two friends, Kylie and Kate, planned just enough for us to have great options but still allowed us to be spontaneous. If you don’t want to read about my very boring week of recovery prior to Glacier National Park, just jump down to the Saturday – Sunday section. You will have to wait until next for the most surprising story of the trip, since it occurred on Monday!
REST from running. I did do my ab circuit but since it was only 10 minutes it’s almost not even worth mentioning.
Tuesday: 2 miles, 200 ft of gain, 28:34
I did a pretty intense full body circuit after I finished up work and felt like I pulled a muscle in my back doing deadlifts. I decided to go for a little walk/jog to try to loosen up the muscles but by the end my back was in full-on spasm mode. I strapped on my back brace (yes I know it’s embarrassing that I already had one) as soon as I got home. Unfortunately by bedtime it was really painful and I had trouble sleeping!
Wednesday: 7.7 miles, 955 ft of elevation gain, 1:35:23
My back was still really sore so I did this on the treadmill with my back brace on. I really dislike the treadmill, but stabilizing movements made my back hurt so running outside was out. I know from the past that movement is the only thing that helps my muscles release so I knew the run was a good idea. To keep things interesting I put the treadmill on the random hills setting and managed to climb 955 feet. It wasn’t pretty but it was what my back needed. By the time Jason and I headed to the Colorado Rapids game I didn’t need the back brace. Treadmill FTW (which is the only time I’ll use those two words in the same sentence)!
Thursday: 7.9 miles, 1849 ft of elevation gain, 1:47:48
I wanted to get in a good uphill adventure with Jason before leaving for my bachelorette party. During last week’s long run I remembered how pretty the Saddle Rock – Gregory Canyon loop is so I told Jason that was where we were going. It was a perfect after work adventure. I haven’t been up the Saddle Rock trail since it was destroyed during the front range floods a couple of years ago so it was interesting seeing the new trail route and also seeing all the carnage that still remains three years later. We decided against bringing Moose because of the ladder on the trail but I think he would have been fine climbing up the dirt/rock on the side of the ladder. Jason didn’t eat enough before the hike so the uphill was slow because he was getting light headed until his Epic bar and Clif ShotBloks finally took effect. We did maintain a pretty easy and constant jog on the way down. Thursday afternoon hikes should really become a tradition for us!
Friday: 1.3 miles, 59 ft of elevation gain, 19:06
Mostly walking with a little jogging in thrown in. My training plan called for rest but work was stressful and I needed to get out and do something. I kept the effort very very easy (obviously) and felt better by the end. I had a flight to catch or else I would have extended this out longer. This begins the bachelorette party!!
Saturday: 5.5 miles, 876 ft of elevation gain, 1:36:39
We landed late on Friday and then had to drive 3 hours to West Glacier and our cabin so we decided to sleep in Saturday morning. After waking up and making breakfast we headed in to the park to talk to the park rangers and explore before our rafting trip. The rangers gave us some suggestions for hikes, one of which was to hike the popular Avalanche Lake trail in the later afternoon to avoid the crowds. After driving what we could of Going to the Sun Road and a “hikers lunch” (which for me consisted of peanut butter and huckleberry jam wrapped in a tortilla) we headed to our rafting adventures!
The people at Glacier Raft Company were really helpful and got us outfitted in our wetsuits, splash jackets, and neoprene booties. It was warm on land but as soon as we got in the boat I was thankful for the layers. We ended up rafting over 8 miles of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The water level was perfect for the rapids but we had enough flat sections in between for our guides to regale us with the local river legends. We learned about a man who kidnapped the local prostitute/opium addict and locked her in his cabin until she detoxed. He then married her and she became a moonshine runner for the nearby railway. One of our guides was also an ultra runner so she gave me some info on a race that sounds awesome. I haven’t been able to find any information online but once I do I’ll post it for everyone else.
After rafting we quickly returned to the cabin to change out of our wet clothes (we all went for a swim in the snow melt river) and headed back into the park for the hike to Avalanche Lake. The trail was absolutely gorgeous, windy through thickly mossed forests and along the raging Avalanche Creek. It was the perfect first hike in the park and left us with enough energy to explore the local watering holes in Whitefish, MT. Between Taylor, Kylie, and Kate I was fully decked out in bachelorette gear complete with a pink wig, tiara, sash, and massive pink goblet. Kylie bought us all matching pink flannel shirts so there was no doubt we were a bachelorette party when we went out. Luckily we were a bachelorette party or I probably would not have made it in the bar since I left my ID back at the cabin 30 minutes away!
Sunday: 8.1 miles, 1689 ft of elevation gain, 3:27:05
We woke up very hungover on Sunday morning but we had plans to hike in the Many Glacier region so we rallied and made it out the door by 9 am. After a little back and forth to retreive things from the cabin and find an open gas station we started the 3 hour drive. The entire drive I was seriously doubting my ability to hike but by the time we made it to the trailhead and I stepped outside I felt much better. A quarter mile up the trail and I completely forgot that I had wanted to puke 20 minutes earlier. We decided to head up to Grinnell Lake since we had heard a couple reports that the snow level was still too dangerous to make it the glacier. Luckily we didn’t listen and at the trail split headed up towards Grinnell Glacier. At one point we looked down into the valley that contained the trail to Grinnell Lake and saw the very distinct form of a bear foraging in a meadow. Seeing him from 500 feet up was way better than seeing him along the trail we were on! We did have bear spray but weren’t looking forward to using it.
The trail itself is beautiful, littered with rocks of varying colors, but it doesn’t compare to the views that just got better and better the higher we climbed. The wildflowers were just beginning to bloom and the snow was still clinging to the peaks, adding to their grandeur. Unfortunately the clouds started to roll in and by the time we reached the area where snow was covering the rest of the trail we started to see darker clouds heading out way. We were prepared with raincoats but none of us wanted to get caught in a thunderstorm. We headed back to the car where we found out the seasonal bridge to the glacier hadn’t been installed yet so we wouldn’t have been able to make it all the way anyways.
After a delicious pizza and ice cream in East Glacier we headed home. We were all exhausted so we turned on the tv before calling it an early night. You’ll have to wait until next week for the rest of the story!
Weekly Total: 32.6 miles, 5,563 ft of gain, 7:51:18