Somehow, with the snap of our fingers, seven plus months have flown by and we are now heading back to Montana for Part 2 of our CDT hike. As usual, our current emotions are as follows: (1) super excited to be getting back out into the wilderness and exploring a location that is brand new to us (2) rather frenzied as we think of getting all of our work obligations settled up, our house secured, and hopefully all of our backpacking gear and logistics together.
Luckily, we already had a lot of the hike logistics figured out in our spreadsheet, having done the initial work last year when we had planned to hike the whole trail. We have made a few changes…lowering some daily miles and adding in an extra stop. Our plane tickets are bought and we are ready to stretch our legs once again on the CDT.
On previous trips, we have always had ample time to prepare for the trail (meaning shopping for / organizing / shipping resupply packages) in the US, but this time, we will only have two days to prepare our resupply packages once we get to the US. We are planning for a few days in Butte before starting the trail.
Our good friend, Mace, will be joining us for our remaining 700ish miles of the CDT. If you have read our AT 2011, JMT 2014 or GDT 2018 journals, Mace’s name will be familiar. He is a great hiking companion, easy going and positive….just a great dude in general.
Many of the resupply points on this section of the CDT do not have great resupply, so we will still be sending/delivering 4 boxes for our roughly 700 mile stretch. Since we are pretty used to preparing and sending boxes, we figure it won’t be too much of a problem to get our boxes ready quickly. Our grocery list is already written out, so all we need to do is cross our fingers that we will be able to buy the quantities of the bars we like at the grocery stores in Butte.
If we learned anything from our time on the CDT last year, it was to be flexible…as we can’t control the trail conditions. We will be revisiting this lesson at the very beginning of our hike this summer, with a wildfire which has closed off most of the first section we had been planning to hike. We have been monitoring the expansion of the Trail Creek Fire over the past couple of weeks. At this point, the fire is closing about 70 miles of the CDT and preventing access to our first resupply point. So, we have amended our itinerary to start north of the fire closure. This means that we will be missing about 75 miles of trail, but the simple fact is that fire closures occur every year on the major trails, and you just have to accept that you may not be able to complete every mile of the trail.
So, knowing that we will have to bypass about 75 miles of trail, but also have a fixed date for meeting up with Mountain Man and Ace to hike the Glacier National Park miles together, we need to start getting creative. These two things mean that we will be slowing our pace a bit more in order to time our arrival in Glacier with the arrival of our friends. We will end up taking more zero days than we had first planned, and will probably have a lower miles/day average. Once again, it is all about being flexible.
Now we are ready to put all of the logistics and spreadsheets aside and to start putting one foot in front of the other. Time to head back into the woods….