Slushy Piegan

6/16 – We awoke to rain and after bidding goodbye to Wyatt & David made our way through the downpour, trekking through mud and then snow as we gained elevation. We soon lost the trail in the snow, gingerly making our way over a snow bridge below which raged an ice-cold stream.  Approaching heather-covered Piegan pass reminded us of Wales, as did the icy-cold rain stinging our cheeks.  As we approached the ridge rain turned to snow and we post-holed in the fresh snow, getting colder and wetter every minute.  In a little while we met up with Lost, Yas & Jack, whose footprints we’d been following, and soon Nina & Tim caught up with us too. Joker had turned back at the onset of bad weather since he didn’t have rain or warm gear.  Together our group of 7 decided to bushwack down to the Going-to-the-Sun road to avoid navigating the steep snowy trail. An epic buswack, meandering past avalanche prone slopes and glissading with fingers crossed down to the valley.  Dan lost his ice axe down a glissade- hopefully another thru-hiker will find it useful as they negotiate Glacier during this moody month.  Down in the valley and to the road, which at first was still closed but it was snow-free so we soon arrived at where the CDT crossed the road. There an angelic sight awaited us – Naomi, Mike’s wife, offered to drive us to St. Mary’s, the closest outpost of civilization, where a huge roaring fire awaited us in the lodge. Soon the possiblity of being warm and dry, and drying our gear, had us cave into staying at the lodge for the night.  A splurge? Perhaps, but hypothermia bekoned outside.

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