CDT Day 53 & 54 – The Moment It All Came Unstuck

“Winds in the east… Mist comin’ in… Like something’s a brewin’, about to begin… Can’t put me finger on what lies in store…But I fear what’s to happen all happened before…”
We have a day off in Lincoln as Grizzly is fighting a sinus infection and needs some rest. There’s not much to do…so I use my time effectively to tsunami instagram and Facebook with photos, and dye my hair bright BRIGHT pink. Because why not?
I eat food from my food bag, laze about, half watch bad movies on the tv. Excitement abounds. I have dinner with Grizzly, Crunchmaster, Coop and Alex, then pack up for an early start. There’s a big climb out, 28 miles without water and a hot day so I want out early!
I barely sleep and it’s morning already. The guys are going to hitch up later, and I jump on the opportunity for a 7am ride up to the pass with Alex & Coop from the owner of the hotel they are staying in. As we climb up the steep 2 miles to the top of the ridge I’m glad I got here early! It’s hoooot!
I’m up on the ridge, exposed, with the sun biting. It’s actually not thaaaat hot, but with no shade and unable to gulp as much water as I want it feels rough. It doesn’t take the guys long to catch up and we find a tiny sliver of shade to hide in. I flick of another tick from my leg. Have I mentioned the ticks? I found one burrowing into my thigh when showering in Lincoln, another crawling up my leg this morning, I’ve flicked off about 3 others in the past couple of days, and now here are some more. I steal some DEET from Grizzly – this sh*t scares me. So many warning labels. I’m pretty sure I’m spraying cancer directly into my blood stream, but right now I’m choosing spray on cancer over Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Cancer vs fever. Over blowdown vs under blowdown. Frozen wet feet vs bushwhack and slippery log to cross river. All the awesome choices out here.
After 14 miles we make it to Flesher pass. We decide the name is creepy and must be the site of some crazy serial killer atrocities. ‘The Flesher!’. Maybe he used too much DEET and burned the flesh off people.
Alex and Coop are sitting in the shade across the road next to the pass. We sit for 5 minutes, which we all know is really going to be 30. We are all blergh. Really blergh. There is magical portal that can take us anywhere we want with the lift of a thumb – a road. Where should we go? I want to go to Harry Potter World. Everyone’s happy in Harry Potter World- how can you not be??  I’m pretty confident I can stitch together hitches to get me there. No one else is keen. Boo.
I sit and contemplate the infinite possibilities of now. Is this my place in the world right now? Of all the places I could be, is this the one? There is a lot more ‘blergh’ than awesome here. A lot more miles of ‘meh’ in between the awesome. Once you’ve committed to a thru-hike, it seems hard to change that decision. There is so much value in pushing yourself through tough things, getting out of your comfort zone, coming out stronger at the end. But sometimes… sometimes life is too short.
Right now I’m not happy.  It turns out, we’re all not happy. Something needs to be shaken up, changed. I’m not ready to stop hiking, but I want to be surrounded by beautiful things, inspiring views, amazing people.
And right now we have a portal. A magical portal.
I’m sick of faffing about, of talking in circles. I stick my thumb out and despite the thin traffic manage to get us a hitch. It’s myself and Grizzly, and after a few minutes of hesitation, Crunchmaster.
All of a sudden we are not on the trail, we are in a world of possibility…
We head to Helena, find a bed, eat food. Sulk. Mull. Marinate. Think.
Think brain, think. Of all the things that can be done in the world at this very moment, what is my thing???
A plan is hatched. A rental car. The Colorado Trail. Then the rest of the CDT. I need beauty and motivation and I think this will do it. A few weeks surrounded by mountains and peaks and trail that is real trail should give me the momentum to keep up with this trail. Or it won’t, but it is the reset I need to give the CDT my best shot.
And if not….
There is always Harry Potter World.

