Daily Miles: 19
2021 CDT Total Miles: 203
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2273
It was another really warm night last night. No socks, no hat, no jacket…definitely not the normal for SweetPea, who bundles up most nights on trail, even in the summer.
We headed down to Champion Pass as we started hiking. It is funny how when we go by “passes” that are reached by cars, we are descending, but when we go by a “pass” on a trail it is always a climb. There is often two locations of the same name.
It was another really pleasant morning and nice trail. We had more stretches of walking through meadows which gave us wide open views. It was only a little hazy today, but the smell of smoke was stronger than it had been for several days.
This morning, we were at a water source and two southbound hikers came by. One of the hikers, Lancelot, is hoping to go the whole way. He was hiking with his sister who was joining him for the section from Helena to Butte. She seemed to be struggling with the elevation, and we can certainly empathize with that.
About five minutes after we left the water source, we met three more CDT southbound hikers: Hobbit, One Gear, and Just Paul. One Gear and Just Paul hiked from Rawlings, WY to Leadore, ID last year and are planning to hike the rest of the trail this year. Hobbit is planning to thru-hike and complete his Triple Crown. Coincidentally, Hobbit is also a PCT 2016 alum, but we did not meet him on our hike of the PCT that year.
It was fun to chat with all the hikers today. It is interesting to see how many other hikers we have seen already…in just a couple weeks, we have met the same amount that we saw in 4.5 months of hiking last year. It seems like each group we meet thinks that they are the last southbound hikers, but then we meet more. We figure that soon we will start seeing very fast northbound hikers who catch up to us.
We saw several ptarmigan moms with their little flocks of chicks today. They are an interesting bird in that they seem super mellow. They aren’t too afraid of us and we usually have to shoo them off the trail. Quite a difference from grouse who fly away if you get within 50 feet, and the grouse moms which can be very aggressive.
We started hearing thunder a little before 4pm and the sky got really dark. We had hoped to get another mile down the trail, but instead opted for setting up camp before the rain started. We just managed to get our tarps up as it started to rain. The storm came in pretty strong, with thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Luckily the thunder and lightning didn’t last too long and now we just have a light rain. The temperature really dropped with the rain and now we are all bundled up in our sleeping bags.