CDT day 93: I’ve missed the desert

August 5
Mileage: 33
1724 miles hikes

I have some wild dream about the world ending and meteors falling from the atmosphere, wake up to the moon, and when I wake again it’s morning. Today we’re in the great basin! Flat jeep roads through sagebrush forever! I should do some massive miles today, right? But my stomach has been bothering me the last few days, and I don’t feel awesome. I’ll get as far as I get, I guess.

The day goes like this: I’m walking on a jeep road listening to my audiobook while the sky does wild things. Overcast, wind, hot sun, wind, wild clouds, now it starts to sprinkle, the clouds blow over and then the hot sun comes out again. I’m listening to The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, and it’s perfect. So completely different from where I am at the moment that it lifts me off of the trail, out of my head. I take a couple of breaks at water sources- springs trampled by cows, but the water is good. Clear and cold. Tasting faintly of earth. I eat but my appetite is not too good. My stomach sort of hurts all day. Maybe this will pass? Whatever it is.

Right when I get to camp the wind picks up hard and rain pounds down. We wrestle with our shelter but then just give up and stand watching the storm, waiting for it to pass. It finally does right at dark, leaving a blustery warm sagebrush desert, coyotes yipping on the distant ridge. I set up my tarp and lay inside, enjoying the balmy air. I’ve missed camping in arid places like this. The desert is my favorite!

Photos on instagram

CDT day 92: the great divide basin of awesomeness

August 4
Mileage: 17
1691 miles hiked

There’s a woman staying at Kitt’s house named Virginia- she’s visiting her sister, who works at NOLS, en route to adventures on the west coast. Virginia offers to drive us, and Buck-30 as well, back to the trail today. This is incredible, as the hitch between Lander and the CDT is known to be super hard. Around midday, after we’ve done all our last-minute errands and eaten a final burger, she packs us all into her little car for the drive. Thank you Virginia!!

Wyoming’s great divide basin is big, and flat, and open, and bright, and a gentle breeze is blowing so the afternoon is not too hot. The air smells of sagebrush and herds of antelope stream across the plains before us. The trail is almost entirely on soft jeep trails. I am stoked.

After seventeen miles we reach the Little Sweetwater River, which winds through a sagebrush ravine, and sit on its banks, eating our dinners. Spark makes nacho soup, a brilliant concoction of instant refried beans, olive oil, chips and melted cheese. Track Meat has packed out a pulled pork sandwich. I eat chips and jerky and rehydrated kale. The light grows dim and the mosquitos come out.

It’s good to be in the nature again.

Photos on instagram

CDT day 91: thunderstorms, naps and thai buffets: a zero in Lander

August 3
Mileage: zero

Capn crunch and almond milk for breakfast. Walking to the post office. It’s hot in Lander. Thai lunch buffet at the Siam Cafe- only $8.75! Iced green tea. Buck-30 is here! Wild Iris outdoor store- looking at all the fancy pricey gear. I splurge and buy myself a present- a hiking dress from a local company. It looks like little house on the prairie. It’s actually the flower-print hiking dress of my dreams. Collared with snap buttons up the front. Is it really meant for hiking long distances? It’s made of rayon and I found it at a gear store… Am I about to destroy this nice thing that I just bought? I never pay retail for stuff. We’ll see. I like walking around town in this flowered dress with my battered trail runners and my camo Gila Wilderness cap. In my head, I make up the character that I am- I live in the mountains with my super-conservative fundamentalist family. Everyone is homeschooled. We make all our own clothes. I’m not allowed to listen to the radio or talk to strangers. But dang, I’m a good hunter. This dress needs some blood on it. That would complete the look, I think.

Afterwards I mostly sit on the couch and write my blog. The boys play endless rounds of magic. Laundry and showers and leftover spaghetti. We finish the entire giant bowl of kale salad. In the afternoon a thunderstorm rolls in while I’m napping- The power is out, I hear someone say in my dreams. Kitt’s friends come and go, and we chat with them. Thank god for Kitt!!

Tomorrow we start the great divide basin- it’s gonna be a hot one.

Thank you Kitt for letting us stay at your wonderful house!

Photos on instagram

CDT day 90: Lander, Wyoming!

August 2
1674 miles hiked

Since I didn’t eat dinner I wake hungry after about four hours, and stare at the moonlight on the fabric of the tarp. The moon is so bright it’s like a car’s headlights are pointed at me. Oh, moon! I lie there until dawn, feeling warm and cozy but very, very awake. Ah, I knew should’ve eaten dinner.

