W Fork S Fork Sun River (2826.1)
Day 156 – 9/24/17
Miles – 12.8
Total miles – 2421.2
Ah, a nice warm bed in a cozy cabin in a very cold valley. What more could a CDT thru-hiker want? We all slept well. A little before dawn, Papa Raven got up and rebuilt the fire in the stove. Soon the cabin was comfortable and warm again, which was good because it was 21° outside. After breakfast, we got down to work, showers and sorting the supply box. We did not rush, our plan was to leave around noon and we did. We really enjoyed staying at Benchmark Wilderness Ranch. The cabin suited our needs at a critical time and we will have good memories of it. Most of the hikers mailed their re-supply boxes to Augusta, which is a long hitch. The advantages to Augusta is access to grocery stores, laundry, and hotels. This would result in losing a day or two of hiking. Re-suppling at Benchmark, took only half a day away from hiking. We did not look forward to walking the two miles back to where we got off the trail but it had to be done. Just after we started walking down the road a truck, coming toward us, stopped. The couple inside asked if we were The Ravens. We soon found out that they had just dropped Napoleon and Red Cross off up at the trail head. They offered to give us a ride back to where we joined this road and, of course we took it. Once at our destination, we talked a few minutes with them, and then said thank you and goodbye to the generous pair from Indiana. Next, we were headed up there trail. The Sun River Valley is wide and level. We moved along well, passing through thick forest and then into a large burned area. All along the side of the trail was Fire Weed that had gone to seed. If we hit the stock hundreds of small seeds would float up into the breeze. For more than a mile, we had fun wacking the stocks and watching the seeds create small white clouds. We walked up the valley until dark, then we set camp. We are in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, also know as The Bob. This area is known for it’s bears. Yesterday, we saw a great deal of bear scat and foot prints on the way down to Benchmark but, luckily, we saw none today. From The Bob’s reputation, we decided it was time to get back in the habit of hanging our food. Hanging 6 days of food is not easy. It is really heavy. We need to start earlier, so Bling and Papa Raven are not doing it in the dark. Tomorrow, we will hike along the Chinese Wall. This is a unique geological feature that thru-hikers look forward to seeing. It was a pleasurable day of hiking and best of all, we saw the sun again.