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 Sept 11 – Snow Covered Hills

A cloudless night meant a very cold night. The moisture laden night air we felt around the campfire turned to heavy, hard and huge ice crystals on the ground, plants and shrubs.

The day started with a climb to Two Ocean Plateau, a white, otherworldly place. Wide open space, distant views and ground with frost shimmering and reflecting the early morning light.
To the west the Grand Tetons rise above the clouded valley. To the east lie the rugged tops of the Absarokas.

We drop into Two Ocean Pass, also known as the Parting of the Waters. Much of the plateau drains into two ocean creek which drops into the pass. OK, you have guessed by now from the names, at the pass the creek splits and some water flows east to the Atlantic via the Yellowstone, Missouri, Mississippi rivers and some goes west via the Snake and Columbia system. It sounds dramatic; it’s unique and so we would expect stunning. It is an iconic place I had been loking forward to seeing. I had pictured a floating leaf wandering side to side, nudged by a fate so simple that the proverbial butterfly wings flapping might influence its course to a final destiny one side or the other of a continent. Not so. The pass is so big, broad and choked with willows that it’s hard to say which channels and puddles actualy end up where. Sometimes the dream is better than reality. And the truth be told, I am more likely to “remember” it more like my vision than like my experience.

But, it does captivate the imagination. The horse “Super Highway” attests to that. Our single track trail become two, then three “lanes”. It’s not only the iconic nature of Two Ocean Pass. The Teton Wildernes, not far from here, is one spot which claims to be the farthest from a road of any kind in the contigous United States, 30+ miles. Elk know it. Hunters too. And it is the start of hunting season.

In the afternoon, we see several large pack trains that supply various outfitter camps. We also see several small bands of hunters on horseback. The 2 or 3 lanes, in places, turns into 12 to 15 lanes scarring 50 foot wide sections of meadows. Wilderness may be untrammeled by man, but the Act made no prohibitions about horse, or cow trammeling, for better or worse.

We followed fresh grizzley tracks, amused because they were on top of the most recent horse packer tracks. A beaver built a dam, creating a need for a diversion in the trail. Following old and more well tread tracks we dead-ended at the dam. Not wanting to back track we navigated the marshy area by walking just below and/ or on top of the dam.

My left shin is starting to hurt. Occasionally painful, it feels like shin splints. But we press on, needing to make up for miles lost yesterday to weather and mud.

A major section of trail changed designation since first printing of the guidebook. There’s new info in a supplement but it’s confusing at/near junctions, so we take some time at each crossing.

By afternoon the skies have clouded up, again, and overall it’s stayed cool. Again, late afternoon sprinkles turned into early evening rain, hail, snow. Ominous. Fortunately, the storm spent itself out and skies cleared just before we made camp.

We pushed for a camp as late as we could and aimed for a flatspot on the topo map above a smalll lake. It turned out to be full of little hills and heavily wooded, but we found flat space between the down logs just big enough for the tent. We set up on a bed of Whortleberry, lumpy but cushy.

Again nightfall brought the distant bugling of elk. But I am thinking that this time they’re likely calling in all the other Elk, urging them to the safety of Yellowstone. After all, hunting season has started.

We did not do as many miles as we had hoped for, leaving us with almost 20 to go tomorrow. We’ll push for town tonight; even though we’ll get in too late for the post office on Friday – we can do that stuff Sat AM.

Miles 20.8

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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