Ben: Today was our first day waking up on the west side of the Rockies. We had lunch on the edge of a small cliff that had a great view of Hidden Lake. Since Hidden Lake’s water is glacial runoff, the water was a teal blue from the glacial “flour,” which forms as the glaciers crush the rocks to a fine powder. There was a chipmunk that would crawl on our boots looking for food.
After lunch, as we started hiking back down the mountain, we saw a female mountain goat with twins, which our guide said was very rare. (I named the goat Georgina the Jumping Goat! I like to name all the animals I see, so I named the grizzly bear that we saw earlier in the week Benny the Bounding Bear!) The mother was still losing her winter fur, so it looked like she had a ripped coat on. I wanted to go cuddle with the babies, but I doubt their mother would have appreciated that. As I was passing a grove of trees, I saw some snagged goat hair, which I stuffed into my pocket.
It was pretty hard getting up the mountain in the snow because we kept
slipping, but the way down was awesome. We each got in a bag and
sledded down the steep slope. Once I accidentally did Somersault
backwards down the mountain! On the way back to our hotel, we saw a
bull moose wading in a river, which I deemed Manny the Maniacal Moose!
We were at 6,640 feet when we finally saw six mountain goats and two bighorn sheep.
The temperature was 50 to 60 degrees, but dropped to be much cooler at night. They were losing their winter fur because it’s summer now. But in the winter they need their heavy, winter fur because the temperatures drop to 20 to 30 degrees below zero, with snowfall of more than 20 to 30 feet deep! The mountain goats had babies that were born in April but were a already pretty big. There were lots of beautiful creeks and lakes on our hike. We hiked to one called Hidden Lake–all the way through snow. Our guides brought garbage bags for my new friends and me to sled on. It was so much fun! I went down the snow-covered hill at least ten times!
The trail was so awesome…people of all ages and skill levels attempted this wonderful hike. We had a picnic lunch overlooking a very scenic lake that looked crystal blue from a distance. The hike was around three miles round-trip. I felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest. You had to step very carefully or fall down. The lake had large chunks of ice even though it was in the middle of July. This was my favorite place so far on the trip because we got to play in six feet of snow. That is as deep as my dad is tall. We also had an exciting, but cold and painful, snowball fight (we packed the snow real tight). It was a great day!