Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ptarmigan Tunnel (GNP, July 31st/2011)

Here’s a quick trip report from yesterday’s hike to Ptarmagin Tunnel. K and I, along with little N. made the return trip in 6.5 hours. Despite my list-mania ambitions, this was our first real hike in the Rockies this year with the baby backpack. We were somewhat hesitant about hiking in bear country with the little man (the park trail status report included a notice about a bear frequenting the area about a week back). Thought it over and decided to give it a go. We took the regular precautions - we each had bear spray and hollered every few minutes along the trail. It would’ve been preferrable to be part of a larger group, but the good thing about the Iceberg lake trail is that it is so popular and crowded that a lot of the time we were either tailgating others or being tailgated, so in effect we were often hiking as a group of 6 or more. Once past the turnoff to Ptarmigan Tunnel there were less people, but it was still pretty crowded.

The little shrimp likes being carried in the back pack and enjoyed seeing the people passing us in the opposite direction. He was continuously pointing at the people, mountains and trees - all the while babbling away in his gobby-dee-gook baby gibberish. Of course, he let out the loudest holler when a mountain chipmunk popped up close by at the tunnel! I dunno if the cliffs were directing his squeal, but I don’t think I’ve heard him scream that loud in excitement before.

Weather was great and views were awesome. No issues with snow crossings, which are basically just at the base of a couple of snow chutes and located just past the lake. Once up at the tunnel, a lady mentioned to us that you could see Mount Merritt and the old Sun Glacier if you hiked a short ways down the other side… Mount Merritt - being on the list - we had to go check it out! Made it back by 5:30 and had supper at the Italian restaurant at the Motor Inn to cap off a perfect day.

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