Thinking Out Loud for 2020

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Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:08 pm

This year’s trip is being planned around a 2-night stay at Sperry Chalet. Since reservations open up on Monday, it’s time to get serious about picking some dates. I’m looking at the first two-ish weeks in August. Was considering the Sperry Glacier interpretive workshop, but I’m not sure about the added cost (the chalet stay is expensive as is, and I’m on a limited budget this year). I’m probably traveling alone since R only wants to take time off for 1 long vacation.

Here’s my first cut at my ideal itinerary, but will also put in a range of dates for the chalet and see what I get.

1 - fly in and drive to MG (night at Swiftcurrent)
2 - Cracker Lake (night at Swiftcurrent)
3 - easy day wandering around Many Glacier (night at Swiftcurrent or Rising Sun)
4 - Gunsight Pass Trail to the Chalet
5 - Sperry Glacier
6 - Sperry Trail (assumes a shuttle service is running) (night in East Glacier Park)
7 - Two Medicine Pass (night in East Glacier Park)
8 - fly home

9 - might add an extra night - haven’t thought about what hike I’d target if I did. I manage to do Hidden Lake Overlook every year, but I could possibly fit it in on day 1 or 6, depending on the timing.

Main goals are to hike in to the chalet on the Gunsight Pass trail - I hiked the opposite direction last time, and to hike to at least Cobalt Lake and hopefully Two Medicine Pass. This makes me think the later date for the chalet stay is better in hopes that there’s no snow near Gunsight Pass.


List of previously completed hikes: Apgar Lookout, Rocky Point, Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Lake, Hidden Lake, Baring/St. Mary/Virginia Falls, Siyeh Loop, Piegan Pass (to MG and out-and-back), Dragon’s Tail False Summit, Sperry Trail, Sperry Glacier Trail, Gunsight Pass, Highline (with Grinnell Overlook), Ahern Pass, Swiftcurrent Lookout, Swiftcurrent Pass, Grinnell Lake, Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Cracker Lake, Apikuni Falls, Lee Ridge, Running Eagle Falls, Upper Two Medicine Lake, Scenic Point, Aster Falls/Park, Dawson-Pitamakan Loop, Dawson Pass, Firebrand Pass, Triple Divide Pass, Waterton Lakeshore Trail, Bear’s Hump, Crypt Lake
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby teapot57 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:51 am

I think trying for one of the Interpretive Workshops will greatly increase your chances of getting a Sperry reservation, especially over the time period you are considering. Sperry reservations will be one hot ticket this summer.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:55 am

teapot57 wrote:I think trying for one of the Interpretive Workshops will greatly increase your chances of getting a Sperry reservation, especially over the time period you are considering. Sperry reservations will be one hot ticket this summer.


That's a good point! I'm also willing to stalk the website to try to catch cancellations if I don't luck out tomorrow. This will be my first year submitting from my slow home laptop instead of my (probably faster) work computer/internet connection, so who knows what will happen.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby PeteE » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:19 am

I submitted a request for Granite Park for 3 consecutive nights-- Aug 21-23.
I gave them a date range of August 1-September12.
Just for haha's I tried to edit the dates a few minutes later and got a response that indicated my request "had already been processed successful or not".
I'll be notified in 5 business days either way.
So we'll see.

pete :wink:
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And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:35 am

I requested Sperry for 2 nights between August 12-17. It said I was number 273 in the queue, so I think I have a pretty good chance. I was actually allowed to edit my request (clarified my alternate dates) - that's a new feature that I appreciate! I might have submitted a little faster if I knew I could edit it once I got in the queue.

Good luck, Pete! You must have submitted pretty fast if you weren't able to edit your request.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby PeteE » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:42 am

al_in_al wrote:I requested Sperry for 2 nights between August 12-17. It said I was number 273 in the queue, so I think I have a pretty good chance. I was actually allowed to edit my request (clarified my alternate dates) - that's a new feature that I appreciate! I might have submitted a little faster if I knew I could edit it once I got in the queue.

