There was still a ton of snow on St. Mary Peak (9,350 feet), but on July 20th, we really thought there wouldn’t be enough to be an issue. I mean, it hasn’t snowed for more than six weeks.
About 3/4 of the way up, still way below 9,000 feet, the trail was completely blocked by deep snow. The snow was on a really steep slope, so it would’ve been really dangerous to try and traverse it. Yayyy. No use going on! Time to turn back.
Nope, someone had tied some pink ribbons along the whitebark pines. We followed the ribbons, bushwhacking up the side of the mountain.
“You told me you should never bushwhack,” I said. “That’s how people get lost and die, you said.”
“These ribbons must be here for a reason,” my boyfriend said.
We went STRAIGHT up the mountain, following the pink ribbons for 200 or 300 metres. I had gone to the top of St. Mary Peak before, so I knew the trail eventually did a big switchback, and we were headed in the direction where the trail was supposed to be.
About every 40 or 50 feet, there would be another pink ribbon tied to a tree. It was like following a trail of breadcrumbs. It was a little spooky because the whitebarks were about head high and so you couldn’t really see much of where you were going. Looking behind, you couldn’t see the trail at all anymore. Just a steep CLIFF.
Sure enough, after slogging up the mountain for 10 minutes, we found the trail. Sure enough, some Good Samaritan or maybe the Forest Service, had put those pink ribbons on the trees for a reason — to show hikers the way. From then on, the trail was clear. It was very, very cold, but easy walking. I couldn’t believe how much snow was still up there. The Heavenly Twins were just covered in snow. I really think some of that snow will not melt AT ALL this year. I hope the Canadian Rockies aren’t so snowed in!