CDT mile 2590.6, miles hiked 29.6
It’s our next to last full day of hiking, and we needed to make 29.6 miles to make it to Many Glacier and the swift current hotel, campground and restaurant for a well needed hot meal, dry inside conditions and a dryer for our bags if possible.
We left camp a bit later than we planned mostly because it rained all night and in the morning we woke up to our tents that were wet and sleeping bags damp with condensation. We had coffee and slowly packed up, nothing is more miserable than having to pack up a wet tent and gear, and go walk through the rain for the better part of 12-14 hours.
Tatu lead the way, his pace was quick and I could tell he wanted to make miles as fast as possible. We soon were at St Mary’s lake a long glacial lake that is stunning in beauty and size. The deep blue water was amazing but the stiff wind coming across made things cool. The rain had stopped and it felt nice so we layered down for a bit only an hour later to put back on more clothes.
We reached the end of the lake which seemed endless and soon we were in tourist central as we approached St Mary’s falls. We stopped for photos and a lady asked us if we were father and son, Tatu Jo is concerned his 5,000 miles has made him look old. I laughed and we carried on, soon it started to rain right as we headed to Piegan Pass a large 2500’ish climb. We opted for our ponchos….
Now seeing how we are at the end of the hike, running low on funds and in BFE we opted for the $3.99 jobs at the two medicine store. As we put them on and soon discovered they would cover our packs and us quite well. We walked slowly up hill in the rain and kept seeing snow on the steep faces in front of us. We trudged along and met some hikers on the way down who went to Virginia Tech, go Hokies. We chatted for a bit and they told us to look for two Grizzlies on our way up a sow and cub down below the trail. I never saw them but Tatu Jo’s pretty sure he caught a glimpse.
We soon stood atop the pass it was cloudy and windy. The rain and dampness cut like a knife and we hurried our way down the other side as fast as possible. Soon back in the forest we looked at out GPS and discovered we were two hours away.
The trail was great and the rain stopped. The last two miles were a mess a large horse group had ridden the trail during the downpour and it was a soupy muddy mess. Each step slid or squished and soon our shoes were a pound or two heavier with mud. We soon reached the road and many Glacier lodge. The lodge is really cool but expensive we considered eating dinner there but after seeing that a bowl of chili was $18.95 decided to go to the other hotel by the campground to eat.
We so arrived at swift current and walked into the hotel, who shall be sitting there but Paul and Chantal. We said hello and got added to their name for a table. I ran and grabbed a snack and drink and then got the story to why they were there. The two of them missed a turn and went 5 miles off trail after that and the rain they said screw it and hitched to the hotel. they have their tent set up I the backcountry site in the campground where we will be tonight.
We got wifi and I received a message from Naomi “The Punisher” that her husband “AYCE” was with their car and could give us a ride back to Portland. I texted AYCE and arranged to ride back with them and snorkel on the 11th. Snorkel and The Punisher have been hiking the GDT and due to weather are finishing early this week. So all 5 of us will drive back home together what and amazing way the universe works to bring so many friends together in remote Montana.
You see AYCE just finished hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail or PNT, which starts in La Push, WA and ends at Glacier National Park at Watertown or Chief Mountain like the CDT. The Great Divide Trail is the Canadian extension of the GDT and runs all way north or Jasper. Since AYCE was done he went to Jasper to help his wife The Punisher and my friend Snorkle, who if you recall hiked in the San Juans with me, they two have had some bad weather so are getting off trial this week.
Anyway we enjoyed a great dinner and then hit the laundry for some dryer time for sleeping bags and shoes. We rolled up to the site at dark and set up shop. The folks already there had a fire going and despite the rain we hung out and had a beer before bed.
Tomorrow is a big bay our last full day on trail. We have 33.8 miles to goat haunt shelter, and only two high passes left to cross. Canada here I come and man are we going to party when it’s over.