Thru-hikes have phases, kinda like life. You start out of shape and hurt all the time. Then you feel better, but small issues seem to keep you from your peak mileage (gear problems, hard trail sections, new injuries, etc.) At some point, the issues seem to fade and the miles fly by. Eventually though, things start going the other way and your racing to finish before the trail kills you. Well this last section everything finally clicked for Kevin and I and what we planned on hiking in 4.5 days we did in 3.5. It felt good to do back to back days with over 30 miles; not because we were racing, but because otherwise we’d have been sitting in camp twiddling our thumbs. Kevin has way too much A.D.D. and me not enough patience for that.
The section was both beautiful and varied: high alpine lakes and snowy passes followed by a long grassy ridgeline. In this area, the continental divide is also the Montana/Idaho state line so we find ourselves wandering back and forth between states or sometimes walking with one foot in each. We’ll be doing this for the next 8 days or so until we cross the Wyoming border.
In some freaky perfect storm situation, we arrived in town to find 13 other hikers. None of the townspeople had ever seen that many at one time and we certainly didn’t expect to. It was great to hear from Northbounders who are in their last month and could tell us about what was coming up. The other Southbounders we knew of from journals and we exchanged war stories. Then there are the Flip Floppers (hikers who jump around and do the trail in wierd ordered sections), you never know how to quite relate to them or when you’ll see them next. All in all we had a grand evening. The next day after breakfast it was over as Kevin and I stayed in town and the rest of them made their way back to hiking. Some we’ll see in the next town.
I’m looking forward to Wyoming. Sure a state line is an arbitrary boundary, but it helps you feel like you are actually making progress. Finishing Montana will be a huge milestone as it is by far the longest state of the CDT.