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 July 15 – My Wall’s Bigger Than Yours

The air is cooler and more humid this morning, the sky is hazy with just a hint of smokey smell. We cross the creek and spend a few minutes chatting with the party of four women breaking camp. They’re on a week long trip through the Bob, heading partly the same way as we are but on a slower schedule.

The morning and early afternoon were a pretty nondescript valley walk, climbing a couple thousand feet back up to the higher country. At least we were enclosed in green – this was the first day with no burned area since Marias Pass.

We came upon a frantic female Grouse on the trail, hungry for attention, clucking, spreading it’s tailfeathers and generaly trying to attract us away from it’s tiny nearby chick.

John caught up to us and stopped just as we were finishing lunch. He had just seen a bear not far back on the trail.

South of MY Lake, we crossed a ridge and THE WALL came into view. That is the Chinese Wall. It’s Bigger, and therefore must be better, than the North Wall. It’s longer, taller, overall more dramatic. But it’s more than just a big hunk of rock. It’s a REALLY HUGE, big hunk of rock. Seriously though, it’s impressive beyond description with words or even photos. To appreciate it’s depth you must sit in front of it’s stillness and watch it come to life. At its northern end, we watched a herd of Mountain Goats grazing on the steep slopes of a grassy ravine.

We wanted to watch the wall, so we made camp on the first benched area we descended onto, close enough to watch the mountain goats. A young White Tail doe came out to inspect us. Deciding we were no threat she continued to graze on Glacier Lilys. While making dinner, another heard of mountain goats emerged from a high notch in the Wall decended to a narrow grassy ledge, grazed awile and disappeared into a series of high, narrow rock ramps. A Golden Eagle soared amongt he cliff faces and tops, undoubedtly looking for young Mountain Goat kids straggling behind the herd.

The Chinese Wall got its name, according to some locals, because of the “Chinese Faces” that can be seen in the wall. The Carrot read somewhere that it got its name because it is as awe inspiring as the Great Wall of China. It’s certainly a formidable barrier, and a huge attraction.

Nearby our camp we look up and see some of the rock faces. I’m not seeing the oriental look. But I do see a Lion with a regal nose, a thin looking Bill Cosby and, as evening wears on, the Pope, a scowling Cougar, and Richard Nixon come out to stare back at us.

The Wall lives in another dimension of time and it just can’t be appreciated even at hiking speed. It requires quiet observation to plumb its depths. If this iconic rock formation were closer to civilization it would, perhaps, be as well known as Yosemite. It certainly would have been photographed by Ansel Adams. But, as the guidebook author points out, we are 20 miles from anything resembling a road. Good. It takes effort to get here, on foot or on horseback. The kind of effort which goes along with quiet observation, not the car-door-slamming, quiet-destroying kind of quick look.

Our early camp near the northern end of the wall will give us a chance to walk along the east facing Wall in the early morning light. We also got to set the tent set up before rain comes. Felt a few drops on the trail, but now, as evening comes on, the skies are clearing. A yellow-orange moon waxing towards full rises over a ridge to the east. The Ground squirrel chatter quiets down as the Wall goes into a silent slumber.

Trail Miles for the day, 11.2 approx. Camped at 7,366

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People Shots

CDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_TheTrailCDT2010_NMWC-1Carrot After a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #3,768Carrot on the Trail stillCarrot takes a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot on the TrailCliff Dwelling SignCarrot takes a PhotoCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115

Scenic Shots

CDT2010-valleyCDT2010_yellowflowersCarrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicCliff Dwelling Stream Vast DesertPrickly Pear 2Prickly PearPlateau at Sunset

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersAngry MarmotFlora 3FloraBeaverButterfly 2FloraButterfly