THE CDT JOURNEY IS COMPLETED!
On October 3 at 1:30 pm I hiked to the US/Canada border at Chief Mountain with fellow thru-hikers Petr Kosek (Footprint), Olga Kubankova (Stormrunner), both from Czech Republic. My lovely wife and caring, unwavering supporter Cindy Kleinegger (Snake Maiden) met us for the final three miles!
We enjoyed six amazing days hiking the CDT in Glacier National Park, blessed with sunny weather most of final 95 miles.
CANADA IS WITHIN REACH!
Upon leaving the wonderful city of Helena I spent 14 days hiking 237 miles before reaching East Glacier Park., the last town and resupply point. The CDT crosses Macdonald Pass along a highway, where it had snowed the previous day when I enjoyed a zero day in Helena.
The route passed through Scapegoat Wilderness where fierce 60 mph blew across the Continental Divide, and did toss me off my feet once.
I picked up my parcel mid-way to East Glacier at the Benchmark Wilderness Ranch, where I pitched my tent on the porch in case of rain.
Yes, rain was in the forecast, and it did eventually rain in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, where I struggled to find a suitable camp late one evening. Thankfully, the rain stopped early the next morning and it did not rain or snow very much all the way to East Glacier.
Bob Marshall Wilderness, a haven for hunters, horses and grizzly bear. The route passed through dense forest and made me feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. Bear grass sprouted high nearly everywhere, just like the PCT.
Nearing Glacier NP was wonderful because it is the last hurdle before Canada.
I will write more and post more photos once I reach Canada. I am feeling healthy and optimistic. The weather for the final six days of hiking look very good. And my lovely wife Cindy is here to support me in East Glacier Park. My friends Footprint and Stormrunner will join me for the last section to the border.
GREG IN WILD HIKES ON!
365 MILES TO GO, FALL COLORS, AND GREAT WEATHER AHEAD. During the four days I hiked between Anaconda and Macdonald Pass & Helena I felt great and enjoyed being on trail (and not roads) again. It was a mellow 79 miles of hiking with sunny days and cold, crisp nights in lodgepole pine forests and grassy meadows.
A BETTER WAY NORTH. When I departed Lima, Montana, where I restocked my pack with six days of food, I was feeling well except for a new injury to my left foot. Two toes were numb and intense pain would occur occasionally. Thankfully my left knee appears to be healed at least for now, but the foot pain was pretty bad and slowed me down. On August 30, the second day on the CDT since leaving Lima, was a real downer. I was motivated more to stop and rest rather than hike northbound toward the next town, Leadore, Idaho.
Above: my camp at Sawmill Creek after a painful 10 mile day.
ENTERING THE FINAL STATE, MONTANA. I left Yellowstone on August 23 along very easy-going trail, but through a large burned area. Before leaving the National Park, however, I crossed the state line between Wyoming and Idaho, a state which the CDT merely straddles with Montana. Wyoming was very good to me. I entered the state with my injured knee a huge concern, and the mellow trails allowed the pain to subside, at least temporarily. I passed by the border with a slight expression of satisfaction, more interested in making more miles that day.
While at the Sawtelle RV park overnight I decided to take an alternate route to the next resupply town, Lima, Montana. This allowed me to get to Lima in less time with less wear and tear on me. Along the way, in the Centennial Valley, I hiked over Red Rock Pass and across the border to Montana early morning on August 26.
My choice of the alternate route was a good one. The valley featured Red Rock Wildlife Refuge, lovely ranches, birds of prey, and other wildlife such as the first fox I saw on the entire hike. I still had to be “bear aware”, the same as if I was hiking the divide 2+ miles to the south and 2000 feet higher.
I plan on taking another alternate route about five days after departing Lima. The goal is to move up my arrival in Glacier National Park in late September to avoid the possibilities of cold, snowy weather and closed or limited route options through Glacier National Park. This will involve some backroad and highway walking between Lemhi Pass (the important Lewis and Clark Expedition milestone) and Anaconda. Regardless of the route choices, GREG IN WILD HIKES ON!