CDT Day 71 (WY/ID/MT – Old Faithful to W. Yellowstone)

2,000, Divergence, and the Three State Day

  • CDT Miles: 1,998-2,026.6 (28.6)
  • Total Hiked: 1,151.4 miles
  • Elevation Range: 6,780-8,635 feet

Our three fellow hikers were up and moving before us and left maybe around 5:30am or so. We had some water filtering to do since for the first time in a long time, we have a bit of a dry stretch ahead. Something like 13+ miles without a water source, which hasn’t been the case since the basin. Hopefully that means less mosquitos!

We got going around 6:15am. Here’s a few morning mist shots around the lake…

I was particularly cold this morning packing up my tent and getting going. Lots of condensation and it almost seemed to frost up as I folded my tent fly. But… The sun was coming to our rescue.

The trail would prove to be relatively flat and easy striding this morning allowing us to make pretty good time.

At one point in the morning stretch and, Cheer looked up after checking her phone and said, “Hey Snickers, guess what? We walked 2,000 miles!” Indeed, the Snickers – Cheer duo started last year at the Mexican border, so when we hit the 2,000 mile marker on the FarOut app today, they reached that awesome milestone. And not too much further, another milestone… Another state down!

After the celebrations and some breakfasting, we were back at it. It was pretty much forest hiking with an occasional open area. At one point we got on a wide path, maybe 20 feet across, that I suppose resemebled a road except there were small trees growing within and no ruts. Made for nice walking.

There was a moment when I came up on a porcupine in the middle of the trail. It scurried to the side and went into stealthy statue mode…

Cool little buggers. Would not want to mess with one though. The morning walk wasn’t super eventful, just cruising really. About 2 miles after crossing into Idaho, we left Yellowstone NP (strange that there’s 2 miles of the park in Idaho to me).

Nearing noon, we made it to a trail junction. The CDT red line takes a sharp right and starts single track whereas the Macks Inn Alternate continues straight on the wide trail/road we’d been on.

Back in Dubois, Snickers and Cheer had asked to have their “supposed to be sent to Old Faithful post office, but it’s closed,” boxes up ahead to the one in Macks Inn (I think this is an area/neighborhood, not an actual inn). After checking things out, I saw a lot of comments about how the red line is pretty nice scenery, so I didn’t want to miss that. Thus, I decided that I was going to split with the team for a bit and go solo. I’ll need to do some bigger miles to catch them up, but I’ve been feeling good lately and am up for the challenge.

So, after taking a snack break, I took a picture of a bug, then set off at 11:49am going solo where the sideways CDT marker told me to go…

The easy going terrain continued and I seemed to be moving right along. It was a bit unnerving being suddenly without my comrades bear bells jingling, so I did some out loud talking and singing to myself at times. It helped that my trail soon took the form of a wide gravel path again and eventually a road. This opened things up enough so I didn’t feel like there was a possibility of being ambushed by a bear around a corner.

As I mentioned before, the water was a little limited today. I took lunch at the first water source since camp at Summit Lake, which was almost 16 miles. The water here was about a 7 ft diameter pool that was maybe 1 ft deep at its center. Lunch was nice. Dried out my tent and sleeping bag from the condensation and enjoyed my first ever (I think) cold soaked ramen noodles…

I’ve been using the word “cruisy” or “cruising” a lot lately I feel. That’s what comes to mind when I’m talking about relatively flat walking with good trail. It was pretty much cruisy all day and so I got some good miles in. My thinking is, better to get in now when it’s like this and my pack has little food and light, rather than when I’m climbing and the pack is full of  8 days of food.

I had cell service today, which was quite unusual. So many changes today it seems. New state, cell service, and happy to report… No mosquitos!!!!!!!! Yes folks, today was a full day that pretty much went without any mosquito attacks.

As I neared dinner time, I was low on water and had to go off trail on this “Great Western Trail” about 0.4 miles to a little creek. Some day I’ll have to research this trail because pretty sure I saw it down in Utah when I lived there too. An ATV thingamabob stopped and the folks asked if I knew directions to somewhere, must have took me for a local, bahaha, then drove on by when they realized I know nothing about the area.

Afterwards at the creek, I spooked a moosen out that had been hiding in the bushes. Looked to be a smaller one, so I scanned around in case I got between it and big mama. Thankfully, nope. Got some good clear water, then filtered some, then kept hiking a bit til I found a nice rock to sit on and have dinner.

In Yell, my frien Luke that came and met me had also given me some goodies before taking off… A few cliff bars and this fancy ramen packet. He said it might be a little hot. Well, I went for it, but also added in some instant mashed potatoes and a ranch packet. Thought that might calm the heat down a bit. It was steamy and had a kick for someone like me that can’t handle any spice.

It was around 6:30pm by this point and I finished the day walking this road, shouting out “hey bear” every now and then. I like this routine of eating before camp in bear areas. Makes me feel a little safer. As part of the routine, I keep my dessert (if I’m not too starving and eat it while cooking), which is typically a candy bar, and eat while hiking the last few miles. Then, I brush my teeth right on the walk as well. Executed this process flawlessly tonight. And then, wouldn’t you know it, I passed into Montana!

Crazy, right? I’d seen it was a possibility of one were to hike about 16 miles straight through Idaho and so I shot to make it a three state day. Pretty cool. I found a spot just past the border where I could camp and where there were bag hanging trees as well. From here, looks like I’ll be going along the border for a long ways, sometimes in Idaho, sometimes in Montana.

Album of the Day

“Lavender Days” – Caamp

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