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reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

August 8

August 11th, 2015

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August 8

Sally Anne Lake to campsite by stream 17.79 miles 7:30-4:00

Marmots, Ground Hogs, and Grouse

It just keeps getting better. Day started with long traverses, we could see the trail ahead for miles across broad valleys. Once more, lots of blueberries. Kept getting closer to Glacier Peak, and saw many other ice capped peaks as well. Today was different in that we were on terrain that often resembled English moorland– with grouse, but not heather. Instead blueberries and lots of wild flowers. Ideal grouse habitat, and we scared up plenty and heard more. Also saw herds of marmots (what is the term for a group of marmots?) I’m not sure, but these silver gray critters look and act just like the groundhogs I grew up with in rural Virginia. They are fearless, sitting on hills watching us hike by. When we finally rounded the range we were traversing most of the day and came over a saddle –Red Pass–we saw this magnificent bowl shaped valley, upland moor habitat on one side (with plenty marmot/groundhogs ) and the other all rockslide, imposing. Later in the afternoon we made our way into a valley full of glacial streams, met some thru hikers–Crow and Ladybug–then wandered through huge forests and areas that resembled Maine, with large rounded boulders covered with deep coats of moss. Toward the end we stopped at a stream that looked like milk– so full of minerals. Earlier in the day we were talking with a women we met at a water source. Bennett had said in the Half Mile Guide, some of the streams were marked as silty, and she, meaning to say “it’s just glacial melt” said instead “glacial milk,” which turns out to be an apt description. Made camp up a draw near a glacial stream that was only a little milky, weary but smiling.

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