A bartender's guide to Glacier

Well, tell us how your trip went. We all want to hear about your special experience.

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby teapot57 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:15 pm

You took it totally different than I did. I thought they meant there was a bear on the road on the way in and the road wasn't closed, so why was the trail closed because of a bear! I guess either way, it is still funny. :P


Well that very well could be what they meant! The insistent tone they used would work with either interpretation. You are right, funny either way. :)
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:33 pm

Teapot. Thank you. Yeah, I can't imagine that walk, so it was interesting to hear the reports on her progress...and that the group behind her with an extra pair of shoes either never caught her, or she didn't want them (didn't fit?). When you bring up Jen, I was going to ask that you relay to her that I have a new report out there, but it seems she's been reincarnated. Hmmm. Good to hear. So yeah, the people in Glacier are interesting.

Pete, we were too busy sharing golf stories or whatever else we were talking about. I never thought about bringing up some old man injury. Belly flopping on tar is definitely a young man's sport.

So, I'll be a little slow on the next report. I'm in the middle of a roofing project and I found a number of rotted boards after stripping the deck clean. Yesterday I found a serious lack of insulation in one corner of the house. Each "find" sets me back a number of hours.

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:33 pm

6/21/18 Thr, St. Mary/Virginia Falls. Started Beautiful, Ended with an Asswhoppin’ in Cribbage

Classic Glacier Beauty, why settle for more?

The Campsite

So Julie has been perfectly content sitting in her hammock reading a book. That is, when it’s not raining. We put up a pretty elaborate tarp system right off the bat due to a leak in the tent on the first night. We had a 12’x12’ cover for the picnic table, and Pete chipped in a tarp for our tent. Firewood was in a Tupperware (more thanks to Pete), and booze in the ancient bear box. The cooler was in the newer bear box over by the head.

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Photos by Julie

The plan for today was simply St. Mary and Virginia Falls. This has been our “go-to” hike when the weather is hot, but this year it was sunny and perfect temps.

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We got an early start but not crazy early. So first stop was the turnout to the hotel.

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And then on the way out of Dodge.

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Then it was a stop along the highway at a spot we’ve never stopped. What is this, lower St. Mary Lake? What a spot to have a house, eh?



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Photo by Julie

So, we followed the typical plan: a slow drive on GTTS Road, a stop at Wild Goose-Me Island, a stop at Sun Rift Gorge, and park at St. Mary Fall parking lot. “Oh, I gotta make a stop at loo,” so back down the road before turning around again to park.

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The Hike

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We meandered slow with stops along the way for photos.

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I ran into another gear head (a guy loaded for bear with photo gear like me), but the wives talked to each other and the guys were glued to their viewfinders. Well, more or less, We talked a bit about mirrorless cameras.


St. Party Falls

Over the years, I’ve seemed to have shot this thing about every way I can think of. I’ve climbed to the top, shot from the bridge, and shot from the rocks, but today I decided to play with long exposures and short.

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Long

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Short


The bridge started to fill in with people and a few kept eyeing my spot on the rocks like kids wanting to make a breakfast waffle at a Comfort Inn, so I folded up the tripod and we headed uphill to Virginia. As they say, going nowhere fast.

Hey Virginia

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The spray coming off the falls was enough to cause a light rain down by the bridge. People were urging me (with a half-ass grin) to head up to the upper viewing area, but I knew better. Maybe with a waterproof camera.

I was going to post the whole day as B&W, but there were a couple photos that worked much better as color.

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We spotted a deer that was really having a hard time, and was panting even though the temps were not that hot. In this bear-eat-deer world, I have a feeling this one wasn’t going to last long. Maybe I’m wrong.

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On the way home we decided to swing by Duck Lake Campground. There was no one around and the entrance road was rough. The lake is beautiful, but the campground seems to be setup for people with RVs who like to fish. The campsite slant towards the lake (did I mention it’s beautiful), and it looks like one loo.

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Long term residence of the campground.

We were checking out the carcass, and guy walked over and said, “Bodacious cowboys” and nodded to Julie, “such as your friend will never be welcome here, high in the Custerdome.” I retorted, “Hey Julie, quit being so bodacious.” Ok, I’m just joking around since I have a Steely Dan song in my head, although it was spooky quiet, along with the claustrophobic road, and a rack of bones didn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

-Today’s steps: 15550.

Ass Whoppin’

Back at camp, Julie and I fired up some cribbage, or I should say, she fired up serious cribbage and I got slaughtered. We played a lot of cribbage this trip and Julie (for the most part) had the hands. This is where a “Jay crib” started to describe a zero or two point crib, while Julie is having great hands and 16 point cribs. “All skill” of course. Well, I have to admit that she has an uncanny ability to get the cut she calls.

