Daily Miles: 22
2021 CDT Total Miles: 115
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2185
We all managed to have a good and comfortable night’s sleep. We headed out on the trail by 6:20am, with the sun coming just over the trees, looking like a big bright orange ball.
We headed down to the flat and barren land between two mountain chains. As we got closer to the valley floor, the trees really started to thin out. We stopped at a nice creek and did a bit of laundry since we missed it yesterday.
After the creek, we got onto a gravel road and headed in the direction of I-15, which cuts through the valley. We had several miles before we were walking on the frontage road right next to the interstate with cars going 80 miles per hour. This trail certainly has some extremes.
We crossed under the interstate and continued up the dirt road for several more miles. As we were walking, we saw two bike packers riding towards us…our first sight of bikers on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route! We were so excited to see them with our current fascination with bike packing. They were really excited to see CDT hikers and we ended up chatting with them for a solid half hour. They were in their 60’s probably and seemed to be having a great adventure.
We finally had to say goodbye so we could keep walking. Shortly after leaving the bikers, we ran into a CDT section hiker. We just chatted a few minutes and didn’t even get her trail name, since we felt like we needed to keep walking.
Shortly before lunch we ended up back on trail tread. We were glad to be off the dirt road, since our feet were rather sore. Mace got the first blister of the trail, with one inconveniently located on the ball of his foot. Definitely painful.
When we are hiking, we pick up small bits of trash that we find on the trail. It is not really common to find much trash…in the first five days, we only found one candy wrapper. This afternoon, we started seeing more trash – six pieces. They were almost all parts of an energy gel wrapper. We know that these are often used by racers, and that there had been a mountain bike race last weekend around Butte. We eventually saw some flagging that said “Butte 100”, so we were pretty sure that the trash was from the racers who were careless with their garbage.
The trail this afternoon has been in great shape. It is a bit surreal as the forest around the trail looks like it has been through the wringer. There are piles of dead trees all over…it looks like a complete mess. But, then there is this perfect trail cutting right through it. Certainly a lot of trail maintenance in the area.
When we stopped for water a few miles before camp, SweetPea found a painted rock. Apparently there is a Facebook page for the rock to see how far it gets carried. It is written on the rock that you can keep it or re-hide it. Although SweetPea is not one to carry rocks in her pack, she put the small stone in her pack to re-hide somewhere else. Now she just needs to decide where to leave the rock for the next person to find.
Tonight we are camped a short bit off the trail. We are near a dilapidated cabin and the most amazing spring we have ever seen. The water coming out is so forceful that it sounds like there is a raging river right next to us. We have never seen a spring like this one. We even got to hang our bear bags over a dead tree which fell on the cabin roof.
Today was the least smokey day we have had so far this week. It was nice to see the blue skies.