At the end of July, we flew out to Montana with Sophia’s sister and her fiancé to spend a week in the backcountry of Glacier National Park. In 2013, Sophia, her sister, and brother visited Glacier to hike the Northern Loop. Unfortunately, due to a heavy snowfall that year and the government shut down, the trail was impassable. They made plans to hike the trail another year. Tragically, a year later Phillip was killed by a drunk driver while he cycled home from work.
Sophia was able to obtain a backcountry permit for the four of us to complete the Northern Loop this year in memory of Phillip. We spent six days hiking over 60 miles through the Belly River and Mokawanis River drainages before crossing up and over the Continental Divide and along the Northern Highline of the Rocky Mountains. The trip was equal parts grandiose and exhausting. We carried a small container of some of Phillip’s ashes the entire way.
After finishing the loop, we struck out once more, heading off trail and up some cliff bands to the secluded lake known as Shangri-La. Here we celebrated our accomplishment of the past seven days and scattered Phillip’s ashes in the peaceful lake. Finally, we climbed over the crest and dropped down to Iceberg Lake, where a few Icebergs remained floating even in August!