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Julie’s crib (photo by Julie of course)

As we’re playing, I give a slight head nod and Julie looks behind her. There’s Bullwinkle. She had time to get out her phone, fire it up, and take a few pics, but the light was low. Shutter speeds were slow and the pictures have an artistic blurr.

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Photos by Julie

Tonight’s Cocktail

You can see tonight’s cocktail. I’ll have to fill in details later.

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Photo by Julie

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby daveparker » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:54 pm

Boy I am glad to see that Deb and I are not the only ones that still play cribbage!

Of course she pretty much whips my butt every single time, it is still fun, been playing since I was about 7 years old and just continued because I didn't know any better!

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:41 am

Dave, yeah, it's a great game. It doesn't require too much attention, so you can have good conversations. It requires some skill, but luck is certainly a factor.

So, as promised....

Today’s Cocktail: The Hanmattan

This one is a standard at our family gatherings, so much so that we don’t even specify that it’s a brandy manhattan. Also, we don’t quibble about brandy; EJ or Christian Brothers is fine. The sweet vermouth is a much larger factor in taste and we’ve (the family) has been very utilitarian by using Tribuno. Vermouth is a rabbit hole like Scotch, and we’ve naively(?) picked a cheap one with acceptable taste.

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The standard recipe is 2:1 brandy:vermouth and then a splash of bitters (to give a smoky taste) and a cherry (and cherry juice to sweeten).

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From that standard recipe has come my personal twist. I tend to cut back on the vermouth, more like 3 or 4-to-1 rather than 2-to-1. I also like to add a splash of Grand Marnier to replace the cherry and cherry juice and skip the bitters. The Grand Marnier adds a complexity to the after taste and cherries don’t fare well after a few days sitting in hooch. (Call that experience from previous camping trips.)

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The final product.

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Today:

Hike: 1
Photos: 139
Moose: 1
Dead horse: 1
Griz: 0
Orangutans: 0
Wildebeests: 0
Giraffes: 0

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby TnTammy » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:31 am

Jay,
Really enjoying your trip report!

So much character in your photos (and Julie’s). I’ve already rifled back thru those a couple of times because I like the textures and composition. Julie’s sky from your drive out was incredible. Your trees are, as ever, so interesting. Really digging this year’s B&W’s!

Must admit those stream crossings on the Cracker Lake hike would have given me pause. Some fast flow there. Imagine slippy rocks too...good on you for reaching the prize.

Always like to see pics of Camp (Homeaway).
Nice tall dark & handsome bullwinkle there. :)
Looking forward to the next chapter!
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby tibber » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:56 am

Virginia Falls, while a looker, is always a challenge to get good photos of without spotting up your lens. I like your B&W photo. Virginia Falls is one I'll never forget as my friend was trying to get a good picture from the side with me in it, but in it was where I ended up as my foot slipped and I went into the drink with one knee. A bit frightening for sure as the whirling/rushing water is a bit intimidating, but once I composed myself I was able to get out easily. Moral of the story is when a person says a little to the left in Glacier Park, be sure to watch where you're stepping.

Now THAT "...hattan" I think I could drink.
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby PeteE » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:38 pm

Jay and Julie are two of the nicest, funniest people I've ever met.
( EDIT ADD-Said with some trepidation since I've met so many wonderful folks from the chat)
And I would bet anything that everyone who's met them would agree.
This was at the Many Glacier Hotel June 18th during the 3 days of close to 24/7 rain.
These two beat me like a drum at cribbage. My excuse is I had never played 3 handed! 8)
Love ya!
Y'all were the highlight of the season for me. :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:
pete :wink:

Crappy selfie but if you look carefully, I think you'll get a idea of who these two are... :mrgreen:
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby teapot57 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:37 pm

:D

I MUST meet Jay and Julie next time they are in the Park! Unfortunately, my trip to Italy coincided with their last visit.

Jay, that photo of the colorful rocks and glacier silt blue water would not have been done justice in black and white, so I can see why you changed your mind about that.

How many more days do we have left? Looking forward to more.
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:08 pm

Ugh, connection died on me.

TNTam, Tibber, Teapot (the T's), thanks. I appreciate the comments. They help me stay on task. Pete, you made us laugh, and right back at cha. We love having you around.

I count 9 more days, so I hope to have the report done by Thanksgiving.

6/22/18 Fri, Grinnell Glacier (sort of)
---------------------------------

NPS Getting Details Wrong

When I see something designed wrong, it bothers me. Often, it’s easier to do things right, and a good design certainly makes life easier for the user. So as we walked around the campground, we saw some el primo campsites empty. If you have a choice of two or three campsites in the whole campground, imagine one those empty with a reserved tag on it. That’s the net effect of the on-line reservation system. All I can think is someone who never spends any time at the campground makes decisions like this. If you “win the computer lottery” it easy to make a reservation. It’s hard to actually show up at the campground on a specific day. This system makes no sense if the goal is to have campsites full.

