Date- July 25, 2019
Location- side of trail
Elevation- 8,947 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 15.9 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 661.2 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudless, 70s
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- cows
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
We actually got back to trail a lot earlier than I thought we would – slightly after 10 am. And thus began what I consider to be the hardest stretch of trail in at least Montana and Idaho. It’s a combination of terrain, exposure, water scarcity, navigation woes, and lack of trail that makes this the most challenging stretch of trail between these two states (in my opinion).
From the get-go, I flew up the trail and climbed a little over 2,000 feet and more than 11 miles to the summit of Elk Mountain in about 3.5 hours. Sitting at the summit I was 10,092 feet above sea level – also, the highest point on the CDT in Montana and Idaho. I took over an hour lunch break up there, enjoying being the highest CDT hiker in two states for that time period. Around 3 pm, Jetpack showed up and took about 15 minutes to rest before we hiked on together.
I kinda wanted to do another 13 miles, and had the time to do so, but Jetpack was set on an easier day out of town – so we only hiked another 5.5 miles from Elk Mountain before camping in a small grove of trees. Since I’m about to take several days off in about a week and will probably end up getting a ways behind Jetpack, I figure I might as well enjoy hiking with her while I can. I still have lots of time to start hiking the big miles, and plan to do so through Wyoming.
Today was fairly leisurely, but I know tomorrow is going to have some surprises and curve balls. I remember it all too well from 2017. We’re camped just below a high ridge right now, and based on our topographical location, I would say we’re in for a comfortable night.
As of right now, Dale is about 80 miles ahead. Salty and Stretch are about 40 or 50 miles ahead. Woodchuck, Quiet Man, and Wingo are around the same area as us – ahead or behind by several miles or so. MAV, Cricket, and Tic Tac are days behind, as far as I know. There are other hikers that I know of who are within the same vicinity, but I haven’t really talked to them enough to write about them or give you a vested interest in them.
If memory serves, tomorrow should be interesting.
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