We’ve got just thirteen miles to highway 28 this morning, on a smooth dirt road through bright rolling sagebrush. As soon as the sun comes up it’s hot, and there are cows lolling about in the water sources. A preview of what the great divide basin will be like! We’ve spent some quality time among the cows, and we’ve figured them out. You know what they’re saying? It’s not Moo. It’s Matt. Maaaaaaaatt. MATT! Matt? Maaaatt. Say it aloud. You’ll understand.

Spark and I walk together, making jokes about pooping and farting and talking about what food we’d like to eat in town, per usual. I’ve got my heart set on spaghetti and kale salad- I’ve been thinking about this meal for days. An incredibly kind woman, Kitt, who hiked the CDT in 2013, has offered us use of her house in Lander. She’ll be out of town while we’re there, but she’s hidden a key for us. I am beyond stoked for this, and we’ve been talking about it for days. A real house, where we can cook dinner! Spaghetti and kale salad!!

We get a hitch into Lander within minutes, somewhat miraculously, and 30 minutes later we’re at the Lander bar, ordering burgers and salads. I smell the worst I’ve smelled on the entire CDT so far and people are staring at us, but not in the usual hostile way. NOLS is based out of Lander, so people are used to outdoorsy types, although the outdoorsy people they’re used to seeing are much cleaner and less fried-looking than us. I don’t care though. My salad has olives in it!! We find Track Meat and the three of us head to Kitt’s house, stopping on the way for dinner ingredients. I make a massive bowl of kale salad, some marinara, and both regular and GF noodles. Some other folks are staying at Kitt’s house too, and we sit in the backyard chatting and eating. Spark and Track Meat destroy a half gallon of cookies and cream ice-cream. Much relax.

Photos on instagram

CDT day 89: Cirque of Towers day/the hardest day

August 1
Mileage: 27
1661 miles hiked

I sleep so, so hard. Almost too hard. I’m usually a light sleeper. Dang, I must’ve been tired.

I’m usually kind of slow when I start out in the morning- I fidget, adjust things, stop to get water, poop, put on sunscreen. Most mornings I lose about a half hour this way, and feel like I’m running behind until after lunch, when I hit cruising speed and am finally able to turn my brain off. This morning I am extra slow, I think from being worn out from the past few days. Our first act of the morning is to climb up and over Texas Pass, one of those thousand-feet-of-elevation-gain-in-a-mile/faint-path-through-the-steep-scree passes, of which we will have several today, each one going up to nearly twelve thousand feet. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong- like an enchanted high-altitude land of rock and water, but boy am I tired. I make it to the top of the col and down the equally steep descent, at the bottom of which I feel shaky and exhausted, and check the time- I’ve gone three miles in two hours.

Fuck. Fuck fuck. We’re supposed to do 30 miles today- but how the fuck is that even going to be possible now? I try to pick up the pace, but the descent is tricky- so many boulders and roots and things in the trail! Spark said the other day that the tread on the CDT feels to him like a blend of the PCT and the AT, and if that’s true I can definitely understand now why the AT is so hard. I can’t hike fast in this! Spark is in his element, though- rock-hopping is like his favorite thing, and the trail today is one long rock hop. I haven’t seen him for hours, although I do see his footprints. Track Meat is even farther ahead- he camped a few miles past us last night. I start to stress a little bit- I’ve got to keep up!

But I can’t. I can’t I can’t. Nothing I do will make my body move faster over this high steep rocky trail. I even take the wrong trail for a bit, adding about 30 minutes to my day. It’s 12:40 when I reach Temple Lake before the final steep pass (which will climb a thousand feet in .5 miles, natch). I’m hungry and dehydrated, and I’ve hiked just 9 miles.

Nine miles by 12:40. And I only took one five minute break all morning, to get water. I didn’t think I’d see Spark again but he’s at the lake, finishing his lunch. I shove some food into my face and then set out for this final giant climb. Switchback up the meadow. Hop from boulder to boulder. Faint path in the scree. I watch the lake grow smaller below me, the granite world stretching away. The sun is so hot! And the horseflies land on me when I least expect it, leaving painful welts. I have to stop every few minutes on the climb to catch my breath. At this rate I’m getting nowhere fast. I start to feel so, so frustrated- frustrated and tired. There’s this thing that happens when I reach a certain point of exhaustion- I just start to cry. I cry and cry, and there’s no stopping it. So that’s what I do. I cry.

