Sunday, September 06, 2015

Goodbye July Stop the Last!

We finally come to the last stop on on Goodbye July series. We ended our vacation in a most beautiful and unique place: Glacier National Park. A year or more of planning came together for this week of family fun. Our family, along with Heather and Rob and mom and dad Severson arrived a day early to Glacier River Ranch, a mystical location that apparently Google Maps could find, but Siri could not... so my siblings with iPhones had a heck of a time figuring out where we all were. Only a location beacon from mom or dad led the Reeves to the right turn... Everyone arrived eventually by Monday afternoon and we all got settled in to the cabin and guest house.  We were going to drive the Going to the Sun Road, but when we started Eva, there was a funny noise and a funny smell... not a good thing when you're on a road trip. Rob took a sniff and a glance and said he was pretty sure it was the alternator. Yippie. Then we got to play the odds of "Can the almost broken down car make it to the shop?" game. Odds were in our favor and the car made it to the shop. Great start to our last stop... After taking the car in, Rob drove us on the Going to the Sun Road. We took in the sights and found our starting place for our Heaven's Peak adventure. 

Monday night, for our opening Family Home Evening, we enjoyed "Singing with the Seversons," a name that tune game celebrating the Seasonal, Silly, Situational, Spiritual, and School Play songs that we have enjoyed over the years. At the end, Heather, Abbie, Emma, and I sang a song we wrote...well, a song we parodied... the "I Lava You" song from the Pixar short became "Memories of Love with our family..."

Tuesday was adventure in Glacier day! Our family divvied up and took the extra seats in other family's cars (remember Eva is stuck in the shop with a bad alternator...). We hiked out to Avalanche Lake, loving the scenery and enjoying playing in the water... and the mud! I had to re-create the mud club from Larry's field trip :) Even Nana joined in the fun by striping her cheek with mud from the lake! The fishermen got carried away with the beauty of the mountain lake and stream and almost missed lunch! 


After a lovely hike, we drove the Going to the Sun road again, all the way to the Logan Pass closure. We caravaned with the Reeves and stopped at some points of interest and learned about the road and the people who lived in Glacier during its construction. Yes, it gets chillier the farther you go up the mountain...
Tuesday night, Matt put together an evening of, you guessed it! Seversons Sing Along!  Apparently we are a singing family... shocker...One of my favorite moments of the evening was when everyone started singing the Phinneas and Ferb theme song and Nana just stared in amazement that we all knew a song she didn't :) 
ALL the little boys LOVED Uncle Rob! 

Wednesday was the day of crazy insane adventure! That was the day we hiked up Heaven's Peak. There is no trail up to Heaven's Peak. There's kind of a stream that goes some of the way up the mountain, then there's some beautiful meadows, then there's glaciers, then insane scree fields, then a looonnnggg ridge leading up and out to the peak. 
We started the day quite early with Rob, Jon, Abbie, Emma, Hannah, Dawna, Matt, Luke, and myself. Our merry party of nine parked and scurried across the river, stashed our water shoes in the bushes, and began the long journey up the mountain.  It was a beautiful piece of nature practically untouched by people. Apart from an occasional cairn by the river, there were no signs of people at all! Walking, then climbing along the river, then fighting though brush... on and on the hike went. Several times, Uncle Rob had to get out some webbing to assist us less confident climbers up over a ledge. Finally, after several hours, we got to some beautiful meadows and the hiking was much easier for a time. There were wild onions all along the river, which we enjoyed picking and munching along the way.  
Somewhere around 1pm we finally reached the glaciers that were melting, creating the mountain streams that we had followed up the mountain. The location was beyond description beautiful. Nature so pure and beautiful. Ice, rocky ridges, and pure water streams. We played in the frozen wonderland and enjoyed a little lunch there. Matt and Luke decided to turn back at that point, but Jon and Rob really wanted to push forward to try to summit. 
I was doubtful, but agreed to push forward a little longer. We reached the scree fields and tried to scramble up them. It was successful for a time, but soon, we were sliding three feet backwards for every step forwards.  Rather unsettling... We called this part "Sketchy #1," meaning that it was a little frightening and we were a little unsure that we could traverse it safely. Jon and Rob went ahead and secured a rope at the top of the scree field, then threw the rope down to us girls and we then we all made it to the base of the crevice that would lead us to our final ascent! Jon and Rob scrambled up the crevice like two lithe and limber mountain goats, but Abbie, Emma, Hannah, Dawna, and I just sat watching and shaking our heads. That was Sketchy #2. Atop the ridge, the boys found that it was quite narrow and steep and were a little nervous about bringing everyone up there. 

