Tourist Horribilis

“Winnebago Warrior”

Roughin’ it in the great outdoors
Guidebooks tell us where to go
Winnebago Warrior
Slow down traffic climbing hills
30 gallons to the mile
Honey, quick, the polaroid[Chorus]
Winnebago Warrior
Brave as old John Wayne
Winnebago Warrior
A true yankee pioneer
Stop at Stuckey’s for a meal
Blab all day on the CB
Winnebago WarriorLittered campgrounds, folding chairs
Feed Doritos to the bears
Honey, quick, the polaroid[Chorus]

Kill some fish down by the creek
Hang their picture by the sink
Show your grandson who’s the boss

Tie your two toat-goats to the front
U-Haul trailer full of souvenirs
That you buy along the way -Jello Biafra

Hey folks I am very pleased to say that we have made it through Glacier National Park.  It has been very beautiful country and I would have to rank it on par if not greater than the Sierras in terms of the “awe” factor.  The peaks are all glacially cut into towering granite spires and covered in patches of snow and rushing waterfalls. Our decision to flip up north has proven to be a true stroke of genius. I have been invigorated and am feeling great. This coming after my bout of giardia and fending off the swarms of mosquitoes. The camping restrictions have been a real pain.  The biggest hassle has been the mandatory campsites each night. This system has forced us to scale down our mileage through the park and has forced us to camp with others. On Canada Day we were at the Poia Campground and I thought some of our neighbors were messing with us.  They were yelling and whooping it up. Then we heard a ferocious sounding growl and realized they were yelling at a grizzly bear to get away. Every overnight camper in Glacier is required to watch a horribly acted video that goes over what one should do in case of a bear encounter. Depending on if the bear is in an offensive or defensive stance certain things should be done. One of the things the insipid video calls for is to yell “hey bear.” This notifies the mammal of your presence with the intent that it moves along. This chant is akin to what Daniel Boone must have done to woo his dates. It isn’t very fierce sounding. Unfortunately the cacophony of clapping, whistles and profanity laced screams weren’t any better and only seemed to agitate the beast. Steady and me after about 15 minutes just wanted our neighbors to be quiet but they continued their deafening din for at least an hour. The grizzly bear only continued to growl and once it got dark they finally stopped hollering at it. Steady was snoring within five minutes of their noise cessation. I didn’t get much sleep that night knowing a grizzly was just a matter of yards away the entire night but when I finally awoke around dawn I heard the growl again. This time we decided to pack up and depart early from camp as the renewed chants of “hey bear” started up again. We didn’t actually see the bear but are certain it was one. We have had to put together all of our back country skills through this wonderful national park.  We have had to bear bag, ford, cross snow fields, and of course bushwhacking. The weather has also been very inconsistent. Two nights ago we got poured on and were rocked by several loud thunderstorms.
It is striking to me the behavior of tourists in these parks. We watched the video at the ranger’s office trying to subdue our laughter for the most part. But then you actually see people doing things that are mind-boggling. We witnessed people not properly storing their food, hikers without water containers, a guy wearing jeans, and overnight hikers carrying what looked to be 60 pound packs. Our very quiet 4th of July lunch was spent watching the teeming peregrinations of all the tourist traffic racing through the little area of Rising Sun from across St. Mary Lake. I could see the stress manifested even from miles across the lake with their honking, extreme braking and teetering RV’s with names like Yukon, Montana, and Freedom Elite. I think the only way to travel through these great national parks is on foot and experience the amazing vegetation, wildlife and scenery. I did come up with a song while walking over a particularly beautiful pass called Triple Divide.  It’s called Grizzly Land.
Grizzly Land
If you’re hiking the Great North
Its best not to guess
Don’t take your chances
with arctos horribilis
So whistle while you walk
and whistle while you pray
In case he don’t hear ya
bring some pepper spray
When they see you a comin’
it’s best not to fight
you’ll probably shit yer pants
and not have time to wipe
You gotta sleep with one eye open
and keep the other one close at hand
sleep, she ain’t forthcoming
out here in Grizzly land
out here in Disneyland
(Verse II)
Practice your no trace ethics
and heed the ranger’s advice
hang your food up high
‘cuz bears don’t play nice
We are ever encroaching
into claimed territory
Pack out all your trash
don’t be a tragic news story
the predator becomes prey
we’re not the top of the chain
you’ve got nothing to lose
and everything to gain
(repeat chorus)
The last few verses kind of suck I know. Luckily I have plenty of time to make them better. Tomorrow we might take a zero day at the hostel here in East Glacier. The next section is the very remote and isolated Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses. I am not expecting to get cell reception for the duration until we get to Lincoln, MT.  So it will be another two weeks before I can update. Anyways hopefully everybody enjoyed their 4th of July weekend. -Skeeter
Categories: CDT, glacier national parl, hiking, long distance hiking, thru-hiking, trails, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Tourist Horribilis

  1. Jeff

    What did you do to get rid of your Giardia? Does it still affect you?

  2. Jeff

    No after effects at all after the flagl? Most seem to suffer continued effects. Thanks.

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