East Glacier (26_154)
Day 161, 162, 163, and 164 – 9/29/17, 9/30/17, 10/1/17, and 10/2/17
Miles – 8.1
Total miles – 2518.6
The trains were every loud all night. A major freight train route ran up and down the valley we camped in and our tents were only two hundred feet away from the tracks. Every half hour or so, a train would come by and the wheels would squeal really loudly. Of course the trains were those long freight trains that went for ever. Sleeping during the night was impossible. We did not rush to get packed up because we knew that we were only a few hours from town. Once we did start hiking, we made good time and were in East Glacier by 11:00. We found a room and then had lunch. Everyone ordered elk burgers except for Whisper, who had a regular beef. The elk tasted different, in a good way. While Mama Raven and Bling dried our gear, Whisper and Papa Raven went to get our re-supply boxes. Along the way, we saw Napoleon and Red Cross. We talked about coordinating this last section so we can finish together. There is a possibility that someone can pick up hikers and provide a ride back from the border. Glacier National Park still has the Waterton route closed, therefore we have to go to Chief Mountain. The problem with Chief Mountain is that the border crossing is closed for the winter on Oct. 1 and we will get there after that date. No vehicles will becoming through on the roads since it is closed. Hitching a ride is a slim chance. Therefore, we somehow need to find a ride back from Chief Mountain. Another problem we are working through is that Glacier National Park requires camping at specific locations. Thus we need to know exactly were we will be staying each night. The specific camps are either thirty miles away from each other or fifteen miles. Nothing in between. The park also charges seven dollars a night per person for each camp on top of a forty dollar registration fee. If it takes us six days, that will financially add up quickly. We do not even know which path we are taken with the incoming winter storm. Lots of snow is forcasted. High passes may get too much making it difficult to hike through. After this storm passes through, there are roughly four days of descent weather before another storm hits. Of course there is always a road walk to the border. It is only fifty seven miles and would take three days. This may be our best plan, however, we never envisioned taking a road to complete the CDT. Glacier National Park is the grand jewel of the trail and we may be missing the entire park. Although, we have already missed much of the CDT in Montana with all the fire re-routes. Depending on what we do, we will get our permits tomorrow and either leave mid-day tomorrow or early the next day or even the day after that.
We are taking a zero today and it is raining up in the mountains above us. Snow is coming tonight, tomorrow, and the next day. The hikers are starting to pile up in town, because of this storm. Currently Napoleon, Red Cross, Dundee, Mudslide (AJ), Phish Out Of Water, Hot Rod, Spam and ourselves are here. Everyone is looking at the best path to the border with another early winter storm upon us. We are so close to Canada. We just have to get there. There is a good chance we will stay tomorrow as well. The big question is Monday and how much snow will fall between now and then. The town of East Glacier is actually in the Black Foot Indian reservation. Literally, it is located beside Glacier National Park and thus a tourist community, but only for the summer. The town is closing down. Each day another business is boarded up for the winter. Amtrack train station for passengers has closed. Restaurants, hostel and hotels are in the process of closing. It is a mystery how we will get home once our CDT adventure is over. Perhaps the adventure will still continue!
Were in town for two more days because of the storm. The main part of the storm is supposed to come in tonight and last through all of Monday. The high temperature in Glacier for tomorrow is predicted to be 19°. Currently there are 11 thru-hikers here in town. We are all leaving Tuesday morning.
It’s stared snowing in the morning and it did not stop until after dark. At first, the snow did not stick, the ground was to warm. But with the outside temperatures in the upper 20’s. The ground soon cooled and the snow started to pile up. We got a few inches and everything had a nice white cover on it. Hot Rod did a lot of work yesterday, trying to figure out how to get permits for Glacier National Park lined up for everyone . In the end Phish Out Of Water is taking one route, which is all trail to the border Napoleon, Red Cross, and Spam are taking a second route, all trail to the border, and the rest of us are doing a combination road walk and trail to the border. Our plan is to walk hwy 49 and 89 to Many Glacier and then take the Chief Mountain trail alt to the border. Why the road? The high passes have two feet or more of new snow. It will take us six days to reach Canada by trail. In five days another storm is moving in and by taking the road we should finish a day before. Our weather looks good for the next four days. Bowlegs walked in today. He jumped ahead up to the border and stared hiking South. He still has to go to Helena to finish.