I saw a survey a few years ago from the Birkie (a ski race in NW Wisconsin), and I was surprised to see the participant’s average or median family income was 150-200K. Basically two incomes at 75-100K each. I’ll bet Glacier visitors are similar, and so it should be no surprise that someone with a campsite reserved at $23 a night doesn’t think of a couple hundred bucks as a big loss if some other commitment comes up. The ranger we talked to said campers are “supposed to” call if they plan on not showing. The rangers also have to keep the campsite open for two days before allowing someone else to occupy it. So the first question is, what telephone number do you call and how easy is it to find that number? The second question is, why not just skip the computer lottery and give the sites to first-come-first-served?

The other thing I saw, was…well it seemed that the ranger talked for 15-20 minutes to each car they’d check into the campground. Meanwhile, the folks in line are stressing out about getting a site and if they get a site, setting up quickly so they can actually hike that day. The look on their faces spoke volumes. Can’t the ranger check in everyone quickly, and then go site-to-site and inform the campers of all the possible ways to be stupid? (Please leave your coolers out, leave food on the picnic tables, keep a candy bar in your tent in case you get hungry, etc.)

Ok, today’s hike is number 3 of the big three.

Have Ice Ax, Will Travel

So the plan for today was to head up to Grinnell Glacier. I figured once I got over the big snow field, the rest of the climb was pretty easy. Fortunately, the good thing about an ice axe is you don’t need any self-arrest skills to use them. Simply having one sticking out of pack gives you permission to walk beyond the boundary ropes. As you can guess, I have limited experience with using an axe, and I’ve never slipped and required the axe to perform its life-saving duty.

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From yesterday’s Manhattan picture, you might have spotted my microspikes, so yeah, I was getting ready the night before. No, not by drinking, but practicing putting on the spikes.

Dead Moose Detour

A griz got a baby moose, so the normal route from the Grinnell Glacier trailhead to the boat junction was closed. Julie dropped me off by the hotel, and it’s been quite a few years since I’ve been on the Josephine trail starting at the hotel.

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I’m sure I’ve seen this residence, but I don’t remember it

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The Morning Eagle was originally the Big Chief and was on Swiftcurrent. It was moved to Josephine and renamed in the early 1960s. The boat is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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For the color fans, I left the last photo (above) as color

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Rag Doll

Once at the snowfield, I put on pants and a wind breaker, so that in a slide, I’d at least tear up some fabric before skin. The trek across the snow was slow: ice axe, kick step, kick step, repeat. I went around the lower side of “the big rock” (much safer) even though that was through vegetation. (I know.) The snow crossing was easy and at this point, I figured it was a cake walk for the rest of the hike.

Within a few hundred feet, I hit a steep chute and started talking to myself. I’m sure I can make it across this thing. If I slide, it’ll be quick acceleration, then some dirt and rocks will send me into a cartwheel before flying off a cliff. I’m sure the trip to Cut Bank in Bear 1 will be a good story, but how will I explain this to Ear Mountain? No, I can do this, you just need to kick in some deep steps. Well….I guess I should live to chase the dragon another day. I turned around and as they say in British Motorcycle manuals, assembly is the reverse of disassembly.

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Old 55. There’s another 40 feet of outrun on the left, and then a rough landing.

Within a few days, I ran into a guy in the Swiftcurrent Motel lobby talking about how he had hiked to Grinnell Glacier. His voice had the sound of bragging to me, but maybe not. I asked if he made it across the big snow field. “Yup, yada, yada.” I asked if he went below or above the big rock. There were words, but not much of an answer. Then I asked about the steep chute and didn’t get much of an answer. After he left, an older Asian buy in the lobby thanked me. Apparently his BS meter was fluctuating too. He and Julie had good conversations on more than one evening and he was a cool dude.

Since my hike was a cut short and I had time to kill, I pointed towards Hidden Falls. I ran into a ranger (recognized the name, but don’t recall it now) and we talked about the trail to Peigan Pass. He made an indirect reference to my ice axe, so I told him about turning around at the steep chute. I said that if I slipped, I’d be a rag doll once I hit the dirt below the snow. First he thanked me for not crossing that field. “It’s 55 degrees.” Then he said that it’s interesting that you use the term rag doll. Then he told the story about the guy who slipped on that chute a couple years ago. All his friends heard was a yell and he was gone. When they recovered the body, rag doll was a good description.

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Close Encounter of the Moose Kind

When we got back to the campsite, a bunch of people had spotting scopes looking at Grinnell Point. “Seeing anything?” “No,” but they said a momma moose and its calf are behind the tent in the neighbor’s campsite. I grabbed my big lens and slowly headed for the tent. I crept up looking around but no moose. I turned around, and in the shade, no more than 15 feet from me the calf stirred. With my hand out, I’m apologizing (to the moose) for disturbing them and I backed out of the site. Mom was un-phased. Since I was so close, I didn’t attempt any photos.

