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 25 – Not All Miles Are Equal

From our camp to Dana Spring, the first thirteen miles of our hike today was a roller coaster trail, sometimes steep, with often inspiring views and a lot of elevation gain.

From the top of one set of cliffs we watched a hawk fold it’s wings back and nose dive, whistling past us, just for fun. It caught an updraft, circled a couple of times and repeated the performance. It took us almost 8 hours to reach Dana Spring.

We tanked up on water at Dana Springs and ate a late lunch. Fom Dana Springs things changed – the CDT follows a forest service road, gently rolling along near the crest. But we have transitioned from the wilder morre rugged terrain to more gentle countryside. Not all miles are equal.

The guidebook calls this stretch “pastoral”. I’ve known those who would call it the “sacrifice” lands. Views of nearby clearcuts, laced with roads designed for industrial logging and / or mining. Grazing allotments large enough and permanent enough for frequent cattle guards, piped springs and occasional holding pens. Not the same as wilderness walking – not all miles are equal.

Yes, we need some lands that produce timber, beef and metal; and some of the lands near the divide are ideally suited for these purposes. But….we should not believe the fantasy that the divide is one long corridor of wildands. Actually it’s more like a cross-section of the american intermountain west.
It’s always still the CDT, but the miles and scenery aren’t the same. They’re not equal.

The grades are much easier on the stretch after lunch and our total elevation change is a lot less. We cover 9 more miles in about 3 1/2 hours – the miles are not equal.

We’re closing in on highway 12 and McDonald Pass. We camp in a no-name saddle about 14 miles from McDonald pass. We can see city lights in the valley. Off in the distance, sometimes to the east and, sometimes to the west, we hear the low rumble of the trains and their lonesome whistles, as they climb the tracks and cross rural roads approaching the Mullan tunnel.

We share the pass with telephone lines. Overall, our sense of remoteness is shrinking fast.

Miles for the day 22.4

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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