CDT Day 52 – Ridge walk to Lincoln

18.6 miles hiked, ‘camping’ in a hotel in Lincoln ☺
Last one to camp, first one on trail. I’d much prefer it to be the other way around but I have short legs compared to my hiking partners. I should get bonus points for all the extra steps I have to take.
Oof it’s a steep climb out onto the ridge from the lake. I have my podcast on speaker -hiking by myself I want to make the most noise possible. I pass Waitup who is hiking through to Helena and not stopping in Lincoln so we say a half goodbye. It’s always a strange thing with hikers- you never know when the last time you see someone will be.
Today we have 6 big climbs – nothing is flat. We are either going up or straight back down for the 18 miles left to the road from which we’ll hitch to Lincoln.
My pockets are stuffed with my remaining bars so I can eat as I go. I stop for lots of little breath catching breaks, eat bits of bars, take sips of water. I’m up high and have rolling hill views all day, however the trail seems to take the most convoluted route to the hwy possible.
I get phone reception at the top of a hill – the first since leaving East Glacier  – and my phone has its mini-rave buzzing and blipping with all kinds of urgency. Enter the phone vortex.
Thankfully there is a nice stream with beautiful cold water on the descent of one of the hills. It’s a hot one today and I greedily gulp down a litre of water with my favourite raspberry scratch electrolytes – I’d been saving my last packet for today!
2 more climbs and I sing my way down the final switchbacks to catch up to the guys below to grab a hitch. They saw a moose just before the switchbacks started!!! Boo I’m so sad!!!  I desperately want to see a moose. A baby moose would be like Christmas.
We manage a hitch in about 5 minutes and head into Lincoln for showers and beds and all the promised comforts of a town stop.
Laundry is an interesting event in the local trailer park, and it’s quite the task to find something other than fries to eat. 9 days since town and I’ve been dreaming (as always) about epic food, but have to settle for a cheeseless pizza. I’ll get my curry one day dammit! ☺
I’m asleep way too late. I really need an early night but town does that weird thing where I’m so busy doing lots of things but don’t achieve anything. Sigh. Tomorrow is a zero and all the things will be done then ☺

CDT Day 51 – Beary big climbs

25 miles hiked, 276.2 @ 7510ft
I slept with the tent door open to try and reduce condensation, but instead wake up to a face full of frost against the bug net and a world of ice around me. Today is a big day with the beginning of our climbs that we are going to be seeing from now until…well forever.
I’m out before the guys just before 7am so I can enjoy my solo morning without feeling rushed, and they will catch up to me (easily. Long legged speed machines). It’s coooold and I take my shoes off to cross the river instead of going across the log as the log is covered in ice.
The morning warms up and soon I have to take off the extra layers. I stop too many times as my stomach is not happy today. I hope it’s just a passing thing and I haven’t picked up something nasty. I’m hiking along the side of a hill with the river rushing below to my right, winding through trees. A meadow appears in front of me and is the perfect place for brekkie. I find a lovely spot in the grass with wildflowers around me, sit thinking far off thoughts, munch on my granola and watch as a deer trots right near me,  unaware of my presence until the last minute. She stares at me for the longest time.
Granola finished I’m on trail again and enjoying the downhill that will continue for 12 miles today. Another shoes off crossing and I stop at a junction on the other side. I dart off again to take care of business and when I get back my pack is gone. Whaaaat??? Then I hear some terrible ‘animal noises’ from the bushes. Bloody  Grizzly and Crunchmaster have finally caught up and stole my stuff. Rude Buggers.
I leave before them as they take a break, and a couple more miles down the road they catch up as I stop for water. They zoom off and  I switch on my podcasts as I meander through the trees. We’ve agreed on a catchup point just before the big climb starts to eat dinner so we can hike late.
I put a message on facebook before I started the hike for suggestions from my friends in their favourite motivational songs. My playlist is a big mish mash, and it makes me smile to think of my friends as their chosen songs come on ☺
I turn a corner and the guys are unexpectedly sitting at a stream. Turns out this is our last water for 20 miles, so we have to drink up, eat early dinner here, and carry way too much water up the big climb. They’ve just seen a grizzly on the opposite hill, which adds an unexpected nervousness about this section- south of Benchmark ranch we weren’t really expecting to see too much bear activity. Naughty bears.
Dinner is done, music is on and the climb begins. It’s very exposed straight up a hill on a very narrow pathway. Thank goodness the weather is nice – just a little chilly which is good for climbing! Grizzly very quickly turns into a dot far up on the mountain and I turn my speaker up loud – I’m acting under the assumption that bears have very poor taste in music and will be scared of my playlist 😉
Blergh it’s a breath stealing climb. The hills rolls away in waves below – it’s nice to have high up views again!
Finally at the top, we are camping at a lake I can see far below; the trail takes a big wide turn around it. My footsteps going right in front of each other like a sobriety test on the too skinny, too steep gravelly path.
Switchbacking down down down I stop momentarily to put on my R1 hoody as the wind has picked up, and change the playlist to my thru-hike karaoke – I’m in a singing mood! I tone down my singing along to Johnny Cash as I get to the bottom- there are a few tents about that may not be as excited about going to Jackson as Johnny, June and I.
It’s nearly 9pm by the time I get down to the lake, legs shaky from the descent. Tents up, we hang our food bags and all the smelly things from a high branch, and dive into tents to get warm. A looong day. I need to get used to this and instruct my legs to build lots of muscle while I sleep please!

