Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gunsight Lake and death

Saturday I joined Leah's hiking group for a hike in Glacier Park.   We planned to hike the south side of St Marys Lake - a hike I've wanted to do for a while now - but we had to change our plans.  Our route would have taken us past Virginia Falls and over a bridge where a woman fell off on Friday.

The number one cause of death in Glacier Park is not bears, but from drowning.
A 62-year-old Missouri woman drowned Friday June 18 after she fell from a bridge downstream from Virginia Falls and was carried away by a fast-flowing creek in Glacier National Park.

According to a witness accounts, the woman and her husband were walking across the bridge around noon Friday when she slipped and fell about four feet into cold, swift Virginia Creek.

She was quickly carried away by the current and her husband lost sight of her. Authorities say the 40-degree water would have made it difficult to survive very long.

About 20 park staff and a helicopter crew searched the stream for the rest of the day but her body wasn't found until Saturday when a dive team located it wedged beneath a bridge.

As we drove past the St Marys and Virginia Falls trail head on Saturday morning it was closed to public use due to the search and rescue work in finding the woman's body.  So we switched our plans and hiked to Gunsight Lake with a side trip to Florence Falls.

The Park signs said it was 6.2 miles to Gunsight Lake but Mitch's Garmin Oregon GPS unit said it was 5.1 miles.  A mile difference is a bit much.  Could the park be that wrong?  Nope.  Mitch later found out his Garmin unit needed a software or firmware fix.   The side trip to Florence Falls was listed at 1 mile.  So I hiked 14.4 miles.

Reynolds Creek

Florence Falls

Gunsight Lake.   Although at this time of year it could also be called Iceberg Lake.
Gunsight Pass is through the "V" left of center.  Obviously it would be difficult to cross this time of year.

And yes, I hiked a little bit on snow near the lake.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Clearing snow in June

 Glaicer Park is still clearing snow off the Going-to-the-Sun road.  The second half of June!  Aren't we suppose to be in Summer by now?  Please give me my global warming back!