I reach the top of the pass, cross a field of sun-baked boulders and begin the descent- the narrowest of switchbacks in a near-vertical scree slope. At one point the switchback I’m on just dissapears for a few feet into impossibly steep scree, before picking up again. This shouldn’t be a big deal- I could just hop over the spot. But if I fell- fuck I hate steep scree! I start to cry and then I’m sitting on the trail, tears blearing up my vision. I’m tired! I’m tired and I’m scared and I have no more energy left for these constant small obstacles today, dammit!

It’s one of those days. Actually it’s the lowest day I’ve had on the CDT so far- even when I was sick in Montana my morale was higher than this.

Low moment. Today I am having a low moment.

It happens.

The tread does not grow easier once I’m down the pass, as I’d hoped it might. I’m walking cross-country over lumpy alpine meadow, following a river down a beautiful valley. Somehow I haven’t been drinking enough water, and my pee is dark. I stop in the shade of a pine and make myself drink water. I haven’t eaten much so I force down a few bars. And then I just plod. Plod and cry, cry and plod. The crying is the fatigue and anxiety coming out of my eyeballs, releasing and releasing. Oh, it’s definitely one of those days.

I enter a dark forest and the trail becomes faint- I lose it a couple of times and have to bushwack, climbing over tangled blowdowns and up steep rock. Every time the trail climbs it goes straight up- no switchbacks. I drag my trekking poles behind me, feeling like a pathetic fool. I calculate my pace- there’s no way I’m doing 30 today, unless I hike until 10 p.m. 25 though- 25 I could do. I wonder how far ahead Spark is. One of the things that’s reached a sort of peak of frustration for me today is knowing that no matter how hard I try, I will always be the slow one in the group. I don’t walk faster than 3 mph. I just don’t. I’m like a fuel-efficient sedan with absolutely no power. Track Meat, Spark and I do the same miles, but I literally only see the dudes during the day because they stop and take long breaks or intentionally wait for me. I have no control over whether I’ll see them or not, or when- and sometimes they don’t stop, for whatever reason, and I’m just sort of screwed. I worry that today will be one of those days. I’m having an epically shitty, low day, and I really, really don’t want to camp by myself tonight. I want to be around my nice dude-friends and say “Today was hard” and have them say “Yeah those passes were hard” and then we all stare off into space together while we eat our dinners. But to do that I’d have to catch up to Spark and talk him into camping before 30 miles. Which I’m pretty sure he’d be down to do- we both have extra food, and he’s been pretty worn out by this section too. But in order to talk to him, he’d have to stop and wait for me. And I imagine he’s about an hour ahead, just cruising in his own world, trying to get to camp. Fuck. Fuck fuck.

This seems like a little thing but it’s also the story of my life- last year I was the slowest walker in my group on the PCT, and this year I am too. I don’t mind maxing out at 3mph- 3mph is all you need on a long trail, and the fact that I walk slower is probably one of the reasons I rarely have foot pain. But it’s hard to be crossing a big open space and watch your friends get farther, and farther, and farther ahead… and to know that you likely won’t catch up until camp, unless they decide to stop and wait for you.

Every. Fucking. Day.

But maybe Spark will stop and wait today? But no, he’s not stopping. His footprints go on and on. I’m so fucking tired of staring at my friends’ footprints. I’m so tired of feeling like I’m always late for something, on top of everything else that happens each day. I’m just fucking tired right now, and I want to camp. But I don’t want to camp alone, not tonight.

In the evening the trail at last drops down into smooth flat third-growth forest and joins a soft gentle dirt logging road. There’s a parking lot with a campground and a trail register- Spark is about an hour ahead, and he writes that he’s hiking until eight. It’s 9 p.m. and getting dark when I finally reach the spot where he’s camped, on a ridge above a small, tannin-colored stream. I’m so tired that I don’t even want to eat dinner. Spark and I have a heart-to-heart, and he tells me that he had no idea that I felt so frustrated about not being able to keep up, or that it was a hard thing for me. Or that I was having such a rough time today. We all just sort of act like we’re always fine out here, and I take it for granted that I have to tell people when I’m doing badly, or ask specifically for what I need. It feels awkward and vulnerable to do so, but I ask Spark if he’ll check in with me during lunch, in hard sections like this, about where we’re camping/how far I actually think I can go, since I might not see him again for the rest of the day. Of course Spark has no problem with this. Of course he’ll check in. He doesn’t give me shit, or call me slow. He doesn’t act like I’m just being needy or unreasonable. Spark gets it. He’s my friend. And he’s a really good dude, this one.