CDT Day 50 – The Fly By Resupply

251.2 @ 6063ft
The rain falls all night long, not very hard, but the pitter patter on the tent is incessant. Perhaps it was soothing and distracting me from the knowledge that I should be a bear’s midnight snack after eating dinner in my tent and keeping my food under my feet. Or maybe that was the advil pm. Either way I slept beautifully. I want to get up early but can’t find a window of dry to do it in.Eventually I give in and somehow manage to pack everything and put on all my rain gear inside the tent.
I’m out of camp before the guys who are still packing up when I leave. The trail is actually nicely maintained, the rain is keeping things cool, and it’s a nice gradual up and down topography that make the morning’s walk beautiful. I’m zoning out listening to Robin Arzon on my podcast and the miles go by fast. Yay!!! I’d forgotten what a satisfying morning hike felt like.
I keep expecting the guys to catch up to me but I’ve covered the 7.something miles to Benchmark Resort and haven’t seen them yet. This is exciting for me. Speedy Mcspeedikins! I sent my next 3 days of food to Benchmark along with the $25 fee and cross fingers my box is there. It’s not actually open so I climb under the fence at the front to get in. My resupply box is in a bear can on the porch of a cabin and I packsplode over the porch to arrange my things and restock my food.
Patience wanders over -she doesn’t hike on Saturdays and is zeroing here with Dupont and Llama. I chat with her and then Llama who appears, then finally Grizzly and Crunchmaster wander in with Alex and Coop following. Dupont is awake now to so it’s a hiker party! So many hikers!
We all chat as Grizzly and Crunchmaster sort out their food, then finally give in to the inevitable, say goodbye to the zeroing crew and hike on. Fastest resupply ever!
It’s freezing as we leave and backtrack a couple of miles to jump on the trail. As we hike on the sun comes out and suddenly I’m roasting and my R1 and jacket are stuffed away. Hot cold hot cold. ‘Tis the way here!
The trail follows along a stream through fairly thick forest for most of the day, then as we join back up with the official trail it thins out and there are large burn zones either side of the trail and river. I look at my topo maps and see in tiny writing that there might be a cabin in a few miles. This means a nice area cleared away, and maybe a pit toilet. Hopefully it wasn’t burnt down when this fire went through.
We take a chance down a side trail and yay there is a cabin!!! The cabins are always locked, but have large porches for us to sit on and usually a toilet. This toilet is locked too. BOOOO! Back to cat hole digging.
It’s a nice early night in preparation for some big climbs tomorrow. We hang our bags and cccccold sets in early; all the layers on tonight!

