Chief Joseph Pass

Posted from Darby, Montana, United States.

Sawed Cabin Lake - Anaconda Pintler Wilderness
Sawed Cabin Lake - Anaconda Pintler Wilderness

From sub-par to spectacular, the trail can change in a hurry. Some sections are simply there to connect point A to B, while other parts are breathtaking. This last section held it’s own in the race for most rewarding sections.

Leaving the hot, dry area around Butte, the trail climbed into the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. Back were jagged peaks above treeline, alpine lakes, fields painted in primary colors by wildflowers and even snow patches. While physically rigorous, the remoteness and pristine beauty more than made up for the physical demands.

Coming back down to lower elevations was difficult both because we had to leave the scenery behind and because the number of downed trees across the trail made us feel like we were running a hurdles race. In some places the logs were so frequent we could barely get 3 steps in between. Other places looked like we had to climb through some giant’s game of pickup sticks.

And of course with the recent snow melt, the mosquito population was exploding. Any thought of a peaceful afternoon nap was banished when over 100 of the devils landed on you within seconds. I’m up to a new record of killing 4 in one swat.

I’m over 500 miles now and have reached the Idaho border and at the western most point. Within two weeks the longest state of the trail will be done and a new state will begin.

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