Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pika Pika

We had the grand fortune of happening across the mighty Pika, a tiny little rodent which looks like a cross between a mouse and a rabbit. Once we discovered what these creatures were, and what they looked like, the fact that Pikachu is so called Pikachu makes perfect sense! Luckily we weren’t subjected to a thundershock. They tend to live in rocky habitats, and are unfortunately endangered. We first found out that we may find one at Grand Teton, and had hoped to see it then. No luck there, and no luck at Yellowstone, so the thought had left our minds. It was only after Dan and I talked about a hypothetical MMO World of Pokémon (for 20 minutes) that Dan spotted the Pika amongst the rocky cliffs, adjacent to St. Mary Lake. Coincidence? I think not! As Dan was focusing in on a shot of the critter, he declined us battle and instead used Run.

July 28th

I have no idea what day of the week it is anymore. I have to check my phone/laptop to figure it out. That’s what vacation does to you doesn’t it? We woke up nice and early to get a good start on the day. After filling our gullets of all you can eat pancakes, we left the campground and set off for the Two Medicine Trailhead, in Southern Glacier. This place was way out of the way, but the drive was a fun little diddy full of twists and turns. If you don’t enjoy driving right beside cliffs with no guardrails, I suggest you don’t attempt to come here. The hike was somewhat of a beginner difficulty, which was probably related to the fact that nearly every party we passed was a family, and no one our age. We passed prime moose habitat, yet no actual moose could be found. As we climbed in elevation, the wet terrain became a typical mountain forest. A few miles up and we reached the top, a scenic overlook viewing the mountains and the trees below. A nice little pit-stop, but not really worth going forty-five minutes out of our way. On our way back down the trail, we took an offshoot which led to a little waterfall. This was a really pretty scene, with evidence of it not being visited often. Once we got in the car, we decided to stop for lunch. Within the past few days we had seen many a sign for Huckleberry Pie. What is this you ask? Well I can’t tell you, because I have never had huckleberry anything before. I asked people where to find the best piece of pie around here, and they suggested Park Café. This is where we stopped for lunch, but they had no huckleberry pie! We were lied to, and I was deeply saddened. But the fish tacos we ate were some of the most delicious ones we had ever had, so that made up for the loss. Still having a void in my stomach for pie, I didn’t know what to do. Dan ordered a Moose Moss milkshake, a whole bunch of chocolate delights mixed into mint chocolate ice cream. I got the equivalent in pie form. Our reviews were a combined, “Mmmmm” (accompanied with some drool on Dan’s part). Now we were off to see a triplet of waterfalls around St. Mary Lake.

The first waterfall was Baring Falls. Deep within the foliage, it was a nice sight for us to see. It wasn’t that tall, but it wasn’t short by any means. It was just right. The whole place was covered in the wondrous rocks that we found along the coast of the lake yesterday. At this altitude, the majority of the rocks were red, due to an abundance of oxygen exposure somewhere in their geological past. As we pressed on, we passed a lot of individuals wearing Life is good t-shirts. Dan didn’t notice but I saw each and every one. I had never before seen so many of the shirts worn in one day, it was a new record. I was sad that I didn’t wear mine. The next waterfall we ventured to was St. Mary Falls. This little beauty was not covered by the shadows of trees, but exposed to the beautiful rays of the setting sun. There was a bridge that we crossed to get to opposing sides of the water. The way the beams of light shot out from the rocks really emphasized the serenity of this place. Not to mention this water was pristine turquoise. We have yet to find out why it is this color. Probably something to do with glacial snowmelt, or minerals, or both, or something else. The final falls in the trifecta were Virginia Falls. These falls covered the most ground, as they were a series of small to medium size falls. A lot of groups congregated at this place to admire the peaceful aura given off by the environment. After a bit, we headed back to our car. Along the way, this is when we spotted the elusive Pika. Almost by our car, we traversed up some large rocks and viewed the lake one last time. It was really windy up here, and it was a cold wind too. A diagram showed the horizon in front of us, labeling which mountain was which. As we entered the parking lot, we happened across a female mule deer. Now with our car in sight, we spotted a second female deer, just hangin out, eating some browse. After a moment, the two individuals approached each other. I thought they would be friends, but that’s not what happened. The ears of the bigger individual were pressed against its head and it scared off the other deer. Apparently these were good feeding grounds, maybe. Quite a good day for viewing wildlife, Gotta Catch ‘Em all.

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