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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!

Our Credo...

"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 20 – Halfway For Sure

We rolled out of camp under a few thin clouds, fairly early to tackle some bigger miles today. We detoured off the divide to get water from cow trampled Pattee creek. The divide is wide, flat, and tree covered, with few discernable landmarks. The challange in bushwhacking back was not the walk through thin forests, but navigating to the trail corridor through so much “sameness.”

Shortly after we were back on trail we encountered two northbound CDT hikers, Red Beard and Mike. They mentioned two other hikers just in front of them, Boston and Cub, who we must have missed while we were off getting water. We exchanged the usual hiker chat and data then moved on, as clouds were building and we needed to keep putting miles down.

The trail rolled south over gently undulating terrain, crossing the 45th parrallel (halfway between the north pole and the equator) and then dropping into Lemhi Pass.

Lewis and Clark made their westbound crossing of the Continental Divide over Lemhi Pass, leaving the headwaters of the Missouri and crossing over for a “first taste” of the Columbia. From above the pass we could look out and picture their easy climb along the gentle hills and long valleys from the east, their hopes high of finding an easy portage, a northwest passage, to the Columbia. One can only imagine what went through their minds as they reached Lemhi Pass and gazed upon the formidable Bitteroot range. An historical marker at the pass quotes Lewis as describing the mountains before him as “immense”. I’m sure he also used a few four-letter adjectives, obscured by time and deleted by history.

Below us to the east lies Sacajawea springs – the uppermost headwaters of the Missouri reached by Lewis and Clark. The springs were a fountain from which flowed the source waters for the first half of their journey. Symbolically, a “halfway” point of their trip.

It was also at these springs where they had reached their highest terrain and where Meriwether Lewis discovered (one of his many such discoveries) a plant unknown to European/American science, menulus lewisii, Lewis’s Red Monkeyflower. I wonder what the Shoshone guides must have thought about the expedition’s “discoveries” of plants that they knew so well? Were they amused by these visitors excitement over ordinary flowers? Did they hold these tourists in the same disdain reserved by locals for tourists anywhere?

South of Lemhi Pass the trail started going back UP, staying cose to the divide, often through open terrain with views of mountains and valleys of both Idaho and Montana. We passed another of our own halfway marks late in the afternoon, having covered about half the miles from our start in Glacier to Rawlins. Another mark of accomplishment, which brings satisfaction, but also some anxiousness, a feeling of “it’s time to get on and get done.” Lending to this anxiety is the cold front which has brought us unsettled weather these last two days and has also left us with a “nip” in the air, an early taste of fall.

The clouds which threatened rain all day have held back. The cooler temps helped us move along and after lunch we did 11 miles with over 3,300 elevation gain. Once again, cows were our companions for much of the way. Cows polluted a fenced off spring at 9,100 foot. And they startled a herd of elk who ran amok near the spring. Even at a 9,500 ft summit, high on the remote divide, with broad panoramas of both states, we came across more cows! It’s enough to make me consider becoming a vegetarian, hoping that reducing demand will reduce supply. Either that or eating nothing but burgers, ribs and steak as an act of vengence.

We camp at a 9,200 foot high saddle, our highest camp yet. The Whitebark Pine offer a break from the wind, but the night promises colder temps at this altitude. The moon rises mostly full and made orange-red by the smoke from distant forest fires blown in by the cold front.

21.2 miles for the day

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Flora & Fauna

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