CDT Day 9

CDT Day 9 — July 4
somewhere else
to Blowdownville
Shhhh Secret Camp
to Comfy Cemetery Camp

Miles hiked: 17
Total miles: 134.4

The 5am alarm had no effect. The 6am alarm did a little bit better, only taking three snoozes to get us moving. Sunlight was blinking through the dense trees in tight beams, giving me hope that the wet weather had moved on. I scarfed a 450 calorie Hostess pie sugarbomb for breakfast while packing up camp. Back on trail at 7:15am.

The trail picked up right where it left off with some combination of yesterday’s rain and morning dew immediately soaking me from the waist down as SpiceRack and I began our push through the overgrown underbrush. The morning was sunny and warm so I didn’t mind the shower, but I was amazed when the density of leaves and stems was enough to untie my formidable shoelace knot. Spice got got too.

Tie ’em tight!

Consistent and deep mud soiled us still further, but once I gave in, the squelching and squishing became quite satisfying. Although the mud could be troublesome for walking, the ten remaining miles through Glacier were gentle and scrolled by in relaxed unspectacularity. I would pull ahead fifty or so yards then be drawn back by a giggle or gasp from Spice to relay the latest interesting tidbit from Michelle Obama’s autobiography audiobook. No bears, lots of bear poop, one moose. The trail lead us out of Glacier, depositing us unceremoniously on the train tracks paralleling Hwy2 at Marias Pass.

Out of Glacier, across the tracks.

We crossed the tracks and the road to reach the rest area that boasted at least five educational signs and one obelisk detailing the important history, people, and geology of the area. The view of the great escarpment of layered stone that forms the southern border of Glacier NP was worth one more informational board at least! Spice and I joined two other hikers sitting in the sunny parking lot to eat lunch. They’re new to us, true SOBOs, kids who just finished high school, one getting off trail to diagnose intense foot pain. Their ride came to collect them, leaving just us to dehydrate in the heat.

Dehydration is not a joke.

After rehydrating as best we could at a spigot of cold water, we meandered through Summit Campground searching for the trail. Heavy metal drifted to us on the breeze from campers setting up for 4th of July festivities. Once located (not hard), the trail gained altitude sharply through a carefully managed parcel of Lewis and Clark National Forest. Neat rows of pine and clear ground immediately gave this area a different vibe to the jungle of Glacier. So did the dirt road and lack of signage. Sometime today or tomorrow, we will cross into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, leaving these human marks behind.

Still feeling groggy from our hot parking lot siesta, we stopped for another siesta on a shaded patch of tall grass. I took this time to scrutinize the maps. The Bob is going to be awesome! After an hour, we got moving again to find out for certain.

Easy walking through meadows and forest put us in a huge burn area. Views of the surrounding hills were nice, but the scale of the devastation was enormous, especially apparent because all of the hills within sight were also covered in a prickly coat of silver snags. A big fire, whenever it was.

The trail remained well manicured for a few more miles before we reached a mess of blowdowns, lying across the trail like a jagged pile of pick-up sticks. We expected this, having received the trail beta from every other hiker with vocal cords. As it was the end of the day now, we were looking hard for anywhere to camp, but it couldn’t have been a worse spot. Burn areas are terrible for camping, what with all the dead trees on the ground, but also for the danger of a still-standing tree from crushing you in the night. Still, Spice and I were tired, so we found a spot just big enough for one tent. Not beautiful. Comfortable.

Burn zones. Freaking incredible.

I ate cold ramen for dinner, after an appetizer of a fig newton and peanut butter burrito. Dinner was followed by a desert of fig newtons. In the end, I finished off an entire packet of them, 1000 calories, in one day. It is what it is.

My head is down to rest before dark hoping to pay off some of the sleep debt incurred the last two nights. Figgy dreams await.

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