CDT Day 49 – The Chinese Wall

 23.9 miles hiked. Camping @5062 ft
I wake up super early and ignore my need to use the “loo” for as long as possible. My phone says 528am and a second later the alarm is sounding. Booo I forgot we are getting up early today to try and get some miles in before the forecasted rain hits.
I pack up, stuff my pockets with snacks, put on my R1, rainpants and jacket. My wet shoes are made bearable by my waterproof socks. Yay hopefully dry feet today.
We climb up through some snow patches and have about an hour’s grace before the temperature drops faaast. There is some hail, then the rain starts.
We turn around a bend and have a view of the valley below – the Chinese wall spreads out before us! It’s very cool with a valley of thick green pines in front and the dark storm clouds up above. The trail takes a turn as it descends and we hike along the front of the wall. The sun comes out so we have a break, drink some water, munch on some food, stare at the epic wall above us.
The clouds come back fast as we head up and over another pass. It’s raaaainy but not nearly as cold as the other day. It’s a mudslide hike and I end up hiking more cross country tha  on trail as I keep sliding backwards!
By the time we reach the top the rain has decreased to a very light drizzle, and the sun even comes out on the descent.
It’s a really pretty trail and spirits are high despite the weather. I’ll take the on and off drizzle over the freezing storm any day!
The rest of the day we are following along the side of the sun river. There are some burn sections but it is very pretty looking down from the mountain side to the river and the flat grasslands either side. The clouds and rain are in and out all day and we cross fingers we make it to camp before the next bout of rain. Nothing worse than setting up or packing up camp in the rain.
We cross a really cool bridge and enter a big burn zone. The wind whistles through the burnt trees and makes the most eerie noise – like people screaming far away. Somehow there is a magic clearing in which we set up, with no trees to fall on us during the night. I half think this is just over reacting, but as the wind picks up I hear a large crack as a tree falls down not too far away.
Tonight we are stupid. We eat in our tents as the rain is not stopping. We keep the food in  our tents as there is nowhere to hang it. We haven’t seen any bear tracks or signs… hopefully we will be ok. Of not… well…it will make a good story 😉

CDT Day 48 – My Lake

208.3 @ 7352ft “my lake” 19.1 miles hiked
We are up and out by 8am today, a much better effort than yesterday! It’s a climb down through snow, switchbacking across snow and mud and streams of snow melt. The trail climbs back up towards Switchback pass which is all snow. We can see two bodies heading straight up the mountain  – Beacon and Mermaid – and decide to take the shortcut too. The snow is hard enough that we can kick steps in with only minimal postholing and sliding. It looks super steep and hard- like climbing a ladder.
Thank goodness we got up at uber late o’clock because it would have been impossible if we’d tried to climb it yesterday afternoon.
It’s actually a surprisingly easy climb, then over the top of the pass and start switchbacking down the other side. It’s a 6 mile descent through forest and over blowdowns. I’m in “get to the bottom” zone and nearly step on a little silver snake that is slithering slowly across the trail. Eeps sorry!
It’s getting toasty at the lower altitude so we stop for water about 2 miles from the bottom. A quick break then the best maintained 2 miles of trail so far since Marias pass. Yay! Nice hiking! Our destination is a ranger station for lunch.
Waitup is there already, and as we sit and eat it turns into a hiker party – me, Grizzly, Crunchmaster, Waitup, Beacon, Mermaid, Steven and Lucky Strike.
Lots more blow downs after lunch and I am not loving it. I try to make it more fun by singing the mario theme song as I ‘bounce’ across the logs. But I don’t bounce. There are only so many scratches, stabs and blood running down your legs you can handle with a smile. How long will this laaaast?!?!? I want to throw myself on the ground and chuck a tantrum for someone to magically appear and make the trail nicer. As always the only solution is to ovary-up and keep hiking. So I do.
A final steep climb of 1.5miles through a recent burn area to our destination for the night called My Lake. Another beautiful campsite! Grizzly and Crunchmaster are already there with tents nearly set up.
Wait Up arrives “you guys can camp where you like, but this is My Lake.” He chuckles to himself “yeah I’ve been working on that one all afternoon”.
It is so so cold tonight. There doesn’t seem to be any good places to hang food, and we haven’t seen bear signs for a while so we decide to sleep with our food. Let’s hope there are no bears with midnight munchies nearby.