As we were trying to decide what to do, some large dark clouds began pouring over the edge of the peak.  No way we wanted to be out on that peak if a lightning storm was coming through. And that was Sketchy #3, at which point we called it and began heading back. 
Silly me, I thought with a 5 hour ascent to nearly the top of the mountain that going back down would certainly be faster. Little did I know the hardest part was yet to come...

The descent started off easily enough. Abbie and I hunted for white rocks and built a little temple high on the mountain top:
After passing the meadow, the slow arduous descending began. Around every edge was another waterfall and another cliff.  I kept thinking I would recognize the terrain we were passing by, but I never did. It felt like a completely different adventure on the way down. Somehow, we had to bushwhack through some pine trees, after which Rob had to straddle a waterfall to help the rest of us across. While we were still stuck in the trees, we heard Rob slip, splash, and scream. All us girls feared that we had lost Uncle Rob over the edge of the waterfall!! But then we heard him shout, "AWWGH!!! My foot is wet!" Whew. Just a wet foot, not a lost uncle. 

All us girls were at out wits ends by the time we arrived at the last waterfall, so we took a celebratory dip:
Almost there... now we just had to go through the old growth to get back across the river to the car. Unfortunately, we veered a little too far right and ran into a LOT of thorny underbrush. Yick. Just when we thought we were finished, we had one last thorny pokey push and reroute. The hike down took about 6 hours in all. We were cold, tired, hungry, and SO ready for a shower by the time we got back. But at the end of the day, I think I would like to go back someday and try again to summit. 

Thursday was rafting day! We went rafting in two sessions because of the size of our group. Jon and I and our three older kids were in the second group, so we spent the morning doing monkey fists and carving soap and soap stone. Then we had an enjoyable float down the river and it felt good on our sore muscles to jump in the cool water. By the time we floated back to the cabin, Sarah and Ben had the best dinner of the week ready for us! Roasted pork and and carrot and chick pea salad. So yum.

Friday, the group split up. Most people went into the park to explore a little more, but between my sprained ankle and extremely sore muscles, I didn't want to go anywhere. Jon headed into the park to run, I stayed and did more crafts and got to witness Dawna and Hannah each catch a fish! Lucky for us, Emily was there and cooked up the fish and we all enjoyed a couple bites apiece.   Those fish may or may not have been legal to keep. They may or may not have been a very rare species of fish protected by Montana law. Nobody can prove anything because the fish have been consumed :)
Saturday was just a day to pack and clean and say teary good-byes to our dearest uncles aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins. And then Rob cheered us up by treating the rafters like monkey bars. Nice finishing touch. 
We drove away from Glacier River Ranch about 10am. And we drove and we drove and we drove and we drove. We kept thinking maybe we'd stop... but then we drove a little further... and then around midnight we were already in Redding, so we just finished up the drive and arrived home around 5am. We all rolled into bed and slept the day away. 

Thus ended our Goodbye July. What an adventure. Now I am completely ready to stay home, get into a routine, and never leave again. 

Until next time...

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At September 06, 2015 11:12 PM , Blogger Brooke Evans said...

Excuse me, where is the picture of your mother with mud on her face?

At September 06, 2015 11:15 PM , Blogger Jonathan said...

Success, she stated in writing that she would be willing to try to climb Heaven's Peak again. You are all my witnesses.


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