CDT mile 2433.3, miles hiked 25.2
It sprinkled a bit last night and I woke from it to move in under the covered porch so my quilt would stay dry. As I was laying there to go back to sleep I heard wolves howling through the dark. What an amazing experience it was to hear wild wolves in their native range crying to each other through the night. The next time I woke up was about 4 am and I heard two owls calling back and forth to each other. I am only on the edge of the Bob Marshall wilderness and already I feel like I am in a scene from a Jack London book.
Finally, we both woke to our alarms, we made coffee and enjoyed a big breakfast from the hiker box. We loaded up our packs with what we knew would be our last big food carry for the CDT. We walked out to the road and in a minute flagged down a car. Roger was on his way to go fly fishing, he moved stuff around in his rig and drove us back to the end of the road where we had walked to benchmark. We touched our spot and headed north keeping our continuous footsteps.
The trail meandered through a nice forest and down along a river valley. My feet are still killing me so we had to stop every hour or two for me to give them a rest. At 9:30 we see a guy with a Snow White beard heading south towards us. His name we soon learned was Big Daddy D and he was 4.3 miles away from completing his triple crown at age 61. He was looking for us in particular because he had met cheesy yesterday and she told him I was a day behind. He was so excited to meet the president of ALDHA-West and even told me he is coming to the gathering.
We dropped our packs and got to know him. Even though we had just had a break his enthusiasm at meeting us and his joy of meeting us on his way to complete his triple crown was too much to ignore. For the next half hour or so we joked and chatted, and then Big Daddy D gave us the hook up of hookups. After learning how my box was stolen at bench make he gave us all of his food that was left, then a piece of foam to make insoles out of for my shoes and best of all an extra pair of insoles to try. He gave Tatu-Jo duct tape for his feet, snacks and bit of a hard time for good measure.
Finally, we parted ways and we all agreed to meet at the gathering in Nevada city next month. Man it’s going to be so great to see Tatu-Jo get his double triple crown and then see Big Daddy D get his triple crown. My friends She-ra and Delightful are also getting their triple crowns which means my desire to complete mine will grow even more. Who knows maybe I’ll find my way to the PCT in the next couple of years but for 2017 I have my sights set on a few trips that will not have me gone from home for so long.
We started up the trail and saw giant wolf prints, actually we had been seeing them all day so clearly they are active in this area. A few miles later and wolf tracks turned to giant grizzly tracks. We starts making noises yelling “coming down, down town Charlie Brown” and “Hey Bear” also a few whoops and then whatever other crazy thing comes to mind. Luckily Tatu-Jo and I are both short, stocky and loud so we probably sound like ten people coming through the forest which so far has kept the bears at bay.
We called off our heads and feet in some creeks and then started the 2000′ climb up to the Chinese Wall. Now the Chinese wall is a famous rock formation found in the bob, and it is an amazing sight to be hold. I first learned of this rock formation 20 years ago when I read Eric Ryback’s CDT book while in college. It was amazing to sit under its giant walls taking in the views and think of sitting in my dorm room back at VA Tech reading about someone else’s adventures along the divide and know I had finally achieved a life dream to do the same myself.
We hiked on and now besides following a mother bear and cub prints had a 3rd set we were following on trail a really big bear, male? We talked about bears and decided to cook before it got to late. We found a spot by a spring and cooked up some chili and rice. A young black tail deer came to visit us and we enjoyed its company while we ate. Finally we packed back up and walked a couple more miles to make camp.
We are sleeping below the Chinese wall on a bed of bear grass so lumpy it’s hard to lay flat. In the morning we are heading to the spotted bear pass alternate the final alternate for us on the CDT. It should be exciting earlier this season researchers were using barbed wire and cow blood along the route to do a grizzly DNA study so chances are good we’ll see a couple big bears along the way.
It’s really winding down quick tomorrow is September 1st and my permit to reach Canada is for September 9th. Just a little over 1 more week of having to blow up my Neo-Air at night, sleep on lumpy ground and hear natures wonder at night, well that is when not hearing Tatu-Jo snore. I will miss trail life for sure mostly I’ll miss not having to shower or worry about how I look all day. Oh well maybe I can keep that going at home…..well until next time enjoy your wild America.