Howdy folks! I know, I know. I promised post trail photos and updates about 10 months ago. Well, I’m finally delivering!
I’ve merged my PCT and CDT journals into one site that I am also adding new posts to. I’d added my first new post, and will be back-filling in some highlights of the past year. You can find everything at www.drop-n-roll.com.
Email subscribers please note: if you wish to continue to receive my new posts via email, you’ll need to resubscribe at www.drop-n-roll.com.
Day 147 – 9/16/13 – 19.4 mi (2691.3)
And it just wouldn’t be a CDT finish without getting rained on! But in between rain showers, we got a beautiful view of Waterton Lake, and fit in a photo shoot at the border.
We crowned Ninja and Sweetfish “ultimate grand surpreme hikers”, awarding them their triple crowns for having hiked all of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and now Continental Divide trails.
We are spending the night in Waterton, Canada, thanks to a hotel room compliments of Burly’s mom (thank you!) Tomorrow we have arrangements to get back to East Glacier where we plan to hang out and play tourist for a few days before attending a BBQ hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association.
Thanks to all who have followed my blog. While at times it’s been a chore, I’m glad to have done it and knowing others are reading has kept me motivated. My sincere appreciation to all for your support, in any and all forms, throughout the trail. Your encouragement, thoughtfulness, and generosity has been overwhelming. Thank you.
Stay tuned for a couple post trail updates and some multimedia!
Day 146 – 9/15/13 -19.6 mi (2671.9)
What? We actually had to kinda hike today? But not until after sitting around the hotel lobby, mooching “for guests only” wifi until almost 9am. Ahh, it’s good to be in shape.
The hike over Swiftcurrent Pass was nice and we stopped for an early lunch at the Granite Park chalet just over the pass. It’s a beautiful cabin up in the mountains, originally built by the railroads as a part of a chalet system to attract tourists. Park employees were busy closing the cabin, shuttering the windows for winter.
In the afternoon, we traversed and climbed along a mountainside with great views the whole way. We had a great view from the camp kitchen for dinner and had some great laughs as Ninja read some memorable quotes from the hike from her journal. We are all excited to finish tomorrow, but of course it is bittersweet. We will miss each other’s company and this lifestyle.
Day 145 – 9/14/13 -15.6 mi (2652.3)
Another great day in Glacier National Park! Today’s little hike took us over Piegan pass, with towering mountains full of glaciers surrounding us. The views just keep getting better every day here.
We also found a good supply of huckleberries on the way down. Down by Josephine and Swiftcurrent lakes, the tourists were swarming, most taking boat rides across the lake, I guess to avoid the 2 mile hike from the parking lot?
At Many Glacier, we quickly grabbed a few resupply items. They close for the season in 2 days, so pickins were very slim. Thankfully, they had plenty of ice cream left. Most of us bought showers, though with all the swimming we’ve been doing, I was already feeling pretty clean!
Our gang plus Papa Smurf and HighLife all had dinner at the only restaurant together. We get to camp in a hiker site at the regular campground, meaning we have flush toilets, trash cans, and bear lockers. I’m getting spoiled.
Day 144 – 9/13/13 -14 mi (2636.7)
What an awesome day! After sleeping in, Ninja, Sweetfish and I set out a little after 8am. A few miles in, around the trail junction to St Mary’s lake, we finally saw a bear! This was Ninja’s first bear of the trail, and Sweetfish and my second. The bear, probably a black, was far off and started running away as soon as it noticed us.
The walk along St. Mary’s Lake was beautiful. At the west end of the lake we reached Virginia Falls. Cue the onslaught of day hikers. They smelled wonderful; one couple smelled so overwhelmingly of detergent we were convinced they owned a laundromat. Next we passed St Mary’s Falls. It was clear we needed to jump in, but it was overcast and cool.
At this point we were only 3/4 mile from Going to the Sun Road, which is the main thoroughfare bisecting the park. Having plenty of time to spare, we went out and hitched to the nearest restaurant for lunch. Upon returning to the trail, the sun was out so we returned to St Mary’s Falls. We found LoveNote, Burly, and Papa Smurf there, along with another black bear.
LoveNote and Burly had already jumped in from the cliff about 20′ above the river. I immediately stripped down and walked to the ledge. After several minutes of terrified hesitation, I finally took a sip of the beer I’d brought back for Burly and took the plunge. The water was considerably warmer than the iceberg lake from yesterday, but still far too cold to stay in to swim. Sweetfish and Ninja followed.
We still got to camp early and had a long evening of sitting around the kitchen sharing stories and drinking beer Papa Smurf brought in from his trip to town after the swimming.
Day 143 – 9/12/13 -11.5 mi (2622.7)
This was our shortest day here in Glacier, but we found ways to entertain ourselves. I didn’t get out of my sleeping bag until 8am, and we left camp around 9am. I have never left camp this late before. We had a couple miles of climbing to Triple Divide Pass, where the drainages split between the Atlantic, Pacific, and Hudson Bay. We stopped for a very long morning break and dried out our sleeping bags, wet from condensation the night before. We had all cowboyed in one campsite, a bit of a squeeze.
