CDT Day 38: Goldstone Pass to Montana? Idaho? – Fox Camp to Sunrise Slopey Porch Camp
Miles hiked: 27.8
Total miles: 635.7
I’m pretty sure that at some point in my life, or many points, I was taught not to drink bleach. It’s just a feeling that I have, but it’s a strong feeling. Well, today I started drinking bleach. Just a little bit, a few drops diluted in each liter of water. With my filter out of action, and SpiceRack running low on Aquamira, I turned to plan b. Let’s see how this goes.
Slept through alarm, blah blah blah, hiking by 7:30am. The morning was cool and clear, which made me feel pretty good about hanging out up on this ridge for a while. A super steep climb warmed me up a little more than I asked for and then a steep down on loose rock crunched my knees more than is healthy so early in the morning.
The trail smoothed out from there and I rode the ridge on meandering undulations through forest and burn areas of various vintages, the freshest of which still smelled like a campfire. Rooster joined me for the cruise and we discussed our trail bucket lists, increasing usage of the long trails, and hammock camping. We blasted out the first seven miles in great time.
I took a break to air out my feet and wait for Spice. She found me five minutes after leaving a break of her own and we rolled out for an area of general flatness. A dirt road took us to a nasty cow creek where we joined the dudes for lunch. I bleached the brownish water, but wasn’t stoked to drink it, though I had no choice.
A dusty path through Oregon-inspired forest blurred for the next few hours. Spice and I hiked hard to take advantage of this easier section of trail, listening to some choice Macklemore songs. The trees opened up to sagebrush and yellow flowers, revealing a sweeping vista of more of the same. Big time thunderstorms surrounded us, but I wasn’t worried about them at our lower elevation. We rounded down to Lemhi Pass, a spot of significance for Lewis and Clark for some reason.
A dense rain shower surprised us as we read some educational signs, soaking me through with fat drops in no time. Spice and I ran to find shelter at the Sacajawea Memorial Park, but didn’t make it there before the rain passed. It was a good place for second lunch anyway so we spread out for a chill session. Crunchberry, Rooster, and Pine Stick all showed up shortly after and we drank deep from the small trickle claiming to be the headwaters of the Missouri River. True or not, it was better than cow water.
No one was eager to get moving for the final push of the day, which included a butt load of climbing. Still, with cooling showers, there wasn’t going to be a better time to try it out. We bushwhacked a little to get back to the trail then got hiking on the dirt road that would steer us for the next many miles.
The wide open views and temperamental weather filled me with energy. Rain sprinkled and thunder boomed all around. Some storms hit us, most missed. I had my umbrella up then down numerous times, not caring to use my pack cover to defend against the intermittent splashes.
The steep climb was worse than any of us had expected, but all the struggle was wiped clean by the ridiculous triple rainbow and golden rain that formed behind us as the storms ran out. I’ve never seen so many repeated colors in a rainbow. Vibrant. Endless. The rich scent of sage and pine filled my senses. I was sweaty. I was happy. I think everyone else was too. An intermediate bald afforded us rad views of jagged mountains to the west, a deep valley, and the storm remnants.
Spice and I lost the others to their camping spots as we tried to finish the grind to the next water. We didn’t quite make it there, but we were proud of our effort. I owe most of my success to the packet of gummies I’d been saving for such an occasion. My legs were tired, feet smoonched.
High up once more, but still in the trees, it took some searching to find a flat spot that promised a sunrise show, but we found it. 9pm, pretty good considering the distance covered. It was a tough day, but now we’re set up for a smooth sailing to Bannock Pass and town tomorrow. There’s a wedding to attend after all. No dilly dallying.