CHIEF JOSEPH PASS
CDT Day 82: CDT Mile 597.8 – 624.9
(27.1 miles – 43.4 km)
Sunday July 7, 2019
The mornings are beautiful now. Just the right temperature. Breaking camp is not a chore when it’s so nice and warm early. This morning however, dark clouds were hanging over us. Less then half an hour after leaving camp an almighty clap of thunder and lightening was soon followed by fat drops of rain. So we stopped got into our raingear, and less then 15 minutes later it was over.
Just as we were thinking of stopping again to get out of our wet weather gear because it was too warm, we passed a tent. A voice from inside called our names. It was Sully (Kristin) who started on trail in New Mexico same day we did. She was about half a day behind us in Dubois and has been tracking north ever since. We spent a bit of time catching up on what she’s been up to since Dubois and we will probably cross paths again southbound from Rawlins.
After we parted company with Sully we climbed a long uphill, followed by a ridgetop walk. Once up on the ridge we had great views towards snow covered mountain peaks which were not named on our maps. We stopped for breakfast on top of this ridge. Thete was hardly any wind and it was incredibly calm and peaceful. It was tempting to linger just to enjoy the views.
After we descended this ridge, we spent the rest of the day going up and down rolling hills covered in burnt forest at various stages of recovery. Lupins and bear grass, in intensily thick stands, added colour and interest to an otherwise bleak landscape. Occasional patches of unburnt forest were like a breath of fresh air.
The day seem to go by very slowly as it always does when heading into town. We thought we may have escaped the worst of the rainy weather until we got hit by a late afternoon hailstorm with thunder and lightening. Thankfully it didn’t last long. And it wasn’t so bad because it wasn’t overly cold.
Once out of wet weather gear Hammers legs were being eaten alive by bloodthirsty new season mosquitos. A northbound section hiker told us that this area of Montana is known as The Bowl due to the intensity of mosquitos.
We made it Highway 93 just after 6pm. It was right on the border between Idaho and Montana. We had to hitch 31 miles to Darby to resupply for the next 125 mile section to Leodore. There were not many cars going in our direction.
It took about an hour to get a ride with Mike. He lived in Idaho now after 12 years in a suburb north of Darby, where he was a swim coach. He was travelling back from Idaho to work, to finish off this season with his team. It was interesting that the reason he moved was the current political climate. He found the divisiveness distasteful and moved to live in a more united community.
He dropped us off at the Travellers Rest. After getting a room we did our resupply shopping and Hammer did our laundry. Our cabin at the Travellers Rest had a kitchen, where I made our dinner standing up at a kitchen bench. Nice change from sitting on the ground, cooking and eating.
It was a long hard day and despite the fire ravaged landscape we walked through for much of the day, there were many rewards.