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 6th – Pitamakan Pass

Thunderclouds darkened the morning sky. They came and went all day, adding drama to our crossing of Pitamakan Pass.

On our way up Cut Bank Valley, a trail crew just below Morning Star Lake was re-setting a footbridge, well two of them were anyway, while the other three were on a smoke break.

After Morning Star Lake, the trail switchbacks its way up towards Pitamakan Lake. Patches of snow finally became a blanket of white with the trail hidden somewhere beneath. The intermediate destination was clear enough, we needed to climb a ridge to Pitamakan Lake, circle around it’s outlet and climb another ridge to rightly-named Lake of the Seven Winds. So we did, all on snow, all without benefit of trail. Coyote and moose tracks suggested some good ridge walking routes. From Lake of the Seven Winds the trail, free of snow and full of wildflowers, switchbacks up a very windy (of course) slope to the pass. Ironically, flowers on these high slopes and passes have a big head start from those in the lower forests still under snow and likely to be so for sometime yet.

Pitamakan Pass was very windy, just as it was in Sept 2003 when we last visited it during a 3 day hike. At that time we gazed down on Pitamakan Lake and at the valley beyond imagining the day when we would be hiking the CDT via that route. That day came – today, and it was much like we imagined – windy, tiring and exciting.

We started down the south side of Pitamakan Pass enjoying the views of Old Man Lake and the valley. High on a hillside we watched an Elk graze and hustled our way into Camp.

The Two Medicine Lake car campground has several sites for hikers – convenient but not like the back-country. As we stepped across the footbridge into semi-civilization, a Park Ranger, in shorts, an ammo belt around one shoulder and a shotgun around the other came running towards us. Having no outstanding warrants or parking fees I wasn’t too worried, but still startled. A very quick conversation about trails and bears ensued, as he kept running and turned left at the fork where we had come in from the right – something about two bears feeding…but isn’t that what bears do for the 7 months of the year they aren’t hibernating? Bears and hikers have that in common – if you aren’t walking you’re eating, or sleeping, or pooping in the woods. No wonder many hikers feel a kinship to bears.

Approx miles for the day 15.1

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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