Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rocky Mountain Sunburn

Dear Rocky Mountain National Park,

You are beautiful and awesome, and I love spending time with you.  However... Please tell your buddy The Snow to go home already.  It's frickin' JUNE, dude.  June.

I can see he's making an effort.  The rivers are all swollen and flooded and raging like they SHOULD this time of year.  But as far as I can tell, he hasn't actually gotten his ass in gear, and it's time for The Snow to go.

Wasn't actually planning to cross this particular river... When I got to the bridge, I was all, WTF? I don't recognize this bridge...

Yeah.  Went the wrong way on a trail that I've been on about a million times.  Just goes to show you that you really really should never have me lead an expedition, and you can pretty much count on me being wrong EVERY time I guess a direction.

The Snow turns into a furnace when it's all sunny and June weathery out.  How does that even work?  If I'm sweating (I mean "glowing") like  a pig, how does the snow not melt immediately?  It was probably in the 70's, and your couch surfer friend was STILL sticking around.

And can you say reflected light?

So, just so you know, I am pretty damned white.

I have the kind of skin that will bleach out like a vampire if I hide from the sun for a couple of years, so white you can see blue veins underneath.

Contrary to common belief, though, I can actually tan very well.  If I do it right.  If I let myself burn, it just peels and then pasty white comes out again in a few weeks.  If I put on SPF5000 every time I am in the sun, I will brown up like a perfectly roasted marshmallow in a month or two.

Trick is remembering to apply said sunblock.

Which I forgot.

I know, I know, it isn't YOUR fault, but I could feel my skin getting ready to curl after about 10 minutes on The Snow.

It was easy to see why I went the wrong way, right?  We were headed towards Loch Vale, but we were on the Glacier Gorge trail, which is different from the Bear Lake trail.  SO, when I looked at this sign, I thought, "Bear Lake is the WRONG way," and then I saw the word "Glacier" on the bottom one and was too damned lazy to read the whole thing.

One day I am going to be stranded in the wilderness and end up eating my arms to survive.

Luckily, some random hikers who passed us and we passed and passed us several times took pity and let us borrow some sunblock.  But it was totally not cool for The Sun and The Snow to gang up on me like that.

And do you know how hard it is to WALK on semi-firm/slushy/ha-ha-just-kidding-there's-a-stream-under-there snow?

Well, it's hard.

I brought trekking poles because I am not a COMPLETE dumbass, but it's really difficult to use trekking poles and have easy access to your camera at the same time. And I wanted to take pictures.

I am a little enamored with my BRAND SPANKING NEW CAMERA.


I compromised.  I used one pole.

That way, I would lack the stability of two, and it would still be inconvenient to use the camera.  Brilliant.  And again, not your fault, I know.

But if it hadn't been for The Snow, I might have just gone without.

See how optimistic I look?  I look like a GIRL ON THE GO.  I even have some fancy new hiking duds this year.  And Alberta Falls in the background there is REALLY impressive this time of year, if you are into that natural beauty stuff.

What you can't see from this picture is that about 15 feet in front of me, the trail becomes a slushy, muddy, snow-drift covered adventure.

Boyfriend and I were VERY CAREFUL to follow the signs the rest of the day.  But look at this picture.  Look at the so-called trail, here, RMNP.

Yeah.  Your buddy, The Snow again.  About four feet deep.

The ranger told us that Mills lake was inaccessible right now because a bridge was out.

We got to the Loch an I was all, "Gee, uh."

I usually go to this lake because the surface is like a mirror more often than  not.  It is not unusual to get a stunning photo of the mountains reflecting in the water.

But your buddy was in the way.

I don't know why I was surprised that the lake was still partially frozen.  That extra 500 feet from the trailhead must make a difference.  Who knew?

What is this, Alaska?  Look at that frickin' snow!  It's like a glacier or something.

We had lunch and sat there for a while, more exhausted after three miles than I would like to admit.

Please, Rocky, please.  Tell The Snow to go home.  Up North somewhere, whatever. That way we can hang out more.


I guess the lake is OK.


hoodyhoo said...

THIS is why I don't go outside.

Leauxra said...

hoodyhoo, are you saying that I didn't sell this walk? Dang.

Julia said...

Alberta is sooooo stunning! But I can assure you I would not survive the winter...The fact you used the word "SNOW" 10 times in this post (and by 10 i mean- I think 10 because my daughter is chirping in my ear and I can't do two things at a time)... means that Alberta and I will not get along... and don't you have Grizzly's? Come to Ontario even in the north the snow is gone... and its still beautiful!

Leauxra said...

Actually, I'm in Colorado, but hiked near Alberta Falls. I am pretty sure Alberta, Canada is much colder than here.

And I am sorry, I didn't mean to traumatize you with my constant references to "Snow". :)

Leauxra said...

Oh, and I don't think there are any grizzlies here... But there are black bears and mountain lions and coyotes and elk and moose.

Julia said...

That just proves that you are a much better direction-eer then I am... I get lost backing out of my driveway...And you can still move to Ontario... We are still warmer! :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics!

I always forget sunblock. And even when I remember it, I never seem to put enough on my nose. Probably because I, too, sweat...glow...like a pig.

Sandra said...

Well the scenery is breathtaking, despite the fact that it's June, and yeah, snow should be outlawed, or at the very least melted by some machine that the park rangers get to use.
As for tanning on the snow, I have my own experiences, spring skiing in BC when I was a teen. My left ear peeled off completely from the burn...I keep hoping it will grow back some day...

Leauxra said...

Julia: I think everyone who knows me would LAUGH and LAUGH if they heard someone was worse at directions than I am. We should have a contest to see who the worst direction-eer is! And give out prizes!! If, that is, anyone can figure out how to get there...

thoughtsappear: glowing really does cause problems with sun block. And DEET. Who ever heard of mosquitoes AND snow? Jerk mountains.

Sandra: I was just talking about getting everyone together with the hair driers up there... and then I remembered I don't own a hair drier. I am not very good at being a girl.

Also, I wonder if you can splice on a new ear with some CLONEX... Then you could steal, say, your cat or dog's ear (or child's? maybe your neighbours' kid's ear, whatever) and claim it for your own. Just a thought.

Julia said...

Deal... Where exactly is Colorado? I'll be there, if I can' find my way! My husband always says "YOu couldn't find your way out of a wet paper bag with a map, a sign saying this way out, and a shirpa"... and that my dear is a true story!!