Tomorrow we get to Lander! I am so, so ready to take a zero.

Photos on instagram

CDT day 88: george clooney and captain picard

July 31
Mileage 29
1634 miles hiked

I wake up- is it dawn? I have to pee. I wriggle out of my sleeping bag and pull myself out of the tarp. It’s not dawn, it’s the moon! Oh moon, where have you been? How did you get full so fast? The way time goes by on the trail… how many weeks do we even have left? I can’t think about it.

I wake again to actual dawn, warm and cozy because there was zero condensation last night. It’s cold again this morning, but not too cold. Normal cold for 10,400 feet? Yay July!

I’m sore all over today. My arms, chest, shoulders… I don’t actually use those parts of my body very much out here and climbing knapsack col was a full-body experience. I guess I’m an epic weakling, because today I can barely bend my arm back to reach my water bottle.

I have reception for a few minutes on a ridge this morning and I get a message from Pox of the Pox and Puss podcast- I hadn’t heard of the show before (only because I’m not much of a podcast listener) but it’s about the appalachian trail thru-hiking experience and thru-hiking in general, and I make a mental note to download some episodes when I’m in town. Apparently Pox asked some people on facebook which trail book they thought should be made into a movie, and a few of them mentioned my book. Standing on the ridge reading my email and learning that people like my book in this way is incredibly soothing, especially since I just got a super-hateful amazon review wherein the reviewer calls me a slut and an idiot and says that I have the IQ of a jar of mayonnaise. Writing memoir means that people don’t just attack the book, they attack you. It’s weird and awful and I’m trying to grow thick skin about it but some days it’s still really fucking hard. Women are also the subject of online bullying much moreso than men- every woman blogger/writer knows what I’m talking about. Online bullies want to tear women down, and to put them in their place. This is the world we live in and sometimes it really fucking sucks.

I am under no illusion that a movie will ever actually be made out of my book, my book being self-published and, to be honest, a little bit boring in the middle (sorry about that folks) but Spark and I joke about what actors would play who as we walk. We decide that I would be played by George Clooney, Spark would be played by Patrick Stewart, Beyonce would play Track Meat and Instigate would play herself. And Ramen, of course, would be played by Reese Witherspoon.

Today is more gentle than yesterday but still there are small steep passes devoid of switchbacks, difficult tread, I lose the trail a couple of times and have to bushwack… I imbibe caffeine and ibuprofen. This section is hard.

Tonight we camp at Billy Lake, a clear gunmetal water at the base of Texas Pass, our first climb on the Cirque of Towers alternate. We’ll go over a bunch of steep high granite passes on this alternate tomorrow, and it will be beautiful. It will also be our last arduous high-alpine day before we drop down towards the great divide basin, wherein the sun will roast us and the wind will beat us on our flat dirt roadwalk out of Wyoming. At camp I wade into the cool waters of billy lake as the sun drops, washing the dirt and dust from the scratches, heat rash, and horsefly bites on my legs. I feel dirtier in this section than I have in a while- the hot sun with no shade, the long climbs, the fact that I haven’t washed my clothes in over a week… what a glorious feeling it will be to take a shower in Lander the day after tomorrow.

Photos on instagram

CDT day 87: Knapsack Col day

July 30
Mileage: 25
1605 miles hiked

We camped in a narrow river canyon tucked between two mountains so the sun doesn’t reach us in the morning- I’m switchbacking up towards Knapsack Col with my numb hands pulled up into the sleeves of my puffy again, my breath misty. We’re climbing up to twelve thousand feet! I’ve eaten a bunch of caffeinated jelly beans and I feel pumped. I love hiking!

Three thousand feet of elevation gain over five miles, the final part being a rock scramble on talus and scree. Rumor has it that this is the toughest day of the entire CDT.

We leave the forest behind. Alpine meadows full of lupine, small cold tarns. Clear light air makes me feel happy and drunk. Granite ridges like rows of busted teeth above, catching the light. There are glaciers up here! I have just one lung! Suddenly the sun is roasting us.