CDT Day 46 – The Cold and The Lynx

22ish miles hiked
157.2 @ 5751 ft
Beacon and Mermaid are early risers and I hear them making moves from 430am. I doze on and off and finally emerge at 630am just as some drizzling rain is finishing up. We take refuge on the porch and hang the tents to dry while packing up.
At 8am we leave the little compound and hike along the Ley alternate for most of the morning. It’s a much more direct route than the ‘official’ trail – we save 4 miles!
Rain starts up again and it is cooooold. It takes all my energy to keep moving. I find a tiny tiny spot under a tree for us to crowd under and eat some lunch, and Ia shivering terribly by the end of the break. My feet are soaked through and it’s one of those days when we are all asking “why are we here???!”
Lots of river crossings mean our poor feet have no chance. I’m walking in mini swimming pools.
Through the wet cold forest we hike, down through trees and meadows. We find another ‘alternate’ except it turns into a swamp and we have to bushwhack straight up a hill through thick vegetation and blow downs.
We’ve been swearing at F*ing Bob and his Blowdowns all day, but actually get to the entrance of the Bob Marshall wilderness late in the afternoon. I apologise to Bob and redirext my cursing at Lewis and Clark national forest. We see Beacon and Mermaid again as we take 5 and eat a few more things at a trail junction and decide on our campsite 5 miles away.
My poor muscles are hell tense from being so cold all day so I stop at the side of the trail to stretch. I’m vacantly staring ahead down the trail, then Grizzly realises there’s something staring back. A lynx! I miraculously manage to get a photo before she bounces away.
We arrive at our awesome campsite, set up tents then start a fire. Fire! Oh beautiful warmth! I stand in front of it in a daze trying to feel my body and defrost my numbed brain. We rotate shoes and socks in front, melting my shoes slightly (oops!) while eating dinner and avoiding mosquitos.
After dinner our food bags are hung from a tall tree and we dive into our tents fast leaving the mosquitos knocking at the tent door.

CDT Day 45 – Blowdowns & Bearzilla

15.3 miles camping at guard station 131.4 @ 5522ft
I’m awake before my alarm and lie in bed responding to emails as I take advantage of my last phone service for probably a week.
Soon the boys are up and we head to the post office to collect our resupply boxes. We explode everything on the ground outside and end up sending an entire box of food back to Denver as we have way too much. Crunchmaster tries to post his axe home and is told they won’t post ice axes…so we find a box from a store down the road and get creative packaging the axes and also send off our microspikes and a few other bits and pieces. Hooray for lighter packs!!!
Our food bags are still 6 days heavy and it’s a struggle to lift our packs.
We get an easy hitch down to Marias pass then commence the hike through the Lewis and Clark national forest around 1130am. Soon the trees all around us are burnt and we have to climb over some blow downs. Then the trail is not really trail at all but a giant game of pick up sticks – more trees fallen over than upright. It’s exhausting climbing up, over, along, around, under the downed trees. Soon my legs are bleeding from getting scratched up. oOw freakin ow!
I start feeling weirdly faint. I’m not sure if it’s the big temperature change from the past few days, dehydration, tough climbing or something else going on but I’m not feeling awesome 😣 I put my hands in running creeks as we go by, splash my face, sit on rocks, eat some sugar.
The trail is full of PUDs (pointless ups and downs). It takes completely unnecessary turns and climbs. Everyone is getting crabby and I’m entertained by a few rants from the boys.
We hike along a dirt road that has loooots of animal tracks. It’s a freakin animal super highway. We see some giant grizzly tracks, then some more giiiiant grizzly tracks. Grizilla and Bearzilla. Wolf tracks galore, moose and elk tracks. I’m very keen to hike off this track and find camping not on the giant animal dance floor.
Guthooks says there is a guard station up ahead so we hike laaate until 830pm and finally arrive at the promised land. It is surrounded by a barbed wire fence (no bears allowed!), with a pit toilet and water pump! Woot!
There’s a tent set up and we meet Beacon and Mermaid who are camping here.
We use a ladder to put our food on the roof of the horse shed, watch a beautiful sunset and fall asleep soundly long after hiker midnight in our little barbed wire protected world.

