Daily Miles: 19
2021 CDT Total Miles: 56
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2126
It was another really warm night. We were hammocked across the trail, and during the night, SweetPea heard a deer or something walk down the trail towards us, then stop (presumably after noticing our hammocks in its way), and then bound off into the woods.
Sadly, none of us have slept well yet. It makes it hard to have sustained energy for the day without enough sleep. We are all hoping for a solid eight hours of sleep tonight. Hopefully the fact that we are in bed by 7:45pm will help.
We could smell the smoke in the morning at camp. We had a few miles of descent before we started our big climb of the day. We stopped partway up to do laundry and met another CDT hiker, Windy. He seems to be doing big miles and was planning to walk the 100 miles of road to get around the fire closure.
The trails today were pretty spectacular. Several areas looked like there was so much work involved in creating the trail…this morning there was a nice path through a giant rock slide. In the afternoon, they had created a great set of switchbacks for a comfortable descent along what would normally just look like a almost vertical rock wall. Sometimes we are reminded of all the work that goes into creating a continuous footpath through rugged terrain.
After we made it to the top of our climb (Rainbow Mountain), we sat down for a snack as we took in the views. The descent was another great trail as we worked ourselves back down to the valley for a brief visit.
As per our current “usual”, the trail headed right back up to the same height we had just been at. We were able to get good views back to Rainbow Mountain and see how far we had come. It looked so far, but in reality it was probably just five miles.
Near the top of our last climb, we came to the junction with a notable alternate called the Anaconda Cutoff. Many hikers take this alternate in order to save something like 90 miles. Since we don’t have a rush, we are opting to stay on the regular CDT, mostly because the alternate has a lot of paved road miles. For thru-hikers it makes sense to shorten the overall route when possible, because it is hard to finish the trail in just one season…they are always running against the clock.
Some highlights for today – lots of wildflowers (there was even a whole stream bed filled with wildflowers)…we saw a marmot, a fox, and something which Beardoh is convinced is a ferret (it was standing on its back legs looking at us in the trail)…it is starting to sprinkle now and hopefully this means a night of rain which will help the firefighters and hopefully knock down some of the smoke.