I’m climbing up with Spark and Buck-30. Buck-30 is an unassuming CPA who has hiked 20k miles of trails (I’m guessing). He’s friendly and unpretentious. He does it for the love of adventure, not for the ego. He goes slow if he feels like it, and yet he really knows what he’s doing. He also gets a kick out of the drama within the trail community, and we have fun gossiping as we climb. It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone to gossip with! Track Meat and Spark just don’t care about any of that stuff. Which is one reason I like hiking with them- it keeps me from dwelling too much on little things that don’t matter. But still… there’s something about human drama that has always fascinated me. I’m a writer, I love a good story more than anything! And some of the stuff that goes on… you can’t make this shit up. If you only knew, dear reader, about the drama that goes down within the long-distance hiking community, you would be shocked and amused. Slander and hearsay, rifts and alliances, betrayals… Buck-30 and I jabber on while Spark looks on, bored. I am so entertained.

We reach the col (which wikipedia just informed me is another word for saddle or notch) after huffing and puffing up a faint trail in the talus and scree. We sit in the sun, feeling weak from the elevation. Buck-30 is eating doritos. Track Meat is somewhere ahead- we took too many breaks and lost him. Then down the other side- Spark shoe-skis down the steep dusty scree that was not too long ago covered by the much-receded glacier, Buck-30 picks his way down the boulders and I do a combination of the two, mostly making my way down on my butt. I’ve decided that I dislike climbing/descending on sketchy talus and scree more than most things. I go into these things with such good intentions and yet often end up backed into some sketchy corner, terrified and alone. No me gusta!

I make it down the loose steep rocks, slide a bit on a snowfield and rejoin Spark and Buck-30. More boulders, water running out of everywhere, down down down and we are finally back in the land of flowery meadows. We take a lunch break on a sun-baked granite rock next to a sparkling otherworldly lake and that’s when I realize how slow the morning has been.

The trail up here feels like the PCT through the sierras- twisted and convoluted, full of rocks and roots, always going up or down or around some great obstacle. I’m tired so I’m rolling my ankles a lot, tripping and stumbling, hiking kind of slow. Towards evening the pain in my shoulders becomes so bad that I can’t even hold my trekking pole. I’m also getting this weird stabbing pain in my big toes that I get randomly when I’m tired- like someone is shoving a knife under my toenail. Knapsack Col kicked my ass and I’m kind of falling apart.

We decide to do 25 today instead of our planned 30. The last three miles are some of the hardest of the entire CDT for me- I am just so busted from the day. Spark finds us a nice campsite just far enough above the soggy valley floor (which will turn into a refrigerator as soon as the sun sets on account of the way cold air sinks) and I eat dinner wrapped in my sleeping bag, watching the pink light of the sunset on the granite ridge. Time for sleep!

Photos on instagram

CDT day 86: diamonds on the grass

July 29
Mileage: 30
1580 miles hiked

Another cold night. In the morning our tarps are stiff with frost and our water is frozen again. I sleep til 6:30 like the cozy, hedonistic thru-hiker that I am and when I wake the sun has just come up over the lake and its warm rays are beginning to melt the frost on the grass. Spark and Track Meat are just waking up as well. How can we get up early when it’s cold like this?

Who am I kidding. We never get up early. It’s awesome.

The lumpy meadows are beautiful covered in frost- I walk through them, numb hands pulled up into the sleeves of my down jacket, wishing I could somehow capture the way the ice sparkles like diamonds in the sun. But nah, it’s just there.

We climb up to Gunsight Pass, which from a distance looks like a notch in the mountain. Carrying a heavy pack is starting to bother me today- I’ve got shooting pains in both my shoulders, and my knees are sore. Again, how do regular backpackers do it. How.

We have lunch next to a gorgeous clear river, our shoes, wet from the meadows, drying in the sun. Then the rest of the day is flat- meadows and forests, meadows and forests. In the afternoon we come around a grassy bend and there is Green River Lake set against some granite peaks- it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the CDT so far. We must be getting into the winds! The water is an impossible blue color, on account of the glacial silt washed down from the mountains. There’s a cluster of ancient cabins on the shore of the lake, and we poke around inside. I jump in the water, gasping at the cold. Spark and Track Meat won’t go in.

The trail follows the Green River upstream after the lake, and I look at the sparkling water as I walk. What a magical planet we live on. Camp is at the base of the climb that will take us up to Knapsack Col, which is said to be one of the best parts of the CDT- tomorrow we climb to 12 thousand feet!

