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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!

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"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 Sep 9 – Colter’s Revenge

Somewhere today, between the park’s south entrance road and Heart lake, we crossed over the 900 mile threshold for the trip.

The morning was cold, maybe the coldest one so far. We had difficulty getting out of the tent. The Carrot poured water into her mug to wash out the breakfast drink and the water turned instantly to an icy slush. COLD. We took the frozen socks and bent them until the were soft enough to put on, played with the frozen shoe laces and tongues, until we could slide into to bitterley cold shoes. All this made the fingers numb. A harsh morning to get up and hike, but with 23 miles to go to our next designated site we had to get moving. The park requires you to be on a schedule dictated by the permit. So, off you go, cold or not.

But not as harsh as conditions were for John Colter. Colter was a western pioneer, trapper, explorer; a member of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Lured by what he saw, Colter returned a few years later to the region and is generally acknowledged as the first white man to see Yellowstone. The establishment back east thought he was mad when he described the geologic and thermal wonders of this area. Maybe they didn’t believe his travelogue.

You see Colter was often at odds with the Blackfoot tribe. He was captured near Yellowstone and escaped, walking without firearms, clothes or shoes 300 miles to a fort downstream on the Yellowstone River. So, sure, I won’t whine about frozen shoes if the alternative is no shoes at all; but I just wonder if his were too frozen to put on during the few moments he had to “pack up and leave.” I guess we can make it to Dubois.

The bright spot of the morning, mostly clear skies, turned gradually grey and cloudier all day. The temps stayed cool, making a crotch deep ford of the outlet of Shoshone Lake, ahem, ‘exhilarating’.

We continued to see quite a few day hikers and backpackers on the trail. It was nice to see people going to places other than Old Faithful in this park of 2 million acres.

We crossed more plateu country and dropped into backcountry guysers, hot pots and hot spots, where the ground radiates heat. It’s probably no coincidence that we saw a number of garter snakes and a rubber boa in the general vicinity of the Heart lake thermal area.

We also saw several deer and a moose meandering in a meadow at dusk. But, the bears which inhabit the Heart lake area were no where to be seen.

At Heart Lake, the terrain shifted from the generally flat plateau to country with valleys, canyons and peaks. Aesthetically pleasing, but with more rugged hiking ahead.

To end the day, we had another creek crossing and hiked a quarter mile down a different trail to get to our designated campsite. We made it just barely before dark, which now comes almost two hours earlier than when we started hiking in early July. With headlamps on, we got water, firewood, set up camp and made dinner.

Thunderstorms rolled through disrupting our dinner, as we scrambled for a sheltering tree, but didn’t amount to much. Still, the storms kept a cloud cover which made for a warmer evening, a nice change of pace.

Miles for the day 23.0

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People Shots

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Flora & Fauna

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