Completion Medal

My sweetheart presented me with a CDT completion medal when I arrived back in Austin on August 29, 2021. This completes my medal collection now with me having one from the PCT, AT and CDT National Scenic Trails.

CDT Medal with the Mexican Flag on the bottom, Canadian Flag on the Top, CDT Trail Marker on the left and Continental Divide Pass Sign on the right. In the center is a scenic landscape of forest and mountains with the CDT trail running across it as a red line.

Daily Log: PostHike/Day 74

74 Post-Hike 8/27/2021 rain sprinkles, foggy, cool. Hiked 20 miles from Kootenai campground to Packers Roost and the Jeep. Pushed hard to arrived at Jeep at 2:57 pm – in other words, within the two-o’clock hour.

Descending 3000′ from Flattop mountain to Packers Roost trailhead (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Tartan resting his head and exhausted after pushing hard to get to the Jeep before 3 pm. The CDT hike is now complete (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Katie waved signs celebrating Tartan’s accomplishment to all the cars leaving the park including Justin’s Jeep as it passed by (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Brian “Tartan” Watt, Triple-Crown Hiker

Daily Log: Day 73

73 2975.3 8/26/2021 overcast, sunny, clouds in afternoon. Justin and I woke around 5:15 for our final push to the border. We left Fifty Mountain campsite about 6:10. We had an immediate climb and then a long 2500’ descent. After 8 miles we arrived at Kootenai campsite. We set up our tents, unloaded all non-essentials, messaged Katie and slack packed the next 7 miles to the border. I pushed my legs as fast as I could go. We arrived about 1:05 pm and saw Katie waving her arms. We had made it. I HAD COMPLETED THE CDT! Photos, cards, patches, suckers were part of the celebration. Then we all had lunch together sitting on the Waterton Lake. beach. This included Chili-Mac dinner for me brought by Katie and cooked by Justin. There were other tourists and we explained what we were celebrating. After our lunch we said our goodbyes. Katie left for Waterton and Justin and I hiked 7 miles back to Kootenai campground. Tomorrow Justin and I will climb 2500’ back to Fifty Mountain and then descended 3000′ to Packer’s Roost and the Jeep. It’s supposed to rain so we expect it to be a very long slog of a hike. But we are done and we will celebrate with Katie this time in Kalispel MT at the Holiday Inn Express. This means hot showers, clean clothes and a meal together. I am so much looking forward to this. Until then, night, night. At Kootenai campground

Dearest Katie, Thank you for meeting me at the end of the PCT, AT, and now CDT. It means a lot to me that you had the time and energy to come celebrate with me and to be there for these special life accomplishments. Love, Dad

Dearest Justin, I can’t thank you enough for your help shepherding, organizing, aiding and just being there with me on this CDT journey from Wyoming to Cuba New Mexico in 2020 and from Wyoming to the Canadian border in 2021. I could not have done this without you and your support. Love, Dad

See “How We Got to the End” for Justin’s description.

Leaving Fifty Mountain campground Justin and I took a selfie (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Much of the the time the trail was overgrown with Thimbleberries, a large-leafed no-thorned edible-raspberry-like-fruit plant (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Adding to the fun was another suspension bridge to cross (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Just after 1 PM on August 26, 2021 Tartan arrives at the US – Canadian border (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Tartan completes his long-distance hike of the Continental Divide Trail (Photograph Courtesy of K. Watt)
Team Tartan celebrates at the CDT northern border monument (Photograph Courtesy of K. Watt)
Team Tartan congratulates Tartan on his achieving his Triple Crown of Hiking (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
To document his Triple Crown of Hiking Katie presented Tartan with patches for each of the trails: PCT, AT and CDT (Photograph Courtesy of K. Watt)
During a quiet moment Tartan contemplates his accomplishment and silently thanks all the family, friends and other people who helped him achieve his goal. He couldn’t have done it without them (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Nearby the monument we sat on the beach, opened cards and had lunch. Katie had crossed the US – Canadian border by car, driven to Waterton Canada, stayed overnight, and that morning she had hiked south to the monument to meet us. She has been at the end of each of my long distance hikes: PCT, AT and now CDT (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Justin and I at the monument having shared so many adventures in these past two years and 2000 miles (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The two monuments at the US – Canadian border on the west side of Upper Waterton Lake. Across the lake on the east side notice the clear-cut demarkation of the border running up the mountain (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Soon we had to part. Katie returning to her rental car, driving back to the US and a hotel in Kalispell MT. Us to our Kootenai campgound in GNP where we celebrated the ending of a very memorable day by tapping the filters on our water bottles in celebration (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 72

