CDT Day 95 (MT – Anaconda to Helena)

Back on the Red Line

  • Anaconda Alt.: 50.3-52.1 (1.8)
  • CDT Miles: 2,568.8-2,589.4 (20.6)
  • Total Hiked: 1,624.6 miles
  • Elevation Range: 6,485-8,255

I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately” – Gavin DeGraw (“I don’t Want to Be”

Knowing the Snickers and Cheer team had 0.8 miles to hike to get to my spot, I slept in to a whopping 5:30am. After retrieving my hanging food bags, packing up, and filtering some water I sat down to wait just as they came around the bend. Pretty perf timing I’d say. They needed water too, so while they filtered I checked out sources ahead via my map app. Appeared it would be about 7.3 miles to the next water source.

We had just under 2 miles to go on the alternate route before connecting back to the CDT and to trail. Some cows led the way for a while…

7:20am we were back hiking on the CDT…

I was happy to be back. I’ve found that the majority of times it seems the red line is overall more pretty scenery. Now that being said, I wouldn’t have gotten to see Stormy Lake Pass or any of that awesome area. Just a lot of road walk leaving Anaconda made me thankful to be back on trail with hills again…

Early on, we passed by a nobo hiker with the trail name of Skeletor. He was packing up still and we ended up seeing him again when we were second breakfasting down at Champion Pass…

I’ve paid my dues. Time after time. I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime. And bad mistakes. I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through. And we mean to go on and on and on and on! We are the champions, my friends, And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.

You may be wondering at this point, what is the deal with all these passes? Before backpacking the PCT, I’d probably only heard of passes in relation to roads in the high mountains. Specifically, I think of the ones west of Denver, like Loveland and Independence Pass. And that’s what Champion Pass seems to be, just on a much more remote and smaller scale. It’s a lower elevation pass for folks traveling on dirt roads across and through the mountains. So in this situation, it’s almost like we’re hiking across the pass, not through it. A lot of times in our hiking adventures though (and they’ll be some for sure coming up, like in Glacier NP), we go through the lower elevation passes. Those passes are not for roads. Make sense, probably not. Probably made that all a whole lot more confusing. My apologies.

Leaving the pass, the skies were growing darker and rumblings were a rumbling. There were some crackles and long low thunderous thunders as well. Around 10:00am it started lightly raining and for a half hour or so we dunned our rain gear.

Pretty much right when we made it to the water source, it stopped. Perfect timing…

We wound around in these open mountainsides for a while, looking down on a neat valley where Interstate 90 shot through…

As the day continued, I’d say it generally got more forested and more rocky…

I said generally, ok you doubters. There were some openings with meadows and those are what I tend to photograph because I’m a fan…

A little before 6pm we made it to Cottonwood Lake. Turns out, it’s a bit more marsh than lake these days and we had just a tad bit of energy left in the tank, so kept trucking to a spring about 2 miles further.

Throughout this whole area we had to do many a spider web slaying by utilizing our trekking poles as swords. There was also a reappearance of deadfall all of a sudden. Many dead trees across the trail. An unwelcomed reappearance from everyone in our squadron.

The spring was flowing nicely out of a rusty pipe. Flat sites for tenting though weren’t super prevalent. I ended up pitching my tent on a trail. Not the CDT, but just a random trail. I was counting on the remoteness and lateness in the day for there not to be anyone hiking on it.

During dinner, I amazed myself at how much I ate. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t eating copious amounts of food throughout the day. All together, I had a little pudding with cookie crumbles added in, a ramen bomb with lemon pepper tuna and some potato chip crunched in, hot chocolate, a mint/dark chocolate Kit Kat, and a full bag of muddy buddies. Yikes! Good thing my new health coach (Cheer) has me on some probiotics and digestive enzymes, as needed.

They might be needed.

Album of the Day

“Chariot” – Gavin DeGraw

Audiobook of the Day

Started “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” by Norman Maclean

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