Tarun and Yogita's Travel Blog

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Location: New Delhi, India

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Monday, July 24, 2006

In Preparation to the Grand Canyon

It just occured to me that I have been writing never-ending essays in the blog posts on my experiences. While it was just a good practice at writing, I would from now try to be very concise.

Granite Mountain, The Alpine Lakes Region, 8 r/t, 3800 ft (gain), Most Difficult

In preparation to the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in August, we decided to do the hike to top of the Granite Mountain. We (Amol, Tarun and me) started in the heat and sun of midday equipped with food, Gatorade and Propel. There were quite a few other people who were there. The hike was really very hard as we can determine from the elevation gain of 3800 ft in about 4 miles.

This hike is rated as the most difficult and along with that it dodges you at certain places where the trail forks out and you have to figure out which one of the two to take. I was much slower than Amol and Tarun and probably they both were also at different paces. So we ended up losing each other. For quite a distance closer to the summit we all walked alone. I was worried and so was Tarun and for the first time I realized the use of the walky talky Tarun was so ardent on buying (we did not have it that day). Nevertheless, we all met at the summit, the Granite Mountain Lookout, which offered an spectacular view of Mount Rainier.

By the time we returned we were all sweaty, muddy and salty but it was a good preparation for our Rim to Rim hike next month.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Glacier National Park

One more addition to our collection of souvenir cups from National Parks in US. Tarun, me, Srijan and Amol went to Montana this July 4th weekend (2006). It was an amazingly great weather weekend, lots of sun and cool breeze. We camped for three nights over there. Camping with more people is a lot more fun when we enjoy cooking, eating and playing games together.
In the Glacier National Park we did not see any glaciers ... Oh well! But almost at every bend there was a fall (glaciers melting) and it made for quite a sight. The mountains of the park were unique. It seemed to me like God is the greatest sculptor, who has carved these huge mountains into a beautiful pieces of art. And these mountains are embellished with falls from melting glaciers.

Day 1 was at the Logan Pass, followed by our small hike to Avalanche Lake. It was a bright sunny day, a perfect weather to enjoy. On the way to Logan Pass, we passed by the Weeping Wall. The wall weeped but it pleased every passer by. It was long stretch of rocks and water flowing through the stretch. Logan Pass was crowded, really crowded. Every one wanted their share of the sun and enjoy the holiday weekend. We all went to the park information office and figured out that the "Highline Trail" is the one we would be doing next.

Mummy papa are always looking for our (mine and Tarun's) pictures but I couldn't resist the temptation to become a photographer, called on by the beauty of the place. I never knew that the trail we were about to take would be the most memorable one for me so far. We were greeted by 3 mountain goats as we entered the trail head. A fascinating and very docile wild animal. One of them was a baby. We were still wary of going close to them. This single person trail was on the edge in the middle of a mountain wall, called the Garden Wall (I hope). On the way, we even saw a marmot sitting peacefully and authoritatively like I would sit on a couch in my home. This half gray half orange creature had the most beautiful orange hue I have ever seen. On the left while going out was the "Going-to-the-sun road" and across the magestic mountains and great falls.

We all stopped for a while on the way for some snacks and water and to catch a breath. And it was not until then that I realized that the sun was burning my skin. Fortunately I had the sunscreen on. It is an indispensible commodity on the Independence Day weekend at the Glacier National Park (and any high altitude place in summers ;)). While Amol was keeping Tarun and Srijan busy with his ("highly stupid"...oops) jokes I watched a couple of chipmunks play around. These little creatures are so agile the novice photographer in me had to work really hard to capture them in a picture. So, next in line was a little bit of rock climbing. All the crazy ideas originate in the head of Amol Shukla and he takes it far ahead as well. Me, Srijan and Tarun climbed only a little further up while Amol quickly disappeared from sight. We all decided to just sit on the rocks and wait for Amol to return while we enjoyed the vista from way up. As Amol got back, we climbed down and headed back to the parking lot. We had our lunch by the beautiful green St. Mary's Lake. We decided to spend some time there and then headed back to our campground picking some firewood on the way back. That night for dinner was Mac and Cheese and BBQed vegetables (right from our campfire)...yummy. I was enjoying the food we were having on the trip. We closed the day by playing Judgement (a card game), Amol being the most spectacular player amongst us (won no game :)).

Day 2 was fun as well where we hiked on the snow with all summer clothes down to the hidden lake which was past Mt. Clements. I will not try to explain the inexplicable beauty of the lake as whatever I write will not do the justice. We then drove down to Many Glacier and did some kayaking. Tarun and me were on a two person kayak and Srijan and Amol were on a canoe. It was amazing fun. We all had enjoyed the BBQ veggies the day before and the plan for today was the same. So we picked up some groceries on the way and headed back to our campground. That day we were already so late that most people were snoring in their tents. Nevertheless we enjoyed another great dinner followed by Judgement. Amol won 1 game this time, but by that time he had surpassed all the limits of passing poorest of poor jokes and occasionally putting us through convulsions.

Day 3, we headed back deciding to stop for breakfast on our way. The place where we stopped, Symes Hotel, Hot Springs, MT, was another treat to end this wonderful trip. The hotel had a swimming pool of hot water, straight from the hot springs loaded with curative minerals and lots of sulphur that smelled bad. Tarun and Amol decided to swim while me and Srijan were content with dipping our feet into it. Following this was the best American breakfast (pancakes and waffles) I had ever had here in the US.

Overall, 4 days well spent.