CDT mile 2480.8, miles hiked 23.5
It rained again last night only this time it poured and we had plenty of thunder and lightning with it. Tatu-Jo tossed and turned all night and even woke me up once when he heard something walking around our tents. Since we are just two in grizzly country we set up next to each other so we look bigger and keep an eye on each other. After what for me was a decent nights sleep we got going for the day.
Immediately I could tell Tatu-Jo was my feeling his best, he was moving a bit sluggish and then told me he hadn’t slept all night because of the lumpy ground and feeling sick. Soon enough he had to go to the woods and relieve himself something was not right he told me. Our only guess is some of the 4-month-old food we got at benchmark is no good. We can’t decide if it’s the Sargento cheddar cheese sticks from May that sat in unopened box unrefrigerated or the tortillas that were there. Either way, something has gotten the better of him and I was not sure he was going to make it.
I felt great as we hiked but Tatu-Jo was a bit sluggish. Like a trooper though he did his miles and didn’t complain. We stopped to rest when he needed to. Soon the sky darkened and rain started to fall. We deployed our umbrellas, luckily Suzy had sent them to us in Helena so we each played around and figured out ahands-freee way to hike with them that worked with our packs. Soon we strolled down the burnt forest dry under our man-made canopy of nylon.
We rolled along the trail, I was leading most of the day so I made sure to make lots of noise in case of bears. We saw a few fresh piles of grizzly crap along the trail as we hiked along strawberry creek. We also saw a large bull moose enjoying some grass in the river. It was a great day for wildlife and made the rain soaked day tolerable.
The sun finally poked its head out and we walked in the sun and shade enjoying the afternoon rays. It was still cold but tolerable. All day we had been following horse prints and fresh poop. Now I have seen lots of horse poop along my hike but no matter how hard I hike I never see the horses in front of me. I was saying to Tatu-Jo, wouldn’t it be cool if we came across the horse folks and they had a sweet camp and food to cook for us.
We came down the valley and there by beaver lake was Fritz standing along the trail. We stopped and said hello, and got to chatting about the hike and the area etc…soon Fritz’s wife Amy came up and started talking with us, they offered us extra food and since we are both low on food we jumped at the chance. We sat down by their awesome done tent and saw their 4 horses munching away in the grass.
Amy pulled out tons of food more than you could ever imagine. Backpacker pantry, paleo food, some Thai stuff and we were in awe, she even had corn and dehydrated tomatoes, veggies what a treat. I sat waiting for water enjoying some granola with milk and getting to know Fritz and Amy.
The two of them have been married for almost 20 years and live by glacier national park in a place called Babb. The two of them are avid trail riders and have some beautiful horses. The big red one was super cool and the old mare was a sweetie. The two of them were out on a 10 day ride and man they had a sweet set up. They told us about area, their horses and then we chatted about bears.
The two of them have a ranch and being so close to the park see lots of bears. Fritz told us the most amazing story about when he worked for the forest service doing trail crew. Him and 3 other guys were walking up a trail and at a switch back Fritz was ahead and heard “a bear has so and so.” Fritz walked off the trail and sees this other guy standing off with a grizzly on its hind legs with a pick axe, wondering if he should drill the bear with it. Fritz started to bang his shovel and make noise and the bear dropped down and charged him.
As it got up to him he whacked it on the head with his shovel and glanced the down hill ear. The bear was stunned and charged him again, and again he whacked it with his shovel. The bear dropped down a bit shook it’s head and said that’s it I’m out here and ran away.
It was early but it’s cold, Tatu-Jo was not feeling well and said let’s camp here. We asked if it was ok and we went and set up camp behind them. Tatu-Jo crawled into his bag at 6:15, the best thing to make him better is some rest. So while he napped I hung out with Amy and Fritz and had a great time.
Even though we should have hiked a few more hours it was nice to slow down, sit by beaver head lake and relax in the company of kind souls who love the wilderness and much as we do. It is a nice way to spend the beginning of my last week on trail.