The GiG Pulled Over Again; Sparse, Crusty Snow With No Wind
We headed past Vaughn and approached the other small towns on our way toward Rogers Pass, when all of a sudden we saw lights flashing out the rear window; we realized Katie's new car must have started a trend, as Mary N was the one pulled over in a speed trap, but she came away a bit better than Katie did as she got off with a warning.
Even the though the day started a bit rough with rain and an almost-ticket, it turned out beautifully. The snow wasn't the best--very crusty--but the wind was nowhere to be found, thank goodness. To have a still day and views on the Continental Divide trail is always a treat.
We were surprised to see all of the destruction at the trail head. A logging crew had been in and clear cut many trees, leaving a lot of debris to walk over. There were many beetle-kill trees on the trail, some fallen and others not far behind, so we realized it was probably a good thing to clear some of the dead out.
At our lunch spot, we enjoyed the views into the Helena valley on one side of the divide and into the Swan valley on the other.
Even though the snow seemed spotty, especially around trees, we did see that it was deep along the trail as someone had post-holed for a few miles. We marveled at the person's strength as each step sunk down to waist level.
On our return, a snow storm whipped up right as we were ending our four-mile trip, a perfect time to head home before the wind got us. The snow was graupel (gropple), soft hail balls, that rolled into bunches along the ground.
On the drive home, we enjoyed views of the snowy buttes. We arrived home around 2:30, an early day with no place to stop for refreshments.
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