CDT mile 2457.3, miles hiked 24

a cool trail sign gift

Seeing how we need to arrive in East Glacier on Sunday and preferably as early as we can be since it will be our last town stop before the end, we opted to cut off 17 miles and do the spotted bear alternate. Now the alternate in the map looks straightforward; drop down to junction walk down Spotted Bear River and walk up Pentagon Creek to switch back pass. This pass will then take us to clack creek and down the backside to the CDT.

bear research

We made quick time coming down from the Chinese Wall and soon found ourselves navigating a muddy trail along the Spotted Bear River. The sides of the trail were a combination of high grass and huckleberries, finally, we found some ripe berries and munched as we hiked along the trail. The vegetation was wet from the previous nights’ downpours so all morning we got soaked as we hiked through, it’s sort of like hiking through a car wash.

We stopped in a sunny spot by a creek and I took the opportunity to clean up some. This is a long run for us between towns and the lack of shower and laundry has us smelling rank, but worse so I’m covered in salt and dirt that eventually causes the dreaded chaffing and IBS (itchy butt syndrome). So I washed my body, my boxers briefs and my socks, set them on my pack to dry as I hiked and away we went.

now that’s some serious bear scat

At 1pm we stopped by the river for a break and to dry out our shelters and sleeping bags. It rained hard on and off all night and our stuff was damp and clammy. So we spread out our yard sale, Tatu-Jo took a nap and I went for a dip in the water and cooled off my sore feet. It felt great to relax a bit, enjoy the river and rest since we only have to go 117 in 5 days we have decided to slow our mileage a bit and this allows for a more relaxed day.

After our long break, we came to a remote forest service cabin and met a solo hiker out on a 2-week loop of the bob marshal wilderness. The guy had a .45 caliber revolver strapped to his chest, hello bearanoia. We chatted with him and then 3 USFS law dogs rode up on horses and towing 4 mules. They were on patrol and super nice guys we talked about the hike and the area. The one ranger told us that 900 grizzly bears live in between Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. Man no wonder we see so much sign and already saw one. We bid our farewells and started our grind up to Switchback Pass.

Now Switchback Pass is a fitting name I am convinced they decided to see how many switchbacks they could put in over 6.5 miles. Tatu-Jo and I climbed for what seemed like a full day but really it was a few hours. On our last push uphill we met “uncle Walter” a nice retired section hiker who has been hiking the CDT In sections for 20 years and has completed over 1000 miles, now that’s dedication.

We passed over Switchback Pass and dove down to the first water found for dinner. I fired up the stove, Tatu-Jo hit the water and we both chowed down. As soon as we were done the temperature dropped and we began to shiver, so we loaded up the packs and started back up the trail. We only made it about a mile and decided to camp. We are tucked into a grove of lodgepole pines and in the morning well drop down to rejoin the CDT.
I got a message from Suzy on my Delorme saying I have been gone for 3 seasons and its time to get home before winter, man if she only realized how hard I am pushing to do just that. Just 8 days to go, it is so surreal yet I am so ready to get to Canada. We chatted today about things we look forward to when we get home. For me it is a trip to the ocean, I miss the salt air, the marine layer, and fresh seafood. I can’t wait to get to the beach and walk along the surf in the sand letting the sand wear down my clauses. I’m going to eat a giant bucket of steamer clams, then a crab and wash it all down with a nice Oregon IPA. I guess we need town soon I’m daydreaming, night dreaming and blogging about food I can’t have. Oh well soon enough I’ll be at the Pacific and enjoy it’s bounty, until then I’m determined to find me a prime rib in town!

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