Back on the CDT

Flame Gluch Road (19_214)
Day 143 – 9/11/17
Miles – 24.7
Total miles – 2249.3

We woke from our warm beds around 6:30. Mama and Papa Raven walked over to the grocery store and picked up donuts and milk for breakfast. By 7:30, we put our packs on and headed over to the Subway for sandwiches to go. Next, we headed down the trail. This was one of the clearest days we have had in a long time. The sun was not a big red ball this morning. Smoke could be smelled in the air, however, we could see mountains ranges way off in the distance. Not sure why, perhaps because we are well rested, but today we hiked with much enthusiasm, something we have not done in a while. Most of today’s hiking was on paved and dirt roads. It was a warm day, probably in the high 80’s, with very little shade.  Mid-morning, we took out first break at a small lake and ate our sandwiches and drank lemonade. It was a pretty spot. Next, the paved road changed to dirt. Dirt roads are better and worse to walk on. Often times you can find a soft space to walk on, which is easier on your feet. But more often you end up stepping on small rocks, which hurt your feet. By the end of the day, the feet are really sore. As we hiked North on the dirt, the temperature rose even higher. We were very hot with no way to cool off. Finally, we turned onto a road heading west and we started to climb. We slowly left the grassland and went into pine. The warm temperature dropped a bit, as we got higher in elevation and as the day grew late. Towards sundown, it even got a bit cold and the smoke started to move back in. Finally, about 8:00 we reached the CDT and found a place to camp. We have a few more days of good weather before a change. Rain is coming Thursday and it is suppose to be a wet storm with snow at higher elevations. This is both bad and good. It is never pleasant hiking in rain, especially rain that lasts all day. Our miles go down and it is just not fun. In fact, it often gets miserable! Most hikers would agree with us. However, despite the dislike of rain by hikers, the state of Montana desperately needs rain. Over a million acres have burned in Montana this summer and none of those fires have been contained. Much of our upcoming trail is closed because of them, The hardest hit areas are the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park. Both crown jewels of the CDT. There are alternates around the fires but they are often longer than the real trail and they miss the most beautiful sections of an area. Hopefully, the incoming weather will offer relief for the Montana fires. Because of the weather, we may have to take an extra day off to wait out the storm. Time will tell as we wait and see what happens.

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