Mayor’s 2019 Redemption Hike CDT Day 31

CDT Redemption Hike 2019-Hammocking the campsite

Day- 31
Date- July 20, 2019
Location- Slag-a-Melt Lake
Elevation- 8,579 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 22 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 560 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudless, 60s
Injuries- none
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- cozy
Wildlife encounters- rodents
Days without shower- 2
Days without laundry- 2
Hunger/craving- none


Today marks my one month anniversary on trail; June 20th to July 20th. As of today, I am 560 miles into the journey. Accounting for all the days, including zero days… I’ve averaged 18 miles per day. If I take away the 6 zero days I’ve had so far and only include the days I’ve been hiking, then I’ve averaged 22.4 miles per day. I’m happy with the numbers so far, but I want to get them up even more.

Right now my goal is to be out of Montana by August 1st. In order to do that, I have to average 21 miles per day for the rest of the month. I think this is more than doable, even with the zero day I want to take in Lima. I’ll just have to build up a buffer by hiking a few bigger days.

It was a freezing cold morning, but that soon changed with the start of a 3,000 ft climb. While not terribly steep, it was monotonous to no end.

Around mid-morning I spotted a grouse on the trail. It didn’t move as I approached, so I began to prepare myself to dispatch it. I’ve eaten grouse on trail before and they’re absolutely delicious! I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to eat more, especially days out from town.

Staff at the ready, I crept closer and closer. When I was within 4 feet of the bird it was still sitting there. I stopped and just looked at it. It wasn’t afraid. In fact, it was making these soft “cooing” noises like a chicken or a dove. This was too easy. So “too easy” that I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. I lowered the staff and leaned on it as I looked down on the bird. “How do you survive?” I asked it out loud. “It’s your lucky day!” I left grouse sitting and cooing there as I moved on. Reverse psychology is doing wonders for that bird. I didn’t see any other animals the rest of the day.

The giant climb concluded at the top of a gorgeous scree covered ridge. For several miles the trail skirted the ridge before passing into a fabulously green valley full of lakes, ponds, and streams. Once again, the hiking was as leisurely and picturesque as it could be.

For the most part it was a very low key and boring day. The highlight came at the very end of the day, after finishing up a thousand foot climb that descended onto the shores of a lake called Slag-a-Melt.

It was dusk when I met Jetpack there. Small trout were feeding all over the surface of the small lake. I desperately wanted fish, but didn’t have any gear on me yet. I’ve been waiting to get to the Wind River Range before I do any fishing.

It was kinda late when I got to the lake and there was a crude fire-pit beneath the two giant evergreens we were camped beneath and between. At first I told myself I would just make a small fire to ward off the mosquitoes, but then after I had my small fire going, my OCD got the best of me. There were so many nice rocks around, I couldn’t help but do some engineering and build up a big oven.

We had it all; a lake, a big fire, tree cover, a gorgeous silhouette view of the ridge-line, and more mosquitoes than you could ever hope to count. What more could you need?

We’re in a bit of a caldera valley next to a lake, so I know it’s going to be chilly. From a practicality standpoint, this is a terrible campsite. From a scenic (and overall cool spot) standpoint… you don’t care about anything else.

You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to

Go to CDT Day 32.

Go to CDT Day 1


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