At the the top of the pass, we were exhausted. I make it a point to never prepare for our trips by getting in shape. Round is a shape I always say. I do so much groaning, gasping, and wheezing on the 1st day, that by the second day I have doubled my lung capacity, and the weather is noticeably less windy. We did a few things a veteran backpacker should and would not do. This includes carrying a huge slab of flat rock from the creek bed back to our tent site to use as a “table”. Then we proceeded to eat and drink off of it right next to our tent. Some of you may be wondering why that was so bad. Glacier has very strict rules about only eating in the food prep area and leaving things the way you found them. We didn’t really get that, and now I understand why a couple of our camp companions were looking at us like we were from Mars. You live, you learn, right? Well, if you’re smart anyway. We had one of the 1,200 different varieties of Mountain House freeze-dried meals for dinner, which are pretty good for freeze-dried, I might add. However, after a long day of hiking, a dab of jam slathered on an old boot would taste like a Filet Mignon, so take that for what it’s worth. So there we are eating dinner and drinking hot apple cider, and it must have been pretty good, because a big buck snuck into camp right under our nose. He was standing right in front of us and we never heard him approach. He was a very light brown, and stood out like he was glowing in the dark. He startled all of us pretty good. Sorry for the blurry photo, it was dusk and I didn’t exactly have time to get out my tripod.
This was the first time I’d ever spent in a tent in the middle of a Grizzly playground. I don’t recall getting any sleep whatsoever. I jumped at every sound, both real and imagined. I was sure every sound was a starving, marauding bear, just waiting to devour me. Well, they’d have to get past our lovely aroma first. You see, we had put some thought into this, and had spent all day preparing our defense. Well…it was a long, sleepless night.