November 27, 2012 – Saint Mary

After getting our ski on on Sunday, we were totally jazzed to be out in winter. I have Tuesdays off from work and The Explorer and Nick are both unemployed hippies still, so we decided to hit the snow again. Our new friends Conner and Lori also had Tuesday off, so they were in for adventure too. Tommy and Jamie had the day off, so we, for the first time, had a nearly full SKIburban. Seven people and two dogs = full truck!

It was decided we’d head down to the Bitterroot and climb Saint Mary. Conner and Lori just moved here from Kentucky and so have little to no experience on skis, so they rented/borrowed snowshoes. I was unsure of the snow and didn’t want it to turn into a bad ski experience for me, so I donned snowshoes as well. Tommy and Jamie decided they would hike up and carry their boards to ride back down, and Daryl and Nick both skinned up so they could ski and board down.

We made it about three quarters of the way to the trail head before we hit the glacier. Thankfully it wasn’t anything like last time D, Nick, and I attempted to drive up Saint Mary.

We stopped in a slightly awkward place in the road to chain up, so I walked up to the corner to stop any downhill traffic. After chaining up, we continued up the road in 4-Lo. This is definitely the last time we drive anywhere without four chains. We were totally fine, but the last 100 yards were a little hairy (and coming down the road later was definitely white-knuckley).

We made it to the parking lot (it was empty, so we may have done a donut or two as well) and go ourselves situated.
[Can I just say, I love solar toilets at trail heads? They are wonderful and brilliant and I am very thankful for them.]

I love our truck. I love the fancy new Alpine Karst magnet. We’re going to get a bigger one, but for now, these look killer.

It was so beautiful! We kind of split into groups: Daryl and Nick in front, then Conner, then Lori and I, and Tommy and Jamie pulling up the rear (which is kind of how we expected it to be; skinning is faster than snowshoeing is faster than post-holing). Ozzy stayed with Nick for most of the day and Debo ran between Uncle D and his Papa (Tommy).

(l to r) Me, Debo, Tommy, Lori, Conner, Nick, Jamie, Daryl, Ozzy

We didn’t get to the trail head as early as we had wanted and we were all moving at different paces, so the summit was unfortunately out of the question. We found a perfect little spot to stop for a snack before heading back down the trail.

Daryl, Nick, Tommy, and Jamie sped down the trail while Conner, Lori, the degs, and I brought up the rear.

After loaded back into the truck, we headed back to the valley to stop at Wildwood, one of two breweries in Stevi (a town of less than 2000 people!). For Bavarian beer, it was really good! I’m definitely a Pacific Northwest Beer kind of girl – give me hops and give me ALL the hops, which is so not Bavarian beer. I believe the brewer at Wildwood worked with Jürgen from Bayern in Missoula, and frankly, I definitely prefer Wildwoods beer. Between the seven of us, we tried all their beer and they were all great!


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