72 2960.5 8/25/2021 clear, sunny, cool to warm. Woke at Many Glacier campground in the hiker area. First was bathroom run to a toilet in the middle of the forest with no walls. Next was pack up. Finally was breakfast with Mio water. My right shoe was hurting so I loosened it. I left and walked toward the trail, but again stopped to adjust my right shoe. I got on trail at 5:55 am with my white rain jacket, red down vest and gloves. The first four miles I zoomed – the effects of Mio. I got to the climb and sent Justin a message. I started, but immediately lost the trail. I crossed a narrow shelf that was only the width of a shoe. I thought “I gotta be careful or I might fall”. Then I got stuck in thick bushes. Where is the gosh darn trail. I scan and saw nothing. Guthooks is having GPS problems and jumping around. So I go back across the narrow ledge. Finally I begin to bushwhack up the side of the mountain. The trails gotta be up there somewhere. My pants were getting soaked. Still no trail. Up farther I go and around some pine trees. Then finally I get up to the trail. Sheesh. Back on trail I climb and climb and climb. It’s about 9:30 when I reach the pass. I get a message from Justin along the way. He’s almost to the chalet too. I get there at 9:45 and he’s there about ten minutes later. Perfect timing! I finish my snack and we’re off to Fifty Mountain. We meet people along the way. Including Snowballs and Caymen again. The sun is out. The hiking is good. Justin talks and keeps me entertained. We get to the campsite about 4:00. Another group of three people is here. We get water and put up our tents. Another twosome: Rick and Sam arrive. Finally Lawrence and Matt arrive. At dinner most people congregate at the food prep area and talk. Justin, my social guy, is entertaining with various stories. Especially one about a weird guy who was there when Justin and Lawrence were getting their permits. Oh another thing about this Tentsite, the toilet has no building around it. It’s a toilet on a concrete pedestal in the middle of the forest. Great scenery from the “throne”! Tomorrow is the last day of my CDT hike. I reach Canada and the monument tomorrow. Katie meets Justin and I there – how sweet is that. I still can’t believe it. 15 miles and I’m done. Triple crown of hiking trails completed. 7825 miles. Wow!  At Fifty Mountain campground.

Hiking in the very early morning with the moon lighting the way. The trail is easy to follow
Near to the first climb’s summit a waterfall cascades down the mountain
Looking back down the valley the Many Glacier campground is miles behind me
After meeting at Granite Park Chalet we hike together towards Fifty Mountain campsite. This included meeting “Snowballs” and “Caymen” just before Fifty Mountain campsite. They however did not plan to stop at this campsite, but rather go on to a further one (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 71

71 2941.4 8/24/2021 clear, sunny, frost at pass, moderate to cool. Woke around 5 and packed up. Did my toilet and ate breakfast. Packed up a very wet tent and ground cloth. Also packed up a damp sleeping bag. Left the campsite about 6:15 and crossed a suspension bridge to the trail at 6:20. Then it was time to climb. Caught up and passed a few day hikers. Some I chatted with about the CDT. Got to the pass above the misty clouds. Spectacular view. Then on the other side of the pass was a beautiful water falls. Near the end the track got muddy due to horses. For miles I had to negotiate hiking on the left or right of the trail. The trail was trashed with countless hoof marks in sticky gooey mud. Finally I got to Many Glacier and Justin. We immediately dried off my tent, sleeping bag and shoes. Then we went to the lodge for a burger and chicken strips. Tasty! Back to the Jeep for wound care and food for the next (and last) three days. There we met two NOBO thru-hikers, “Snowballs” and “Cayman”. Nice guys. Finally we had pizza, more chicken strips and a beer for dinner. Tomorrow we meet at 10:30 am at the Granite chalet after my 2000’ climb. Justin is coming from Packer’s Roost with a 3000′ climb and me from here. It’s going to be one of the longest and hardest days of hiking and climbing. Wish me luck! I’ll need it. Talk to you tomorrow. Night night. At Many Glacier campground.

