Daily Miles: 18
2021 CDT Total Miles: 221
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2291
It stayed pretty cold overnight and there was a steady breeze which mostly dried things out by morning. About 15 minutes before our alarm went off, we could hear a tree falling down not too far from where we were camped. It is unfortunate that there are so many dead trees in the forests around here. It is hard to avoid camping near any dead trees. Instead, we try to hang on live trees and make sure that no dead trees are leaning towards our hang.
We have really been enjoying the morning hours of walking. The air is cool and the forest feels completely still. We usually get glimpses of the sun coming up over the mountains.
This morning the sun was coming up as we got to a scenic vista. We went to take a look and it really looked like the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee with the sea of ridges in the distance, all a variety of shades of grey and blue. Of course, the look here is courtesy of actual smoke from forest fires, but it was interesting to see the resemblance.
The miles seemed to come fairly easily today. The trail was often changing from smooth and soft tread to rocky and steep and then back again. There were a lot of stretches that looked like they were all new, young lodgepole pines growing in a crazy high concentration. It created green tunnels to walk through, and we remarked about how terrible it would be if you had to bushwhack through those super thick forests.
At lunchtime, we came to a water source that had no good access. It was a stream that was down a steep hill from the trail, with lots of downed trees and a marshy area around the stream. Beardoh volunteered to go down and get the 2 liters of water we needed. Unfortunately, as he was going down, he fell and broke one of his poles. Definitely a bummer.
The last four or five miles of the day were spent walking a dirt road through land that has been clear cut. There were huge piles of cut trees in areas, and for most of the way, the forests, which were to the sides of the clear cuts, was just full of dead trees. We weren’t sure how long we would need to walk before we could find a camp-able spot, but luckily we found a small cluster of live trees away from the dead trees.
This spot probably ranks near the bottom of places we’ve camped. We were all able to make something work, but it is just a mess of a place…cut trees all around, no good hangs, lumpy ground. And we’re all pretty exposed with the strong wind blowing. But we are happy to have been able to find a place to camp.
Emily Newcomer says
Sorry to hear about the hammocking options. It is sad to see how much of the Montana forests are burned.