OUR LADY OF THE ROCKIES
CDT Day 54: 15 miles (24km)
Downtown to Trailhead 6 miles + Maude S Canyon Trail 4 Miles + CDT Mile 2561.5 – 2566.5
Sunday June 9, 2019
Whatever the weather for the days ahead we just have to move on. We’ve already taken more than half of our planned rest days and we are about a third of the way through the distance of the trail. However, it was great to see that today it is predicted to be 17F warmer then yesterday. So pleased we were not out hiking in yesterday snowstorm.
Before getting back on trail we needed to stop at an outdoor store to buy an air horn. Two people have recommended them to us as being the best deterrent for Grizzlies. The bear spray, which we are also carrying, is a last resort. The store did not open till 10am so it was going to be a late start.
We left the motel at 9am and stopped for breakfast at Gamers Cafe, a beautiful 1930s art deco cafe in the old town. While waiting for our order we struck up a conversation with a fellow at the next table. He was interested in what we were doing, and likewise as he looked to be motorbike touring. His name was Kevin and he was an aeronautical engineer from Minnesota. Hammer had seen his motorbike at the motel and thought it was very well set up for touring. Kevin designed and built extra fuel tanks and other modifications on the bike for distance touring. Kevin’s plan for this trip was to reach the Arctic Circle travelling primarily on dirt roads.
It was an interesting conversation, which meant that we were late leaving the cafe. The outdoor store was on the way to the trailhead so that was OK. The sun was shining and we were happy to be on our way.
The map showed that we would pass near a statue of Our Lady of the Rockies. It was visible from way downtown. It was going to be a big climb to get to the trail. It was 1.30pm by the time we made it to Maudes S Canyon trailhead. This is a 4 mile trail which connects the CDT to Butte. Being a beautiful sunny Sunday there were a few people out for day hikes. I had forgotten how nice it is to be on a nature trail with other people on a beautiful day.
The climb up to rejoin the CDT took us just under 2 hours for just a bit over 2,000 feet in elevation rise. As we climbed up the size and spread of the township of Butte became obvious. As did the size of a mine on its doorstep.
A light wind rustled the pine tree tops as we rejoined the CDT. The heady scent of the surrounding pine forest in the afternoon sun was once again intoxicating. I so missed this beautiful aroma. I can’t describe how nice it felt to be hiking in the silence and the afternoon sunshine.
The CDT trail goes towards the huge statue of the Lady of the Rockies. We could see it on approach and just assumed that we would get an opportunity for a closer look. But the trail bypasses it completely. It was such a disappointment, we didn’t want to go back to look for a side trail.
Late in the day we passed numerous perfect campsites. We crossed quite a few flowing crystal clear streams, and not a cow poop in sight. A great day being back on trail.