Photos on instagram

CDT day 85: a perfect day

July 28
Mileage: 32.5
1550 miles hiked

We wake up to shelters crusted in ice and water partially frozen in our bottles. How did this happen? July in Wyoming. Go home weather, you’re drunk.

This weather feels nice once we start walking, though. Cool and crisp and sunny, and the trail climbs gently along the forested ridge. We’re wearing all our layers. We pretend it’s a brisk fall day in Maine.

We make up an alternate partway through the morning- the trail makes a big arc to go around a steep rock bluff but we decide to go up and over it. Its steep scree but the scree is big and it feels safe and fun to maneuver on. Once on top we’re warm from all the climbing, and we have a sense of accomplishment. Hiking is fun!

I feel freaking fantastic today- I slept like a log in the cold last night. And I’m starting to feel strong again. I’m carrying 6 days of food, the most food I’ve ever carried at once, but oddly my pack doesn’t feel too bad. The elevation profile continues to be gentle and kind- there are faded jeep tracks along rolling ridges, broad lumpy fields of waving brown grass with trail that comes and goes. Springs, small clear streams that trickle through the grass. Thank goodness for Wyoming.

At lunchtime the temperature peaks at a balmy fifty degrees. We sit next to a pond wrapped in our sleeping bags eating strange combinations of junk food, watching our shelters dry where we’ve spread them on the grass. Afterwards I listen to Willie Nelson’s Stardust cover album as I plod through the meadows and fields, the ragged peaks of the Tetons on the far horizon.

Time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much

Camp is at Lake of the Woods, a largish lake spotted with lily pads, the waxing moon reflecting off its surface. Track Meat is there when I arrive, building a fire in the fire ring. We rarely build fires, but what a genius idea! The temperature is already plummeting and we huddle around the fire, absorbing the magic heat and consuming our underwhelming dinners. Ah, winter camping. A loon or something is calling in the woods. I am happy!

Photos on instagram

CDT day 84: snow in July

July 27
Mileage: 3
1517.5 miles hiked

I wake up at 2 a.m. in our motel room, thinking it’s morning. But it’s only… 2 a.m. I’m awake for a while in the dark, answering emails and doing errands on my phone. Everything piles up when I’m in the woods, unawares- it piles up and piles up, and then when I get to town and have reception it’s like a deluge. I think of the main character in the Dave Eggars book The Circle, and how she would “open the chute” every morning at her desk job. It feels like that.

I wake again and it’s morning. I feel like another version of myself in hotel rooms- clean but wearing dirty clothes, hair fluffy, sunburn washed off. This version of myself goes to the cafe in front of the hotel for breakfast. The Kowabunga Bandits, freshly laundered, order huge plates of sausage and eggs. The cafe is also a donut shop, and many donuts are consumed. I am now in a glutenfog. Then begins the hustle and bustle of a town day.

We do so many things, and yet by the time we hitch out at 6 p.m. all the things are not even done. My backpack feels crazy heavy- this next stretch to Lander, Wyoming through the Wind River range is 165 miles, the longest resupply any of us have ever done. We want to do the section in 5.5. days, but we’re carring 6 days of food just in case. It feels like there’s an anvil on my back. Fuck! How do regular backpackers do this? There are two really cool alternates in this section, that are the same length as the CDT and that most everyone does- Knapsack Col and Cirque de Towers. I think about these words as I pack up. Col. What is a “col”? And towers! This section is supposed to be really difficult, and most people bring at least seven days of food- but hey, we did Montana. Every day that passes in blissful gentle Wyoming makes me more fully aware of how hard Montana actually was. So much steep climbing, never ever flat. I think my blog posts in Montana actually got pretty negative for a while- especially when I had giardia. Sorry about that folks. Sometimes shit is just bummersville.

“Are you sure you want to hitch out tonight?” Says the woman who gives us a ride back to the trail. “It’s supposed to get down to 33 degrees.”

“Yes?” We say, knowing she means in Dubois- it’ll be even colder at the pass, up where the trail is. At the pass we shoulder our packs and set out- we’re wearing all of our layers and a frigid wind is blowing. We hike just a few miles to water and set up our shelters in the trees. Soon the sun is blocked by great dark clouds and presently it begins to snow. Bitter cold snowflakes, falling down around us. I realize as I’m eating my cold-soaked quinoa dinner mush that I forgot to check the weather, and I have no idea how long this cold front will last. I wonder what this section will bring…

Photos on instagram