CDT Day 48: I-15(Lima, MT) to Coon Creek – Frozen Dew Trespass Camp to Owl Dinner Camp
Miles hiked: 20
Total miles: 779.3
Escape from Lima! It took a couple more hours of fruitless hitching and another meal at the diner, but we made it out. Back on our way South.
The morning was frosty when we packed up our stuff to get back to hitchhiking. Cold and clear. We got a nice sunrise as we waited with our thumbs out, but that was all. Lima is not a popular morning stop. When Jan’s opened at 7am we gave up, the call of hot food and coffee too powerful to resist. Back to the diner for some more hash browns and oatmeal.
Another failed attempt at thumbing a ride after breakfast meant that we were on the shuttle filled with other hikers at 9am. Not terrible, but our hope at a head start in the heat of the day was lost. Fortunately, the weather had shifted, bringing cooler temperatures despite the bright sun and clear skies. A bunch of nobos went north, SpiceRack and I started south up a dirt road into the hills with Jackrabbit.
And not a whole lot happened from there. This portion of the Divide was gentle, wide humps of sage and grass pasture. The walking was fine and not too arduous. One might say casual. Near the top of our first big, yet gradual, climb, I was impressed with the view backwards to the last week or so of hiking. I had no trouble picking out Garfield and Elk Mountain from the lineup of pointy things cutting across the horizon. That’s practically all the way to Bannock Pass, the start of the last 100 mile section. Pretty cool, I think.
We discovered where all the white cows have been hiding, then followed a fence for a long while. Steep up followed a steep down through trees. We laughed at the overabundance of CDT trail crests nailed to a tree every 20 yards through a Disneyland stretch of trail. After filling our bottles at Rock Spring, cool and clear from a pipe, Spice and I struck out into the golden evening light to make a few more miles before camping.
The vista across the flat Snake River Basin was incredible even before I noticed the towering peaks of Grand Teton National Park. It was just a distant silhouette, but it might have been the highlight of my day nonetheless. Not only is that range made up of some of the most jagged peaks in the country, but it is in Wyoming, the next state, the next milestone of our CDT journey. I stared long, I thought hard about the majesty of those peaks and what they represent.
Not long after, we are cowboy camping in a meadow, hoping for a sunrise view, but also knowing that we should probably be hiking before sunrise. I eat cold ramen and chia seeds for dinner as an owl swoops repeatedly, silently above us, looking for his/hers. Spooky. We made 20 miles despite the late start, and that’s pretty cool. Good views too, that will probably only get better. Living in the dirt. Are we still dreaming, or are we living the dream?