CDT Day 42 – Piegan Pass

14.3 miles hiked, Camping at St Marys lake campground @ 4626ft
Highest elevation today: 7326ft (Piegan Pass)
We are out of the room at a respectable-ish time and head to reception to check out. I ask about the food we saw two hikers dropping off in a hiker box there. I can see there are cliff bars and kind bars on the desk, the staff go very red faced and say we have to check at the ranger station as they don’t have a hiker box. Riiiiight.
In beautiful sun we walk along the west side of Swiftcurrent lake, described by the Ley maps as the more scenic alternate. It seems the east side is purely through trees, so I think we’ve chosen well.
A boat docks in front of us that came from the hotel and a giant bunch of tourists plod out, taking up the trail and walking veeeery slowly with a thousand bear bells. Irrational rage boils up as we manage to pass one or two, only to have a child dart in front of us blocking our paths. They are cunning these day-hikers. Eventually I just put on a saccharine smile and yell out excuse-mes and we all push obnoxiously past. It’s quite hilarious as we look back and realise they walk about 200m along the path where the boat has darted ahead and the get back on board. Woah nature! Totes back country! #Wilderness
Thanks to the downpour yesterday and a thousand horses on the trail since then we are squooshing our way uphill through sticky sticky mud. It tries to steal my shoe a few times, but just manages to add an extra 2kg of weight on the bottom with each step.
We come into a meadow and have a wee rest and a snack before a freezing river crossing (no bridge! Boo!) and the climb starts up to Piegan Pass.
It’s absolutely stunning. Giant jagged mountains stare down at us, the ground is lush with grass and flowers and trees. We are heading straight towards Morning Eagle Falls and it is breathtaking. We stop to take more and more photos as we get closer. The trail is winding up through snow now and there are a couple of sketchy crossings so I finally take my ice axe out.
We’re near the top and there are some animal tracks zooming across the snow -wolverine tracks!!! Very very cool. I don’t ever expect to see a wolverine, but to see its tracks is pretty amazing.
I stop for a minute to photograph and chat with a social marmot, then up to the top! There is a cool rock shelter someone has built as a campsite where speedy Crunchmaster is waiting and we sit for 5 before heading over the otherside.
It’s a steep drop to the valley below amd we hike along a thin path on the side of the trail. The valley below leads to the Going To The Sun Road, the peaks around it a perfect mix of greens and blues with patches of snow.
The avalanche chutes are sketchy on this side. We have a nervous few moments watching Grizzly start across the first veeerry slowly (without axe or spikes) only to have him stop halfway and declare that he doesn’t like it at all. I take out my axe again and finally don my microspikes and it feels so much safer!
We spot a mamma bear with 2 cubs far across the valley climbing around some bushes in a snow patch. Thankfully far away!
2 more dodgy chutes and the path leads down below treeline into the forest. There is a LOT of snow here! Compacted so no postholing, but it still makes for slippery slow downhill hiking.
It takes us a long time, but eventually I see cars I can head Grizzly’s voice at the bottom talking to someone. A hitch before we’d even got to the road!
We jump in and enjoy the fast view along St Mary’s lake. We are at the St Mary’s campground tonight as there were no permits available at Reynolds where we wanted to camp.
As we arrive at the campground there are some hikers with a car in a site at the entry. They give us some giant rotten news- the trail is closed further ahead due to a mountain lion killing an elk right in the middle of the trail!!! And on the other side of the triple divide pass it is closed due to aggressive bear activity. Whaaaat??? We make plans to visit the ranger station in the morning and see what alternate trails we can come up with. Boooo. Giant booooo.
We find the hiker/biker site we have reserved and there are 2 bikers there. They’ve taken up the 2 tentsites so we settle with a tentsite on the gravel.
There is some good news – phone reception tonight for Grizzly means we get to eat dinner and watch Game of Thrones! #Wilderness 😉

