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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 8 – Numerology

At 8 minutes past 8am today which is August 8, 2008 or, if you prefer, at 08:08 08/08/08 we left our room in Anaconda bound for the trail, with high hopes for such a propitious moment. With all the “perfect numbers” (0) and infinity signs lined up how could the day not be perfect and how could it not linger so all day?

It started out so well, too. The motel owner drove us out of town to the highway junction, so our chances of getting a good ride were dramatically increased. The second car drove us to the trailhead and we were ready to hike before the last coffee in the travel mug was finished.

Low lying clouds, or high flying fog, clung to the pass and the nearby hills to the west. The sun rising to the east, rose to the moment and added its drama to the landscape. We walked through meadows dotted with young lodgepole pine, no trail tread in sight, but followed the topo map to where we would intersect an old ranch road. We were surrounded by the Hagan ranch, now a wildlife preserve manged by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The Pintlers rose dramatically not too far in the distance, with clouds dancing all around. Except for the tall wet grass, which soaked us from toes to shorts, it was all very pleasant.

Of course, all these clouds finally won over the sun and the day turnd to dismal grey and a drizzling rain, all before lunch. The perfect moment didn’t last. By 01:55pm 08/08/08 we had donned rain gear and pack covers and found ourselves on a gravel road, with no views and construction trucks, off to lay concrete for some trophy home, roaring by. Numerology? I’m still a skeptic. Enjoying the perfect moment, even knowing it can not last? THAT, I do believe in.

If the perfect moment lasted forever, all moments would be perfect, which would become exceedingly ordinary and nothing would ever stand out as exceptional. We need to have the oridinary, the dull, the miserable, the bad and the ugly, to ever appreciate the good, the wonderful and the perfect. Of course, this is easier said now that the rain has stopped and the sun is back out shining.

After a late lunch under the sheltering branches of a large tree, we resumed our walk up the road to lower Seymore lake, gateway to the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. At the lake, the road ended and the trail began. Our road walking days are behind us now, at least for a good long while.

The landscape is lush and side creeks are frequent as we follow the trail up the narrowing valley. It’s nice to have such frequent opportunities to sip cool, clear mountain water. The clouds are all but gone and the sun shines in patches through the forest canopy. Not enough to dry all the wet brush, but a nicer outcome to the afternoon than we anticipated a few hours earlier.

We come across several cow elk with calves. They become agitated and scatter in several directions. One lingers for a better look at us, but bolts when I point a camera at her – instincts that may serve her well.

The climb gets steeper as we get deeper into the valley. Eventually we level out and arrive at the basin which holds Upper Seymore Lake. The lake is a popular destination, so we are not surprised to smell the smoke from a campfire as we get closer. But there are plentiful places to camp, so we move on around the lake a little farther from the two fisherman who are already there.

The lake is ringed by rugged mountains, mostly cliffs. Their images are reflected in the lake. Rising fish dimple the surface and two ducks cruise by. Their wake makes the reflected cliffs ripple. A few clouds wander around the peaks and a quarter moon rises over the mountain to complete the scene. Unsure of whether the clouds are strays or the vanguard of evening showers, we hurry to get the tent up and dinner made. Since we arrived at 8:08 pm, and it’s stil 08/08/08, we aren’t surprised by another perfect moment, but we know it won’t necessarily last long. We settle in, ready for whatever the night and next day might bring.

Miles 20.8

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