My first two weeks on the CDT were incredible, and tough! The permit system for backcountry camping in Glacier National Park is a bit complicated, and with all of the Northbounders flipping up due to snow in Colorado, the permits became VERY limited. I found myself having to do big miles right off the bat with massive climbs each day while also carrying bear spray and a bear can, extra weight I'm not used to. Fortunately, the incredible views absolutely made up for the intensity of this first week on trail!
I was able to recover from Glacier NP at Looking Glass Base Camp in East Glacier Park, a wonderful family-run hostel that absolutely "gets" hikers. Spacemaker and I were able to slackpack a section northwest of town and then headed into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, one of the most remote areas of the entire trail. Less than a quarter mile south of town, I saw a bear right on trail! It was as startled by me as I was by it, and with a soft "Hey bear!", it darted off into the woods at full speed. I hiked "The Bob" on my own, starting to push my body and mind to see what I could do. There were many knee-deep river crossings and I began to forget what it felt like to have dry feet! I hiked my first trail marathon (26.2 miles!) on day 11, despite my heavy load, wet feet and a LOT of mud. I'm excited to see what my body can do when my hiker legs fully come in!!
As I continued hiking, I took more notice of the hundreds of cut trees that lay along the side of the trail. I thought about the hands that may have cut them and the many hours spent keeping this trail clear. I have so much gratitude for the employees and volunteers who work so hard to maintain this trail while keeping our wild land wild.
Sometimes you find a beautiful spot but your tent doesn't quite fit. In this case, I just couldn't pass it up and wedged my tent in anyway. This beautiful lake in the Winds was such a treat. I even had a weekender out with his family come and visit for a bit, some welcome social time after a number of days hiking alone.
After hiking through Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Pintler Wilderness, Yellowstone National Park, the Wind River range and countless other breathtaking locations with epic vistas and natural wonders, many CDT hikers dread "the basin" in southern Wyoming. I had been hearing about it for hundreds of miles, with lots of fearmongering on...