CDT Day 97 Moose!

17.4 miles hiked, Camping @ 11335ft
I wake in the middle of the night to a huge storm evidently right on top of our tent. I hold my hand in front of my face and can barely see it  – it is pitch black until…
lightning strikes again and it hurts my eyes it is so bright
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much lightning in such a short space of time- around every 20 seconds. I close my eyes and the light is still so bright it shines red. I pull my beanie over my eyes and can still see it.
It stays overhead for about 20 minutes, then slowly slowly moves on but it takes me a long time to get back to sleep.
At 6am I quietly exit the tent in search of a ‘loo’. The lake looks perfect for moose so I’m hoping to see one having breakfast as I exit, but sadly there are none.
Back in the tent I somehow manage to fall asleep again and am woken by Grizzly at 7. It takes me a long time to work up the courage to put on my shoes that have been converted into miniature swimming pools overnight. The sun is shining but my rain gear is on as everything is soaking wet, and I’ll be pushing my way through wet grass, trees and through boggy meadows until the sun warms it all up.
I hike up onto a ridge that gives me a high view of the little lake and the trees that hide last night’s campsite. Past lots of boulders and broken rock, we stop for feet drying after a couple of hours, before continuing along the wide open terrain.
Lunchtime is perched on some more boulders where tents are laid out, and socks and shoes are once more removed. I make coffee as we found a half full fuel canister in the hiker box at the hotel, so I can be a bit more extravagant with my fuel usage. Yay coffee!
Across rocks and through meadows the trail meanders, past pikas and marmots sunning themselves on high vantage points.
We come across the most beautiful little lake where we stop for 5 minute break. I lament that it is only early as there are some magnificent campsites here. As we are sitting 2 bull moose emerge from the trees and commence munching on the long grass in front of us. They are so close but don’t seem to mind our presence at all! We watch for ages, at one point joined by a deer as well, and eventually the moose make their exit and so do we.
I’m perplexed by the appearance of campers around this area. I can’t seem to see any roads close by, but judging by the size of their tents  (big!) there must be one close.
Our final climb for the day takes us over a few peaks and down into the next valley. We’re back in the land of orcas! Giant curved mountain tops with white patches of snow that look to me like beautiful swimming whales. Over the next pass, then we enter a huge semicircle of mountains that dips steeply into a valley with a river snaking through the centre. The trail follows the curve 3/4 the way around, at which point it climbs up and over another pass and into a new world on the other side. We luckily find a camp spot about halfway around in amongst some spruce trees, otherwise the steep elevation would mean up and over before calling it a night.
A yummy ramen with vegemite dinner, some watching of tiny screens, then early early sleep. Such a beautiful day! Such beautiful trail!

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