CDT Day 41 – Red Gap Pass

18.8 miles, expensive lodging @ 4944ft
All night rain and snow dripped on our tent amd thwacked on the new tyvek. I had to brave the walk to the toilet in the middle of the night -headlamp on and bear spray in hand.
It cleared around 730am so we begrudgingly rolled out of bed and packed up all the things,  before trotting over to the food prep area to eat some bits and pieces and retrieve all our smelly things from the bear boxes. How lovely our packs would be without all this heavy stuff!
The trail started ascending right away the 4 miles to Red Gap pass. It’s a freezing morning so we’ve all got a lot of layers on, but we’re sweating a mile in. The heat doesn’t last as the rain starts again which quickly turns to snow. The view is beautiful but it’s hard to enjoy as the wind has picked up and wants us off this mountain. At the final trail intersection we start seeing big patches of snow, and have a few sketchy crossings kicking in steps.
The last mile is haaaard. The view below has disappeared underneath snow and fog and I have to stop several times to lean over my poles, brace against the wind and make sure I don’t fly off the mountain. The snow is being whipped around by 65mph wind and smashed against my skin. My eyes are only open a sliver – my sunglasses too covered with snow and watermarks  be of any use.
Finally at the top no-one has stopped for a break – too bloody windy and cold. They’re waiting around the corner hiding behind a boulder, the view hidden by the snow and clouds.
We trek down down down switching back and forth across the mountain side. We hit tree line and are shielded by the wind somewhat, but now have trees and forest right up to the trail making it scary beary country. Every few steps we’re yelling “Hey Bear!” so we don’t surprise any fluffy bummed giant mammals on the trail. I pitch in with “Cooee!” as it carries much further than my “hey bear” attempts. There’s a tiny clearing around the trail so we sit and have a tiny break. I am ccccold!
Another small climb, the wind is whipping and we are marching on. We grab another mini break at Poia Lake where we collect some water and bump into some other hikers and some NPS workers. It’s hard to settle and sit when it’s so windy!
Through the forest we hike on, “hey bear”-ing the whole way as the trail twists and turns, crossing streams and weaving through trees, stwpping over a lot of bear scat. I’m still excited at every water crossing and get nervous when we don’t stop at every one to fill up with water – New Mexico dehydration has scarred me!
The trail ends up on a few mile road walk leading to Many Glacier campground ( where we are supposed to be staying) and the swiftcurrent lodge (where we want to stay). Ouch the road hurts my feet, my new hipbelt is hurting my hips too. Boooo. I hope it settles down or somehow just kills whatever nerve it is  pinching so I can stop walking in pain! All day I’ve been alternating between hip belt on with hip killing, and hip belt off and therefore shoulders hurting. Blergh I’m over it! Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
Finally at the lodge and we end up getting the last room! We only have to sell a few arms and legs to afford it. Montana is going to be am expensive state if I continue being soft and sleeping in beds!!! The lure of a hot shower and drying out our tents is too strong. Wait Up is stronger than us and camps at the campground.
We four run in for some hot dinner at the restaurant. I brace myself for zero choice, but they have a few vegan options! I end up with tempeh stirfry, a side of chili and fries. Mmmm hot food! There’s even some smoothies on the breakfast menu. Viva la veganlution!
At the little shop we pick up a few things – nothing is quite as awesome as a shower beer at the end of a long hiking day. Today wasn’t that far, but I think the bad conditions drained all of us.
Clean, dry and warm, with bellies full we fall asleep.
* If you’re enjoying reading along, see if you can spare a few dollars on my fundraising page for Sea Shepherd and Animals Australia ☺ Link here.
Cheers from the animals ☺☺☺