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 19 – Fred Is Dead; Long Live Fred

After a hearty breakfast at Mel’s (in Augusta) with John Williams, a fellow CDT hiker, the Carrot and I hit the road to get a ride back to Benchmark. We had only walked to the middle of town, when an elderly couple getting into their packed Honda Civic asked where we were headed. We repplied “Benchmark” and mentioned we’d sure appreciate a ride if they were headed that way. A few minutes of repacking their backseat and stuffing their trunk and we were on our way.

The Rocky Mountain Front is an impressive sight from Augusta. Rolling plains, mostly ranchland, meet the steep mountains in a dramatic fashion. On the drive, we passed pronghorn Antelope, as well as Pelicans (no kidding) which are frequently seen at Nylon Reservoir.

The couple dropped us off halfway, as they took a side road to their cabin. A handfull of cars and two rides later we were back to the trail.

We started up the Straight Creek trail, a pleasant river walk with occasional views and a steady even climb. A Grouse Hen strutted to distract us as her 4 chicks all struggled to perches on low branches of a nearby tree.

Before long, the Carrot commented that Fred was back. Several days ago, in the Bob, the mosquitos started to drop off in numbers. But, the Horseflys quickly took their place. One Horsefly in particular, Fred, had followed the Carrot closely for the last two days in the Bob.

Evidently, Fred had been waiting for us to return from town. Now, loyalty in a Horsefly is not necessarily a good thing. All that buzzing alone is bad enough, but the Horsefly’s intentions are always questionable and not usually honorable.

At our first break Fred took a bite out of my calf – whether Fred was hungry, jealous, or just doing what Horseflies do, it didn’t matter. I put my foot down. On Fred. Fred is dead; long live Fred.

There’ll be replacements, there’ll be more Freds. The Carrot thinks many more – that they will swarm and seek vengence. I’m of the mind that they will heed my warning and their numbers will diminish.

We walked through an area burned last year, returning with a lush understory of grasses, Arnica, Cow Parsnip and others. Filtered views of many nearby peaks were opened up by the fire.

Continuing up the Straight Creek Valley, we passed through green forest and finally entered the area burned by the 1988 Canyon Creek fire. It burned about 250,000 acres, including about half of the Scapegoat Wilderness. At the time, it was the largest fire Montana had experienced since 1910. We will be seeing more of it in the coming days.

We are camped in nearly the highest reach of the headwater of Straight Creek. The valley has narrowed and the slopes are mostly the white stick figures of trees left by the ’88 fire. Regrowth has brought back scattered trees, most 5 to 7 foot high.

As the sun drops down the sky is streaked with lomg, thin, white lines – just like a cartoon sun. They are interesting, but disappear when the sun finally sinks.

12.7 miles for the day.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

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