Daily Miles: 20
2021 CDT Total Miles: 390
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2463
It rained off and on overnight, but thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we woke up. It was quite cold and damp out…like we were in a cloud. As we emerged from under our tarps to get our food bags, we could see that it was just a wall of clouds around us.
We were hopeful that the clouds would lift in the morning, so we could get good views of the Chinese Wall (a twelve mile long, enormous rock wall), which is a destination for many folks on a backpacking trip in the area. We knew we would be walking along it for the first seven miles in the day, so we had a few hours for the clouds to burn off.
Unfortunately it stayed cold and dreary and we only got small glimpses of part of the Chinese Wall. We have seen photos of it which look really cool, but you can’t always have great weather when you want it.
The temperature during the day was in the 40’s and we were often walking in mist, so we stayed pretty cold. We had our wind shirts and wind pants on until lunch and then changed to our rain jackets and rain pants. We wore them the rest of the day and never got too warm…in fact, we were chilled all day.
It can take a lot of energy to be cold all day. By the time we got to camp, our bodies felt sore from being tensed up and cold all day. We were all just dreaming of putting on dry socks and sliding into our sleeping bags.
Just after lunch, we got off the CDT and onto an alternate called the Spotted Bear. It had been recommended to us by our friends, MountainMan and Ace, as a scenic alternate which happens to be 15 miles shorter than the official CDT on this stretch. Before starting this trip, we had seen reports from southbound hikers, that the Spotted Bear was full of downed trees. Luckily, a trail crew came out and cleared the trail just in the last few weeks. So, we decided to take the alternate.
The first few miles were rather slow with a few remaining downed trees, muddy trail, and overgrown bushes. The trail was lined on both sides with huckleberry bushes full of ripe berries. This certainly slowed us down as we stopped to eat the berries. There were also some great thimble berries which we couldn’t just pass by.
Luckily the trail got better as it followed a river valley. We had to ford the spotted Bear river once, which really didn’t feel good, since we were already so cold.
Most of the forest was so thick and overgrown, it would have been pretty difficult to find a campsite that was not already established. Luckily the one we were aiming for was empty when we arrived.
The sky is still grey and overcast, and it looks like we will have another very cold night. We are happy to be in our sleeping bags and on our way to being toasty warm for the night.