Good weather makes all the difference in the world. Although it’s cold and there is frost on the ground I make good progress towards Justin and my meet up at the Granite Park Chalet
Above the mist and in the bright sunlight I can see for miles
At the pass I look back from where I came. Then I turn around ready to begin my descent
Down I go towards on a series of switchbacks in a valley with shear mountain walls and the sound of water falling nearby
I stop for a morning snack and watch the water spill down towards the valley bottom
Using the Jeep as my clothes line. Drying my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, ground cloth, etc. from yesterday’s unexpected rain and hail storm. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Luckily everything got dried out. And I’m in a very large campground in a spot reserved for hikers. My tent is dry and set up. My sleeping bag is dry. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be good. I am again at peace (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
We had a pizza dinner with beers across from the campground at the Swiftcurrent Inn (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 70

70 2926.1 8/23/2021 clear, cool, sunny, rain, hail. I slept well and got up at 5:15. I got on trail about 6:15. However I felt tired. The trail was relatively flat as it went around the lake. The next campsite, Red Eagle Lake Tail, had several bear bags hung. I crossed another suspension bridge which was about a mile down River. I came to a very large lake and began to go down to it. The trail went along it for miles and miles. The trail was very overgrown and slowed me down. Then I got to a water falls and suddenly there were a number of people (tourists!) there. Later I learn that there was a parking lot where they had come from. As I descended I passed more and more people. I was only a mile or so to my campsite when I got to the bottom and the river. Many people were enjoying the natural beauty. Instead of going to the car parking lot the trail turn towards the Reynolds campground. In a few minute I see Justin hiking towards me. Wonderful! He escorted me back to the campsite. He brought me two sodas. I showed him my raw skin and got bandages for it. While we were talking it started to rain a little. This was unexpected. So we put our stuff under a tree. We went to prepare a hot lunch but the rain continued. It wasn’t supposed to rain. So I told him I needed my tent up. As the rain increased I got my once dry tent up but now very damp. He had made me chili-mac. When I returned we ate and he gave me my resupplies. The rain got worse. So I told him I just wanted to crawl in my tent. We said our goodbyes. I was a terrible host but the increasing rain just shocked me. IT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO RAIN TODAY! Well after he left it rained and hailed. I’m laying in my tent in my sleeping bag just trying to stay warm. I’m fearing tomorrow and its climb. In time the rain stopped. I got back on my soaked rain gear so I could get water and dinner. I’m was not looking forward to all this work. In the meanwhile another hiker arrived named “All you can eat”. He was friendly and we chatted. He had just come over from Many Glacier and got rained and hailed on. He says tomorrow the InReach forecast is for no rain and also no rain for the next day. I made two dinners to get more calories and keep warm. As I was eating my dessert, a Tootsie Roll Pop, I popped one of my crowns off my back left molar. GREAT! So I put it in my wallet until I return to Austin and my dentist. The rain seems to have stopped. The sun is out but low in the sky. My tent is drying and I’m sitting waiting for it to dry more. It was quite a day.  At Reynolds campground.

After leaving Red Eagle Lake Head campsite I crossed a Suspension bridge across the Red Eagle Creek. Only one hiker can cross at a time. The bridge bounces and sways as you cross requiring you to carefully hold the cable railings. My poles got caught in those same cables too
After walking for miles on an overgrown trail along the side of a lake all by myself I suddenly pop out at a falls and there are tourists everywhere. Somehow I’m back in civilization.
Far below the falls is a bridge, more falls and a stream with more tourists enjoying the natural beauty
Crossing the bridge I hike toward the parking lot, but before reaching it I turn off towards Reynolds campground and meet Justin walking toward me on the trail
Together we walk to Reynolds campsite. To do this we leave the CDT, cross a suspension bridge, turn left and there is the campsite (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Although it’s only been a few days it’s so good to see him. I can relax (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Now back at Reynolds I show Justin my raw skin caused by hiking in the rain and the harsh Oboz shoes. We patch me up with gobs of ointment and numerous bandages as replacement skin.
Unexpectedly it begins to rain. I rush around trying to get my tent set up. I get on my rain gear. All the while it is getting wetter and wetter. I ask Justin to leave so I can focus on getting things done. This was not the day I had planned. WTF! Argh! (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
After Justin quickly leaves I burrow into my sleeping bag into my tent to stay warm. I am shocked that during the rain it begins to hail causing inside condensation to rain down on my bag and me. A wet down sleeping bag is not good. I’m not a happy camper