Daily Log: Day 47

47 2536.2 7/31/2021 sunny, hot, breeze, clouds. Packed up my new tent easily. On trail at 5:20 with headlamp. Listened to Outlander to help the miles go by. I had many many climbs today. They seemed unending. Water sources were sparse too. Got to one for lunch and one at end of day. I was hoping to camp at the end of day water source but there wasn’t a spot. So I climbed and found a spot among boulders 0.2 mile further. Tent set up well. I tried to nap but no sleep. I stayed in my tent for the rest of the day. I’m starting to organize my tent with my pack and most everything above my head. My shoes are at the other end. I’m filthy and need a shower and laundry but I’m pushing on tomorrow to get more miles done. I will meetup with Justin tomorrow. Chatted with Katie on text messages who did Mt. Charleston. So glad she got to do that – a real hike experience. 

Daily Log: Day 46

46 2517.1 7/30/2021 sunny, very hot. Slept until 4:40 which is late for me. Had three 500’ climbs and then one 1000’ climb. They wear me out. Also I didn’t put up my umbrella and the sun was beating down on me. Got to Justin about 1:20 so I did well to complete 19 miles. I was dehydrated and drank soda after soda including a bottle of water. I switched tents. I now have a Big Agnes UL1 single person tent. It’s tiny and narrow but I’ll make do f0r the next 30 or less days. It reminds me of my Zpacks Hexamid BUT SMALLER. We set it up once, took it down together and then I did it by myself. I’m sleeping in it tonight. I have so many habits that now need to change. And a whole new tent to learn about. Justin got fresh trout and it was delightful with rice. Thanks sweetheart your meals and company mean a lot to me. I only have 440 miles to go. Also he was unable to get an advance permit so he must get a “walk-in” one. So our plans are going to be very fluid. Time for bed. Night night.

Putting up my new Big Agnes HV UL1, High Visibility Ultralight One-person, tent for the first time (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
It’s so much narrower than my ZPacks Duplex (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
But I’m a short guy so I easily fit into it (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
After my first/test setup near the Jeep I set it up again at tonight’s camping spot. I also used my white Tyvek ground cloth and covered it with the bright orange rain-fly. Tomorrow I’ll be on my own with this new tent (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 45

45 2498.5 7/29/2021 sunny, rain, thunder, clearing. Up at 4:30 and on trail at 5:20. Hiking along making my miles. Listening to Outlander. Got to a water spot (a marsh) and couldn’t find water except in cow hoof impressions. Lots of cow pies too. Decided to go on, because I had about 1 1/2 Liters in my Platypus and 0.7L in one bottle. Was going to stop at Guthooks marker named “Outlook”, but passed it by and continued hiking. It was only about 1:15 pm. I went a mile and a half and found a flat spot. I also noticed a broken down cabin. I wondered if this was the one mentioned in some water comments on the Guthooks app. Next I found white rocks farther down the slope and a stream. YIPPEE! I FOUND WATER! I guzzled one bottle and filled up everything: two 0.7L bottles and 1L dirty bottle. Set up my tent and napped. At 4:30 I heard rumbles and there was a rain shower / thunderstorm. It stopped by 5:15 and sun is now poking through. I got my tent doors up but the second zipper failed on my front door. Ugh! I finally got it closed but I think the new tent is now necessity. This is the one that Justin is buying today. Oh boy that is such good timing. Chili-Mac for dinner. Tomorrow I see Justin which is good.

Daily Log: Day 44

44 2476.9 7/28/2021 sunny, hot, cloudy, rain. Got up even earlier and left camp with Justin at 5:07am. I immediately had a slow 2000’ climb. The end of which went up a stream bed without cairns or poles. Later there was another section where the only marking were in the bark of trees. I’m glad I know about the tree markings otherwise the trail was unmarked but for a few CDT ones. I listened to The Outlander and it’s OK but there were times when it got slow. I felt that even though I was slack packing I was not going very fast. I got to Justin at 1:15 after 20 miles for which I should be proud of doing. Justin said rain was coming so we put up the Jeep awning and cooked and ate under it. Sweet! However more rain is projected tonight so I’m in my tent and he is in his roof tent. IPod stopped by afterwards and Justin talked to him. He’s getting off trail shortly. The rain has cooled things down. We hope it helps reduce the fires and smoke in the air. Tomorrow’s plan is to do a 40 miles section in two days. Water is scarce. We shall see in tomorrow’s log as to how I do. Night night.

The awning is great for both sun and rain. Each time we use it we divide the awning’s cost by the number-of-uses and joke how much it is even more worth having it. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Justin laughed and said I had “goggly eyes” in this picture. I was probably just looking intently at the GutHooks trail app and preparing myself for tomorrow’x hike (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 43

43 2456.1 7/27/2021 smokey, overcast, warm. I woke at about 4:30 and my sore feet were ok. I used the campsite latrine. I was on trail with my slack pack about 5:30. It was mostly a road walk. After a wide field without poles or cairns I came upon Justin. He said he was a mile early because we were to provide Kathy with tech support from Montana. We drove about 5 miles until I got a cell signal. Then I phoned Spectrum tech support. For the next two hours we worked to get both Kathy and my email working. Finally we needed to create new email accounts because the old ones had been deleted with now notification. Grrrr! Then we phoned Kathy and over the next hour we got her working on both her phone and computer. I was exhausted. So I told Justin that I will walk the mile to the original meetup point and go no further. I had dreams about going 20 miles today but the tech stuff had worn me down. IPod stopped by and enjoyed two sodas. Justin is making pancakes and bacon for dinner. IPod is doing his own dinner. I’m planning on slack packing 20 miles tomorrow.