Today:

Hike: 1
Photos: 108
Moose: 2
Griz: 0
Orangutans: 0
Wildebeests: 0
Giraffes: 0

-Steps: 31,232

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby mattB » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:01 pm

Thanks Jay, I'm Loving the trip report! The photo's are excellent as always, I really like a lot of the black and white ones, really dramatic!

On the campsite reservation system, I have mixed feelings.. If its all first-come-first-served it makes it really difficult to plan a trip, when you have no idea if you'll be able to get a campsite or not; and especially with as busy as the park is getting, and the fact that there are really very few alternative options...
On the other hand it really seems bad to have reserved campsites sitting empty when there are people in line waiting for a spot... Need to do something so there is more of a penalty for not using a reserved campsite and not cancelling. Maybe add a $100 deposit to each campsite reservation that is refunded when you check-in, and if you don't you lose the deposit. Or maybe a rule that if you don't check-in on your first night, you lose all the rest of your reservation, unless you coordinate with the rangers on the day of check-in (don't want to penalize people who can't get to the campground until after 9pm, or can't make it for the first night but will use the rest of their reservation)
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Deb1741 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:41 pm

mattB wrote:On the campsite reservation system, I have mixed feelings.. If its all first-come-first-served it makes it really difficult to plan a trip, when you have no idea if you'll be able to get a campsite or not; and especially with as busy as the park is getting, and the fact that there are really very few alternative options...
On the other hand it really seems bad to have reserved campsites sitting empty when there are people in line waiting for a spot... Need to do something so there is more of a penalty for not using a reserved campsite and not cancelling. Maybe add a $100 deposit to each campsite reservation that is refunded when you check-in, and if you don't you lose the deposit. Or maybe a rule that if you don't check-in on your first night, you lose all the rest of your reservation, unless you coordinate with the rangers on the day of check-in (don't want to penalize people who can't get to the campground until after 9pm, or can't make it for the first night but will use the rest of their reservation)


Yellowstone Park's No Show Policy is a little bit better. They only hold the campsite for one night.
"Confirmed reservations will be held for late arrival on the first night of your stay. If you fail to arrive or contact our reservations office by 10:00 am of the next day, your entire park reservation will be canceled and applicable cancellation fees applied."

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:02 pm

Thanks Matt.

Maybe a little background will help. I tried on a number of days to get a reserved campsite at MG. The first couple of attempts were on a weekend, since you have to attempt getting a site at 10am in the morning, exactly 6 months (as I recall) in advance of the opening.

No luck.

So then I tried on a holiday. No luck. Then I took off of work and tried a few times. So 10 am is 3.5 hrs into my work day. Still no luck. I used an international clock to make sure I was hitting the enter button on the exact second, but I can only imagine I'm up against at least 50 others, probably more. I also tried for a sh1tty site and no luck.

So IMHO, I think it's much harder to get a site at MG than it is to get one at Granite Park or Sperry (old days) because those spots would open periodically when people cancelled. Also, you don't want to spend two weeks at one of those (at $200 a night per person) but you would at MG (where as my friends says, at $23 a night they're actually paying you to stay). Also, all the reservations at MG seem to be made for two weeks, and once gone, people pretty much don't cancel (from what I've seen) or they move them through a secondary site or interpersonally. I probably tried 10 times. So if I have to make a campground reservation for MG, I'm essentially not going to MG.

Deb, it's interesting this is not an NPS policy, but local.

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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby teapot57 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:08 pm

Under “Facility Details” on the recreation.gov site for Many Glacier Campground it says:

“If arriving one or more days late, you are required to call (406) 732-7740 ext # 2 or (406) 732-7708. Your reservation will be forfeited if we do not hear from you within 24 hours of your scheduled arrival date.”

So if the campground hosts are following policy, campsites should not be staying empty for more than one night, unless I guess, the occupant calls to say they won’t be there for x number of nights. The Yellowstone language is better because it is more specific.

I was also unsuccessful with booking an MG campsite on the morning sites became available, but I had luck with picking up cancellations. I do agree that most people who get lucky securing a site on the morning it first becomes available tend to book for the full 2 weeks. But I have found that some people drop days as their plans become more concrete. The problem is that there are people (like me, I admit) obsessively checking the website for those cancellations and they disappear quickly. So finding them takes patience and diligence.

It’s the same in other Parks. Try getting a bus ticket for Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park. The whole season sells out within the first few seconds they open for reservation. Camping there is just as hard.
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Re: A bartender's guide to Glacier

Postby Jay w » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:13 pm

A teaser.

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