From Triple Divide Pass, we saw a beautiful blue lake with a bunch of icebergs floating in it. Though slightly off trail, we stopped by for a look on our way down from the pass. And then we all jumped in, because really, you gotta do something ’til Matlock.
We left the lake about 1:30pm, having only walked 4 miles for the day thus far. The rest of the day was a boring walk down the valley and into a burn area. We took another very long break in the afternoon before reaching our campsite on Red Eagle Lake. We have the whole place to ourselves tonight.
Day 142 – 9/11/13 -17.2 mi (2611.2)
This whole short day thing is pretty awesome. We slept in and didn’t leave camp until 8am, and took an alternate to the official CDT…a longer alternate! We went over Dawson Pass where we saw our first bighorn sheep (ewes only) of the trail. Other wildlife sightings today were otters in Two Medicine Lake, a moose, and mountain goats.
Next we traversed along a very scenic ridge and around a mountain with awesome views the whole way. It was great to have all the time in the world to take silly photos, climb out to rock outcroppings, and just plain enjoy the scenery.
We dropped down into a valley and stopped beside a lake for a very leisurely lunch. I even took a nap. I never take naps.
Even with all the deliberate dawdling, we got to camp by 5:30. We are sharing a campsite with Papa Smurf most nights, due to permit limits and being a group of 5. We also had other campmates, a group of guys from the east coast who were on their last night of a week long trip, their itinerary the exact reverse of ours.
I was in my sleeping bag by 7:30. Weird.
Day 141 – 9/10/13 -11.2 mi (2594)
The trail out from East Glacier was much better than the last bit, and we got a glimpse of the beautiful scenery that’s coming.
Due to permit availability, we have really easy days all the way to Canada, which we will reach on September 16. All we had to do today was walk 11 miles in time to pick up our permit at the Two Medicine ranger station. Naturally, we got there minutes before closing.
Ranger Jenny was very patient with our endless questions (we have a standard list of questions for rangers, such as “have you ever a actually seen buried toilet paper dug up by animal?”). We had to watch a bear safety video and pass a verbal quiz before being issues our permit.
There is a camp store at Two Medicine where Sweetfish was planning to resupply, rather than carry food that 11 miles from East Glacier. Turns out the camp store closed for the season 2 days ago. Now off-duty Jenny was kind enough to run Sweetfish into East Glacier to pick up his rations of ramen and candy.
When they returned she stayed and hung out for a while. We talked a lot about bears and poop. It was a good time!
Day 140 – 9/9/13 – 0 mi (2582.8)
Zero day! We slept in a bit and then packed up and headed across town to the hostel, since the price of the hotel we had been staying in was going up. Bo rented a car, and Ninja and Sweetfish joined him, along with Portrait and Castle, for a tourist day driving around the park.
LoveNote, Burly and I hung around town and did not much. I took a little walk over to see the historic Glacier Park Lodge. I noticed the evening’s musical entertainment was to be Emma and Kam, the daughter and daughter’s boyfriend of the woman who gave us a ride back to the pass for our slackpack yesterday. So in the evening, LoveNote, Burly and I went to listen. Just as we started the half mile walk to the lodge, two dogs started following us. They followed us all the way to the lodge, and en route we named them Cutsie and Marshmallow Fluffer-butt. They tried to go in the lodge with us, and security had to escort them out…several times. When we came out after the music was over, the dogs were still waiting there. One of the lodge employees explained that they were most likely strays, that people just drop them off around hostel and abandon them. Poor puppies!! They followed us back to the hostel and the women who owns the hostel fed them and put them in a fenced yard for the night. I kinda hate dogs, but I kinda want Marshmallow Fluffer-butt. Good thing I’m homeless, or I’d have probably ended up with him.
Day 139 – 9/8/13 – 15.0 mi (2582.8)
The down bags were hung by the window with care,
In hopes they would dry in the fresh mountain air…
We reluctantly left our cozy (and really smelly) hotel room mid-morning to hitch back to Marias Pass. It was cold and lightly raining, and thankfully we got a hitch after about half an hour. Had we stood there much longer, we’d likely have lost motivation and ended up putting off the slackpack until tomorrow.
We were excited to be in Glacier National Park, but had been warned by other hikers this first 15 miles was less than spectacular. They were right. It was just a bunch of wet overgrown plants, mostly in the trees with no views. But it didn’t rain much and we were back in town by 3:30pm, so it was not bad.
East Glacier Park is crawling with thru hikers! We met Gnar and Pod, more fellow – you know how this goes by now – 2011 PCT hikers! Also in town are Bo, Papa Smurf, Portrait and Castle. We all had dinner at the Mexican restaurant in town. There are so many of us, we couldn’t all sit together. The days of the CDT being a lonely trail are over!
Tomorrow we will zero and secure our camping permits for the rest of the hike. And lucky us, the weather is supposed to clear up!