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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 July 16 – Just Another Face In The Wall

The morning came with crystal clear blue skies. As we walked along occasionally another face in the Wall would appear, but few as vivid as those near our camp. And no other part of the wall had as many faces so close together. Perhaps if we lingered longer more would have come out.

Walking along the wall is a bit like walking in a canyon, except that it’s one sided and there’s no river bottom. Snow and mud again slowed our progress. We came across the first group of horse-packers we’ve seen on this trip. Actually two seperate groups, 3 people and 6 horses in each group. Fourty Eight hooves churnin’ up the mud on the trail ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against horse packers in this area or on this trail. We spoke with both groups and they were nice people enjoying the out of doors and the wonders of nature. One group was a family, and it was nice to see them out enjoying such a healthy activity! And horse packers have a long tradition of backcountry travel. In fact, as groups, and individuals, they have contributed greatly towards the efforts to preserve wild areas as well as build and maintain trails. For that, we hikers owe them a debt of gratitude. BUT, walking in the mud pits, ruts and dried pot-holes created largely by horse hooves is tiring, slow going and unpleasant. And restoration of the fragile alpine meadows, now turned into mud pits, cannot be achieved by merely closing areas to camping, while leaving them open still to heavy horse traffic. Further limits or restrictions would be required to achieve that goal.

Ryan – a Forest Service trail crew chief and Minnow, his Black Lab, caught up to us on a break. We had met him a couple days before on Open Creek. He’s on a 2 day hike to check up on his other crew out of Indian Point Guard Station. It’s quicker than hiking out driving around and hiking back in.

At midday clouds rolled in, threatening rain but delivering only sprinkles in the evening. We lingered over lunch and last views of the Wall before heading down to a series of forks of the Sun river. A pleasant walk through forest, with occassional views of the majestic peaks dotting the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We walked through the fringes of the Ahorn fire, another from last year. Mosaic patterns on the hillsides showed a great variety of heat intensity in the burn.

As we get closer to the Benchmark trailhad, the trail gets wider and shows signs of increased use. Around Indian Point, we met a father and his teenage daughter and son, from New Jersey, heading in on a five day backpack trip. They were struggling a little with heavy loads and tender feet, but were smiling.

About a mile or so from our intended campsite we came across a bear very intently sniffing and digging around in the grassy understory above the trail. He was about 80 to 90 yards away and through the Lodgepole Pines it was hard to say for sure whether he was an average sized brown colored black bear or a small grizzly. We never had a good look at the face and the shoulders were so busy digging it was hard to say what might have been hump or just rippling shoulders. We moved on without disturbing him and then started making noise lest he be interested in coming our direction. As we moved on down the trail we were also moving upwind and feeling like our 8 days without a shower would be handy to alert, as well as deter, him.

We passed a camp – one of the group of horse packers we had seen earlier. A little farther along we passed a backpacker’s camp and a nearby fly-fisherman, casting his fly rod in the Sun River to an evening hatch of insects. We made camp shortly after that, figuring the bear would have a lot more to check out, if he was so inclined, before he got to our slim pickings.

Miles for the day – aprox 17.0

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