CDT mile 2375.1, miles hiked 24.5
Our spot last night was a rock outcropping high above Rogers Pass, it provided some wonderful views of the stars and for a few moments I would wake and stare into the heavens. I do love cowboy camping and despite the extreme wind last night I really enjoyed another night under the stars. We awoke a bit drowsy and immediately fired up the stove for some coffee.
We started out with a climb and for the rest of the day that is what we would do, climb for what always seemed like uphill and never an equal amount of downhill. The miles came slow and we were well off our mark of making a 30, so instead of worrying about it we just did our thing am figured wherever we wound up would have to be it for the day.
We walked along the divide we came to a spring which was our only water supposedly for the next 25 miles. On our way to it we jumped 3 bucks still in velvet they took off us and left the little spring to us. We drank until our stomachs were full and then filled all of our bottles and then set of up another mountain. We finally got on a ridge and walked it until we dived down to a high mountain pass.
The pass was Lewis and Clark pass and Meriwether Lewis used the pass on July 7, 1806, on his return from Oregon. We learned that this pass and the road it has are over 6,000 years old and was used by natives to travel to the plains to hunt buffalo and also to access the PNW for trading. It’s pretty awesome to think of how many places I have trekked by foot like Lewis and Clark in the same area as them, maybe I was born a few hundred years too late because I for sure would have loved to have been on that expedition of discovery.
From there we wound our way up to the divide and went up and down and up and down. For the most part, the ridges were grassy with endless views of the surrounding mountains and I must say Montana has a lot of mountains. We finally came to A dry lake late in the afternoon but Tatu-Jo remembered a spring that was up a canyon from his hike in 2013. We walked up the dry wash and as we hit 3/10 of a mile I was beginning to lose faith and then whala water. The spring water was cool and clean we sat by it eating snacks and cameling up.
We left the spring late in the afternoon and began our next climb a good 1100′ feet but since the temperature was getting cooler it was a pleasant climb. We descended into a canyon and since it was 7:30 decided to cook dinner and then hike a mile or two on.
We sat eating dinner talking about life, talking about the hike so far and the fun times I had in New Mexico. After dinner, we packed up and started up out the last climb until we reach benchmark ranch tomorrow for a resupply. As we were walking I looked over about 150 yards and thought man that stump looks like a bear, right when I said, “is that a bear” the silvery grizzly turned and ran up the hill across from us, good response it ran away, bad news for us it ran over the top of the hill we were climbing.
We made lots of noise as we went up the hill and when we reached the top no sign of the bear. Tatu-Jo looked at the cloudy sky and said, “maybe we need to put up our shelters tonight” right then on a distant ridge we saw a big bolt of lightning. The mountains to the east had lightning and no rain, the ones to the west had rain and tons of lightning that was heading our way.
We found a small grove of trees and immediately started getting our shelters up. I have my new gossamer gear the one and it sets up in a flash. I threw all my gear in it, sorted out my smellable items to go into my ursack and went and found a dead tree to tie it too away from my tent. I crawled into my tent right as the storm was coming onto the ridge a 1/4 mile away.
For the next 45 minutes, Tatu-Jo and I laid in our shelters as the sky opened up with spectacular lightning, thunder, rain and huge winds. I must say my new tent did great and I am very impressed by it. Not only did it hold up to the wind and rain but besides some driving rain coming under the vestibule it kept me dry and warm. I sure am glad I have this shelter for this last push it has way more room than my mld duomid and is easier to set up. This might not seem like much to you at home but when you have about a minute to deploy your home for safety a tent that is easy to set up and has full coverage is a true luxury.
Well that’s about it for tonight. The countdown is really starting to get to us. benchmark tomorrow signifies the next to last resupply and the fact we finally saw a bear means that our entrance to the grizzly gauntlet has started.