Heading out on my slack pack on a forest road with smoke haze filtering the sunrise
We drove over five miles down the road from the trail to get a cell phone signal. Then after two hours on the phone with Spectrum tech support and another hour with Kathy we got her email working again. But by that time we were exhausted. It sure looks it!

Daily Log: Day 42

42 2440.2 7/26/2021 sunny, hot, cloudy at end. Woke up in the dark but a fullish moon helped me see. I also used my red headlamp. Was on trail about 5:20 am with my headlamp. However in 15 minutes I could see the trail fine. I decided to do all three climbs. They were hard. In the middle I met “Day Late” a SOBO Thru-hiker. On the descent of the last I was up high on a very rocky mountain. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon with a sheer cliff on one side. Carefully I descended. At Upper Seymour I decided to go on and get to Justin in about 6 miles. With only 2 miles to go I met “Windy” another SOBO hiker. When I got to Justin at 5:45 pm he suggested we go 0.4 miles to a campsite. I was beat but did this last little bit too. My feet hurt. Tomorrow is a slack pack of 16 miles with a road walk. It’s late and bedtime.

Although these mountains are steep they are also stunningly beautiful in their majesty
Also although it looks like there are blowdowns blocking the trail, the trail is clear and easy to traverse

Daily Log: Day 41

41 2416.0 7/25/2021 Smokey, sunny, hot, windy at lake. Woke before dawn and started packing up. Used my headlamp on red. Was on trail about 5:20 am. Still pretty dark so again used headlamp for 15-30 mins. The Advenza app and Pintler trail was easy to follow. It slowly rose as it approached the CDT. No problem making the connection. Did the first climb ok. Switched to the Guthooks map of Northern Montana- the last one! The second climb was miserable, but I did it. I decided to do the third climb to make tomorrow easier. I stopped at Warren Lake because it has a tent-site. I’m considering making the next meetup a stop-and-go to resupply and then continue for more miles. Dinner is a new one… Peak Refuel’s Sweet Pork Rice. 

Finally the road walk is done, I’ve walked around the forest fire area and I am back on the CDT
From the flat road to the very steep and difficult Pintler Mountains. It was a “tough love” welcome back from this “embrace the brutality” of a trail

Daily Log: Day 40

40 ROADWALK #5 7/24/2921 chill in morning, sunny, very hot. I packed up my tent after 5 days at the Wisdom RV park and headed out. Letting Justin sleep-in for once. The weather was quite cool and chilly. I had my windbreaker and gloves on for the next two hours of hiking. The dirt road was east and the miles flew by. I got to Pintler Trailhead at 12:15 and there was Justin! We took it easy the rest of the afternoon. I did my prep by converting from slack pack to backpack. Food, water, and set up tent all took some time. A guy stopped by the trailhead and we chatted about 15 minutes. Otherwise it was quiet. Dinner was a steak celebration for completing the road walk. As we were eating we saw a puffy white cloud appear over the tree tops. Our antennae were alerted that this might be a forest fire. So we drove a few miles to learn that it was, but on the other side of the valley. Justin is going to Anaconda tomorrow and will investigate. I’ll keep my InReach on to get messages. If I encounter anything I’m returning to this trailhead. Tomorrow will be a very hard day for me with a full pack, bear canister and two big climbs.

Walking down a dirt country road following two moose – one on the right and a second on the left
Hiking from Wisdom MT RV Park to Pintler Trailhead was a long and boring road walk
Arriving at the Pintler Trailhead (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The road walk is nearly done. Tomorrow I will to hike a trail from this trailhead northward to the CDT(Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
We left the trailhead to get a better view of the smoke. Just down the road it looked as though the forest fire was close (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Although at first glance we thought the fire was close when we went further we saw that it was on the other side of the valley and not close – whew!

Daily Log: Day 39

39 ROADWALK #4 7/23/2021 cool, sunny, puffy white clouds. Today Justin drove me 20 miles to where I had ended yesterday just south of Jackson MT. I started hiking about 5:25 am which is even earlier. It was quite cool this morning so I wore my windbreaker. I listened to The Last Town and started on The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue. I found the latter slow so far. I met Gaia SOBO thru-hiker after Jackson. I finished in Wisdon around 12:15. Ate lunch and prepped for tomorrow. Then Justin and I took showers since we are paying for them. I’m uncertain what to do for a new air mattress. I’m going to try to make do with the super short one I have left. The rest of the afternoon we just chilled and chatted. Dinner was pork tacos, corn chips and bean dip. They were filling and good. The fire is dropping ash on us. I’m trying to get to bed earlier today. Tomorrow I’ll probably start hiking before light – a first on this section. I’ll be using Avenza app for the first time too to get to the Pintler Trailhead. Night night.

A sign along the road walk today
Fire and smoke only a few miles away as we stay at the Wisdom RV park