CDT Day 90: 20.6 miles/33 km

CDT Mile 747.0 – 767.6

Monday July 15, 2019

The Post Office opened right on 8 o’clock. We got our resupply parcel and were packed and ready to go at 9. It was exciting to be rested and heading out for our next section of the hike, 100 miles from Leadore, Idaho to Lima, Montana. Sam, the owner of the Leadore Inn where we stayed, drove us out to Bannock Pass to rejoin the trail. Another hiker Soda (Michael from London) whom we met in the Bob Marshall Wilderness was going back on trail as well. He came in yesterday afternoon just after the store had closed. There was another hiker staying at the Inn who came out with us but he may have taken a vow of silence. He did not talk to anybody, the whole time he was at the Inn or in the car. And when Sam dropped us off at Bannock Pass he just left no thank you, no happy trails. I guess you got to hike your own hike.

We were back on trail and on our way just before 10am. Soda started with us and soon he took off as he wanted to finish in 4 days.

Hammer and I were happy to just slowly hike along enjoying the wonderful ridgetop views of the mountains and the valley below. The day was warm with a clear blue sky. It was a joy to be back and hiking in the high mountains. From Bannock Pass we had 10 miles of uphill hiking to reach to Elk Mountain which is at 10,100 feet. This was an elevation gain of around 2,500 feet. We were mostly on a little used jeep road which was almost vertical in sections. Hiking seemed easy as we were rested.

Dark clouds started to roll in as we neared the mountain top. Soon fat raindrops followed by little hailstones were pelting on us. I can’t believe how quickly the weather changes here. The rain soon stopped then came back again about half an hour later.

We made the top of Elk Mountain and we thought it would be downhill from here. Not so, we stayed on the ridgetop which undulated as we headed away from Elk Mountain.

We stopped at a spring to filter water. It was gushing clean and cold water. Very tempting to not bother filtering but we were not game to take a chance. Just as we finished, 3 of happiest hikers we’ve met in some time came by. They called themselves the northbound bubble: Blue Collar, Colonel and Gutter Spoon just seem to be having a great time. Such a nice encounter which left us feeling upbeat after we left them.

We stayed high and on a ridgetop as the dark clouds danced around us.There was little shelter as the ridges were not vegetated. We stopped for the day at the first group of trees with flattish ground slightly off the trail. The wind was very cold and we wanted a little bit of shelter. And just as we got inside the tent, the rain started again.