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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

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"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal Aug 18 – Time To Put on Miles

We are scheduled to meet Sandy Compton at Bannock Pass late in the afternoon on Thur Aug 21. We started from Chief Joseph a day earlier than originally planned. Although it was late in the day, it gave us a “head start” on this section, allowing us to slow down through some of the rugged and beautiful lake basins. We enjoyed that, but now we need to pick up the pace and put on the miles.

We started the day with a climb of about 1,100 over 1 1/2 miles. Despite some new trail tread, and some switchbacks, there were places where the trail crews skipped the switchbacks, possibly out of malice or forgetfullness, and the grade easily exceeded 20%.

After reaching the viewless top we immediately crossed over the ridge and started down. Thus began the morning’s roller coaster of viewless ridges.

Between Englejard Creek and Hamby Creek we encountered an unusual area of blowdowns. There were hundrds of blowndown trees in less than a mile. All blown over in the same direction and all looking like the came down wthin the last year or so – still green needles suggested that the trees weren’t down long. Most showed signs of beetle damage. It would appear that some major wind event occured and took out the weakend trees. For us it meant hard hiking, negotiating our way over, under and/or around trees. And hard navigating. In this area the “trail” in many places was not well defined to begin with, following rock cairns rather than tread. The downed trees destroyed or blocked from view many cairns. All in all not a fast start to a day where we wanted to make up miles.

On the ridge between Hamby and Berry creeks we met a day hiker, John King, from Idaho Falls, doing sections of the CDT, one day (one BIG day) at a time. He sets up a base camp, then goes out and back one direction on one day and then does the opposite direction the next.

From Berry creek the trail turned back into a road walk. With so little traffic (only one car in about 12 miles) the nice even grade and generally smooth surface was a welcome change of pace. The return to cattle country was not. The trail drops well away from the divide in order to get around a section too rugged for trail. The surroundings are mostly sagebrush flats. We make decent time on the forest service road, making up for the morning’s delays.

Coming the other way on the road near Skinner Meadows, we encounter a northbound thru-hiker, Coulter. We chat, exchange trail info and news and swap a quick story or two, but as it’s evening and we are both anxious to get to camp, we move on.

We pass a herd or two of cows. Turning up Darkhorse Canyon, we hope to leave them behind, but the cowpies tell of their occasional presence. We go a short ways to a well used area just off the road where Darkhorse Creek swings near and make camp, amid tall lodgepole and scattered cow patties, serenaded to sleep by the creeks and the distant moos.

Miles 18.1

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People Shots

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Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersFloraButterfly 2BeaverFloraFlora 3Angry MarmotButterfly