Good luck, Pete! You must have submitted pretty fast if you weren't able to edit your request.


I didn't know about the editing feature either until after I had submitted my request.
I was #662. I believe giving them a 6 week window helped a lot 8)
Hope so anyway!

Good Luck!! :) :)

pete
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And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:09 pm

I got my confirmation this afternoon - I didn’t get my first choice dates, but they did give me two nights at the end of my range, Aug 16 and 17. I haven’t found the ‘perfect’ itinerary working those specific days in, but I’ll keep working on it.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Mon May 11, 2020 5:28 pm

I'm struggling with whether or not I should keep my Sperry Chalet nights this year. Luckily, I have until mid-July to decide, but today there was an update posted about what safety procedures would be taken at the chalets this year, which is mostly as expected - but just highlights how lonely a visit to the chalet might be. No one allowed to gather in the dining room, each group keeping separate from each other, distant interaction with the staff. I tend to keep mostly to myself anyway, but when I travel alone, I do enjoy interacting with other visitors (especially at Sperry). I'm really excited to be there the first year they have reopened (and it's been 5 years since my first visit), but 2 nights is a massive expense - maybe it's best to wait until next year when the experience will be more normal?

I will probably still visit GNP this year, if the park opens and Montana is welcoming tourists (and I stay healthy).

This is the most recent itinerary I had settled on:
1 - fly in and drive to MG (night at Swiftcurrent)
2 - Cracker Lake (night at Swiftcurrent)
3 - easy day wandering around Many Glacier (night in East Glacier Park)
4 - Two Medicine Pass (night at Rising Sun)
5 - Sunrise at Logan Pass? Hike Hidden Lake Overlook, and maybe hike from Sun Point (night at Rising Sun)
6 - Gunsight Pass Trail to the Chalet
7 - Sperry Glacier (attempt Lincoln Peak in the afternoon/evening?)
8 - Sperry Trail (assumes a shuttle service is running) (night at Village Inn)
9 - fly home

Without Sperry, my top "to-do" new hikes are probably Huckleberry Lookout, Medicine Grizzly Lake, and Otokomi Lake. Are any of these potentially more popular than the others?
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby mattB » Mon May 11, 2020 6:15 pm

I wonder how they are going to do the meals at Sperry?
Its pretty tight quarters in the dining room, no way they could maintain social distancing during dinners. Breakfast might work ok.
Maybe they will limit how many people can stay at the lodge at any time, so the dining room won't be too crowded at dinner time?
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Mon May 11, 2020 6:55 pm

mattB wrote:I wonder how they are going to do the meals at Sperry?
Its pretty tight quarters in the dining room, no way they could maintain social distancing during dinners. Breakfast might work ok.
Maybe they will limit how many people can stay at the lodge at any time, so the dining room won't be too crowded at dinner time?

There was an interview with the superintendent that said they would likely do take-and-go food.

https://hungryhorsenews.com/news/2020/a ... -state-10/
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby PeteE » Mon May 11, 2020 8:35 pm

I wouldn't cancel your reservations until the last moment you can do so without penalty.
Who knows what the social distancing rules will be 2-3 months from now?
I have 3 nights at Granite Park the 1st week in September. I haven't seen what the rules will be there.
That kitchen gets pretty crowded during breakfast and dinner even though they space out meal prep times.
Same for the dining area where people tend to gather 'round the wood stove for chatting.
While I've always enjoyed yakking with people at Granite Park in the past, I'm perfectly happy being "alone".
So as long as they'll be open for business, I believe I'll do OK.

As for your 3 day hikes:
Medicine Grizzly will be a nice one for you. It's pretty flat terrain all they way in.
It's worth the effort to go all the way to the head of the lake imo.
You aren't like;y to see many people unless you stop by the Atlantic Creek CG.

