Episode Two : A collaboration of courage and creativity
The first outdoor adventure is under their belts, and Dan Macy and Greg Roberts continue on. The thirteen hour drive along highway 5 severely lacks in scenery and excitement. Without having showered for three days now, the car air freshener is tested to its limits. Fortunately, Greg has friends in the state of Oregon, and the two look forward to a relaxing and refreshing stop.
The first stop within the Oregon borders is made at Corvallis, at the home of Ben and Carmen Lawson. Greg and Carmen went to high school together, and despite the flaming dog incident, Carmen is still friends with Greg. The two arrive just shy of midnight to find themselves warmly welcomed by the Oregonians. Dan and Greg also meet up with another person, namely Jeremy Stribling, a.k.a. The Architect (or rather, the creator of this web site) [a.k.a. the most awesome person in the entire universe -- ed.]. Greg had not seen Jeremy since their days spent together in Vietnam jungle tours. It is an emotional experience, and the two reignite a blossoming friendship. The stay is pleasant, and the next morning they find themselves driving another hour north to the city of Portland to rendezvous with another of Greg’s friends, Janelle. Despite the other flaming dog incident, Janelle is also still friends with Greg, and she allows the two to crash on her apartment floor. Oh, and Jeremy ends up tagging along too.
Portland is a beautiful city, offering lovely riverside parks, welcoming outdoor cafes, and an odor-rich rose garden. Here, Greg and Dan are seen with Janelle at a Portland restaurant. The gentleman in the back right is the one, the only, the original, un-simulated, non-pasteurized, preservative free, Jeremy Stribling.
Chillin’ wit the homies in Portland, Oregon
The following day, Dan and Greg depart with their next great outdoor adventure ahead of them …
Destination: Glacier National Park, Montana
The drive from Portland to Glacier Park takes place on the Fourth of July. Feeling the need to celebrate the independence of this country, Dan’s head becomes the focal point for the day.
Dan’s celebratory cranium
Driving through small towns in north eastern Idaho, people hear of the coming of the two brave travelers and light up a plethora of welcoming fireworks. Dan and Greg appreciate the gesture, especially the colorful blast that spells out “USA”, an acronym for Utterly Sensational Adventurers. The entrance to the park is made at nightfall, and the last camp site at Fish Creek, just inside the park near West Glacier, is found with a little luck.
The following morning, the drive is made into the center of the park where inquiries are made about wilderness camping. The drive is spectacular as Dan and Greg make their way along Going-to-the-sun Road. The glaciers are melting all around them, and rivers and waterfalls are abound. Good one, Mother Nature, good one.
One of the many faces of Mother Nature
Some of the glaciers are very active and social glaciers. People are told not to feed them, but still they come very close. This glacier got a little curious about the travelers from California, and it comes down the mountain side to say: “Good morning, non-ice beings. I may be slow, but I’m not dim witted. Let’s party up in this piece, yo.” Unfortunately, Dan and Greg have no time to kick it with the glacier. Another time.
What up, glacier dude!
The wilderness center is reached and is filled with other potential backpackers. A site is reserved for Dan and Greg, for two nights at Red Eagle Lake, a location requiring a 7.6 mile hike. In order to acquire the necessary permit, a video must be watched, which is titled: “Bears are ferocious animals that will attack you in your sleep if you eat food because they can smell through your stomach.” Greg and Dan do not fear the wild, and they head out for the beginning of their hike, even without the suggested bear mace. “Going out to Red Eagle, are you?” says one of the locals. “Lotta bears out there, better have your bear mace.” Whatever.
The drive to the trail head is horrible and ugly and it sucks. Too many stupid mountains and forest and crap. Yuck.
"Really messed this one up, Mother Nature. Way to go.”
With loaded packs on their backs, Dan and Greg begin on their hike. As it turns out, the weather cannot be bribed with candy bars and cash money. Precipitation fills the air and the two must find ways to keep their gear dry. Dan straps his jacket to the back of his pack, and Greg wraps the tent’s rain cover around his. To his dismay, this causes Greg to closely resemble the dreaded Glacier National Park forest witch.
D and G with a cool-ass suspension bridge that they have to cross
The camp site is finally reached with sopping wet shoes, socks, pants and sore feet. Fortunately, the rain lets up upon their arrival, and the view is beautiful. Here is Dan at the edge of Red Eagle lake, just about twenty yards from our camp site. He is holding common tools for the backpacker, a swordfish catching rod and a Kung-fu fighting rod. Badass.
Red Eagle Lake and Dan Macy, together at last
Greg assimilated himself with nature by reproducing an ancient dance that has been done by generations of wilderness people: the robot.
Greg doing The Robot to the sound of nature
The next day is sunny and calls for a serious amount of adventuring. Looking across the lake, Greg and Dan see a small beach-like area that seams like a good destination. No trail exists, so the two must climb through thick forest brush. The two hike over rock and fallen trees, and they even wade through a river outlet and end up getting their bums a bit damp. After not long, though, the opposite side of the lake is reached, and the two relax with typical Glacier Park scenery.
Day packs, lake, mountains, and good times
With the sun out, the mountains are alive with vivid color. Dan and Greg find themselves very at peace with nature, a state only attainable by uprooting one’s daily habits and means of comfort, and really listening to the world. But the curiosity of the cat takes a nibble at the two adventurers not before long. With a view of a waterfall at the base of the mountain behind them, the two find themselves climbing upstream to get a better look. The entire river is covered with fallen trees, mostly brown and dead trees. It looks as though an avalanche not long before had swept some of the forest down the river bed. Here is Greg nearing the top of the edge of the river, the fallen trees and Red Eagle lake behind him.
Greg climbing up a fallen tree, in the bushes, out of a river bed of fallen trees with chunks of snow in the middle
Once the falls are reached, the two are elated. Dan finds himself overcome with a need to feel the cool snow melt.
Dan in the falls …. “Happy as a little girl.”
Not far down the river bed are large chunks of ice, remnants of gigantic ice-beasts long forgotten. As the tale goes, not a hundred years ago giant ice-beasts ruled the entire Glacier National Park. But they overcharged people to camp and stay in their forest. Soon the Canadians got upset because the ice-beasts wouldn’t exchange currency. Coming from the border at the edge of the park, they manufactured a tremendous attack that caught the ice-beasts when they were sleeping. Awakened by the roar of a thousand Canadians soldiers (mostly militia men and disgruntled fishermen), the ice-beasts leapt up to stand guard. Being ice-beasts, however, they moved horribly slow, like 6 inches per year, so the Canadians had no problem taking them down. Here is Dan surfing a piece of ice-beast.
Dan surfing a piece of glacier ice-beast down the river
The hike back to the camp around the other side of the lake is longer than anticipated. The two make it just before sundown, but, they are lucky enough to see a moose on the edge of the water drinking, not twenty yards from the trail. Way cool. The following day is put mostly towards getting back to the car, 7.6 miles away. The hike is tiring, blistering feet screaming for some rest, but the two push on with Red Eagle Lake behind them.
Dan, the mountains, glaciers and a meadow … with no stinking bears
Once on the road again the same day, Dan and Greg head south towards Wyoming …
... stay tuned for the next installment of this extraordinary journey, a look into the marvelous scenery of Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the dreaded Black Hills Forest ...
See the intro again.