I went down to Two Medicine to get away for a little bit and to watch Pat's "Bird Brains" program. I laughed my head off in the back row, sitting there in my camping chair with a festive beverage in the cupholder. I laughed so hard, people in the audience actually turned around to see what was wrong with me. There was something about Pat, silly bird hat on, dangling a gummi worm, saying in a fake German accent, "You ahn-swer a qvestion right, you get a danglevurm!" that had me in stitches. Wrong answers earned a pooping-on in the form of whipped cream that shot out of the backside of a puppet raven.
No bears came to the serviceberry bush by my tent, but the mountain chickadees and a group of juvenile golden-crowned kinglets were fairly noisy in the tree three feet over my head. I packed up my tent and went to sit by the lake for a while, where I noticed there was a juvenile robin in the lodgepole pine sapling next to me. It did not have its flight feathers in yet and one of its parents came to feed it a couple times while I sat there just a few feet away. It was too cold and windy to sit there too long and I went back to St. Mary by mid-morning.
Siyeh Pass on Monday was fairly brutal. Just driving out there in the morning, I knew it would be the second-worst weather I'd ever seen on the trail. At least there was no rain, but the wind was howling. Upon reaching the switchbacks in the alpine zone, where it is usually windy anyway, it was especially intense. It blew hard enough to flap my cheeks and cause uncontrollable drooling, and it made me lose mobility in my wrists because they were so cold by the time we reached the top; I only discovered this when I went to point out some geologic features. We did not linger anywhere on the trail and even with a half hour huckleberry bonanza, we still got off the trail an hour earlier than I'd ever managed with a group. I didn't have much of a group: one of our interns and a German hiker.
I also finished my last Highline Trail hike yesterday. I'm glad to get done with that because there were always such serious time pressures to get down to the road and back to Logan Pass before my shift ended. We saw goats and bighorns. The Loop Trail down from Granite Park Chalet to the road is miserable, hot, horsey, and dusty when the skies are clear. The rest of the time it's just miserable, warm, horsey, and dusty.