The Huckleberry Mt is well worth doing imo.
Not much to see for the first 2/3's of the hike. Great views after that(once past the saddle about mid way, especially at the lookout.
Great views looking up the North Fork all the way to Canada if weather is good.
Last year there were lots of flies at the lookout. Tolerable though.
Popular hike so there will be other people. Go early and beat the heat. 8)
One other time there were mosquitos for the first 2-3 miles which is a "jungle walk".
Take plenty of water. Considerable elevation gain and NO water on the trail unless you find some old snow(depending on time of year).

Not done Otokomi. I hear it's pretty boring with nothing to see until you get to the lake.
My buddy Andy at Sportsman's SkiHaus in Whitefish says fishing is good at the lake.
(Andy is a good resource for those of you who like fishing)

Cheers and lets hope this social distancing nonsense abates SOON!

pete :wink:
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And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am

PeteE wrote:I have 3 nights at Granite Park the 1st week in September. I haven't seen what the rules will be there.
That kitchen gets pretty crowded during breakfast and dinner even though they space out meal prep times.
Same for the dining area where people tend to gather 'round the wood stove for chatting.

I haven't seen where they've shared what the rules for the kitchen will be - I'm curious. They did say they wouldn't be firing up the woodstove, to discourage people from hanging out there.

PeteE wrote:The Huckleberry Mt is well worth doing imo.
Not much to see for the first 2/3's of the hike. Great views after that(once past the saddle about mid way, especially at the lookout.
Great views looking up the North Fork all the way to Canada if weather is good.
Last year there were lots of flies at the lookout. Tolerable though.
Popular hike so there will be other people. Go early and beat the heat. 8)
One other time there were mosquitos for the first 2-3 miles which is a "jungle walk".
Take plenty of water. Considerable elevation gain and NO water on the trail unless you find some old snow(depending on time of year).

I'm leaning towards this as my first choice if I have to replace Sperry - it's probably too ambitious for R to do, so might as well try to knock it out this year. I'm looking for slightly more populated hikes. I know from Triple Divide that I probably won't see too many people on the way to Medicine Grizzly, and I was also thinking I'd like to do that hike early in the season instead of August when I imagine the wildflowers would be better.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby paul » Tue May 12, 2020 11:43 am

Doesn't Granite Park Chalet have dormatory style sleeping quarters? How would people social distance while sleeping in a dorm?
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby al_in_al » Tue May 12, 2020 11:57 am

The rooms all have bunk beds, but aren't really considered dorms - you only room with people in your same party. They don't put you with strangers (it's not like the Phantom Ranch dorms, for example). They will be treating each booking party as a unit who are allowed to interact with each other during their stay.
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Re: Thinking Out Loud for 2020

Postby PeteE » Tue May 12, 2020 12:45 pm

al_in_al wrote:The rooms all have bunk beds, but aren't really considered dorms - you only room with people in your same party. They don't put you with strangers (it's not like the Phantom Ranch dorms, for example). They will be treating each booking party as a unit who are allowed to interact with each other during their stay.


True about the sleeping arrangements. I'm still concerned about how they're going to handle eating breakfast and dinner.

Conceivably, they could extend the mealtime hours to something like 0500-0800 and 1700-2000. Seating at the tables would be handled like sleeping rooms. Sit with your own party. Pray for weather good enough to take your meal outside and utilize those tables.

They might also limit meals to just "backpacking" type meals like Mountain House that only require boiling water. That would minimize time spent in the kitchen. And that would also minimize/eliminate much of the dishwashing and garbage cleanup. Not ideal but doable imo
I know I could live with that scheme for 3-4 days.

Just a thought.

I'm hoping for this "social distancing" farce to end before I get there on September 2nd for 3 nights. 8)

pete :wink:

After I posted, I found this info from Kevin that he posted yesterday May 11th:
http://www.graniteparkchalet.com/whatsnew.php
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