Daily Miles: 26
2021 CDT Total Miles: 596
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2669
Our alarms went off at 4:45am this morning, and we sleepily got ourselves out of our warm sleeping bags and out into the freezing cold air. We packed up quickly and headed out at 5:20am. It was pitch black when we started out and we used our headlamps for the first hour of walking.
Shortly after leaving camp, we came to a suspension bridge where we each had to go over one at a time. It was pretty cool to cross the swaying bridge in the dark. And it was cool to watch the other go across, where we just watched the headlamp light of person.
The first five and a half miles today were a backtrack from yesterday. It was good that we had already hiked these miles, since we couldn’t see anything in the dark. We had to backtrack today in order to get to a trail junction that would put us on a east-west trail. We needed to get out to the eastern edge of the national park.
We got to the junction which would take us in the direction to Stoney Indian Pass. The trail was fairly overgrown with thimbleberry plants. The climb to the pass followed a river which provided a lot of noise as we walked. It was very noticeable when we turned a corner and all of a sudden no longer heard the water.
As we got close to the pass, we walked around Stoney Indian Lake which was perfectly still in the early morning. It created the perfect mirror to the pass and surrounding mountains. We were thankful to be hiking there at that time of day to see it in such a pristine state.
We got to the pass and took a break, but tried not to stay too long since we had a time scheduled for finishing the day. MountainMan’s mom and aunt were going to be meeting us at the Chief Mountain border crossing at 6:00pm, which meant we pretty much had to keep a 2 mile per hour pace (including breaks).
The descent from the pass was incredibly pretty…waterfalls, a chain of lakes filling up the valley floor, and several of the park’s highest peaks lining the valley. We were glad that we had a pass to go over today, because the passes have been such a highlight this past week.
When we got down to the valley floor, the walking was fairly flat as we went along the lakes. While the trail was near the lakes, we only got fleeting glimpses of the lakes, until we got to the final lake, Cosley Lake, where we could look back at the length of the lake and see the pass we had just come down. It was a really stunning view.
As we walked away from Cosley Lake, the landscape started to change pretty dramatically. The high, rocky peaks fell away to soft rolling hills. It was pretty surprising to see the quick change. Soon we were into open meadows as we closed in on our final miles.
We had a surprising climb in the final few miles before we finished. It felt like a final kick in the pants, as we were all so exhausted by that point. We stopped just short of the end so Beardoh, MountainMan and SweetPea could put on their crowns. Somehow we timed it perfectly and arrived at the trailhead at exactly 6:00pm.
MountainMan’s mom and aunt were waiting for us at the trailhead with food and drinks. It was a great way to finish the hike. We took finish photos and then started the long drive back to town.