CDT mile 2163.7, miles hiked 30 (+2 when lost)

Rainbow Pass

I laid in my bag for a good 20 minutes watching the shooting stars of the meteor shower before my alarm went off at 4:30.  I made some coffee, packed up and Tatu-Jo and I set off on our day.  The trail went up and down the divide and we made really good time.

As we descended to Pintler Creek we were chatting away telling stories.  A mile or so later I felt like something was wrong and looked at my GPS, yup we were a mile off trail down a pack trail.  So we decided to consult our map to see if we could go a different way but we couldn’t, so we turned around and hiked back to the trail junction.

The Pintlers are a swimmers dream come true

When we arrived we looked around and found our correct trail, there was a wood CDT sign but it was faded and the brand no longer had any black char lines, so I took out my sharpie and filled in the lines for those behind us.   We took a break and did our ab work out we had missed two days so we did 24 reps of each exercise by the end we were in pain.

The next part of the day was spent pass bagging.  We first topped out at Pintler Pass and on the way down met a trail crew out for a day hike on their day off. Then it was Rainbow Pass which dropped us by Rainbow Lake.  We took a break at the lake and I soaked my feet and washed up.

The next pass was not a true pass but instead crossed a saddle and dropped us at Warren Lake.  There we heard voices and met two ladies out for a section hike of the CDT.  One of them was a retired lawyer and she told us about thru-hiking the PCT in 1982, very cool.  Our final pass was Cutaway Pass.

Cutaway Pass is a long climb, 1600′ vertical but over 3.7 miles so it was a never-ending uphill grade.  As we climbed we saw a new set of smoke over the mountains.  As we got higher we realized it was a new fire and we were skirting it.  I swear I feel like the fire walker these days and I am sure everyone behind us is convinced me and Tatu-Jo are starting them.  The air got smokey which really is not fun when going uphill.  Finally, as the sun was setting we crested the top of Cutaway Pass, there we saw the fading glow of red on the mountains and smoke settling into the valley.

Fires are keeping us motivated to get north

We hiked on a couple of miles, grabbed water and settled in for the night among the trees.  Tomorrow we kick things off with a climb and then a bushwhack.  We are heading to Anaconda, MT in the morning a short 35-mile jaunt.

Alpenglow on the Pintlers