Aug 29 2016
Aug 29th 2016
It was a restful zero yesterday and possibly the last one for a long time. I wanted to be out of town by 8:30, but we were waiting on another hiker and he was ready closer to 10. We were dropped off on Interstate 15 where we were picked up. We had to jump the fence again before walking through the underpass. The next 8 miles followed a gravel road. Paperweight and I walked together passing the time talking away. I love the wide open space that this part of the country has to offer. We came to the trailhead to climb a steep uphill where we took a break and was joined by Chipmunk. We looked at the Ley maps and he called this next section a calf buster, a roller coaster, and to enjoy!! The trail follows the divide which is the border of Idaho and Montana. You follow a barbed wire fence up steep climb then back down to go up again. I felt the burn, but the zero day helped. After 3.2 miles of this, I took a break and waited for him to catch up since I had left before him. We may have had a dance party on the divide for a few seconds… Then it was back to work. He got ahead of me as usual on the up hills as I switched from my iPod to podcasts. Fifteen minutes later I realized my iPod was gone. He was so far ahead so I just dropped my pack retracting my steps. As I was nearing our break spot, Chipmunk saw me looked down and picked up the IPod. Phew! I need my music. Walking without my pack felt so wonderful and you won’t believe how heavy it felt when I put it on again. He was waiting at the top of one of the climbs knowing I must have lost something. I lost 40 minutes, but the views were spectacular and we moved on. It was unrelenting! We had another snack and water break which was necessary. The sun was shining, but the breeze was a lifesaver. We saw so many cows and a herd of over 200 sheep. I still can’t get over the fact that you can see for miles in all directions! I really love this section. The last few ups were exhausting and we were rewarded with a downhill as the sun began to disappear. We came across a group of noisy unintelligent cows right on the trail. Instead of stepping off the trail they continued walking it looking back at me and still walking it over a mile downhill. Silly cows! This is where most of the cows were at munching away and making wild sounds at us. We noticed a cute little fox to our left. First one I’ve ever seen on a trail or in the wild!! He was the cutest! The last few miles of trail were steep ups and downs as the sun was setting. We choose to stop after a little over 23 miles near a stream. Chipmunk joined us and it took us all a while to find a cow poop free campsite. Back to falling asleep with that smell. Yuck! It was a late night around 10:15 by the time we got in the tent.
We were up early today with hopes of a 26.9 mile day. Chipmunk was getting out of her tent when we were finished packing and we would not see her again today. It was a beautiful day for a stroll on the CDT. Since there are few other hikers out here with us, I chatted to the many cows this morning before we took a break a break in a field admiring them and listening to them chat back. We followed a trail for a little while before I checked my Guthook App realizing we were not on the CDT. So it was an uphill bushwhack to connect back to the trail followed by more climbing looking back on the field we came from. It was a clear day and we cruised along quickly getting closer to our desired mile mark surrounded by sage brush.
It was another beautiful morning and easy walking until we got lost again trying to find the trail. You cross a river then the trail splits into two directions. Of course, I choose the wrong direction which ended up on a sketch loose rock crossing and bush whack back to the trail. It was frustrating, but we came to an open hilly field to see a marker on the top. So we walked on even ground over sage brush towards the marker where we found a nice trail to follow up to the top. Nice views all around followed by a downhill. I took a quick break at the top feeling tired, but blaming it on the off trail travel and frustration. I headed down from the top to the water source where Paperweight was waiting for me at our lunch spot. At lunch, I was feeling so weak and exhausted. I did not want to eat anything or continue walking. It was a worrisome feeling as I forced down a few pieces of food and threw on my pack. I left first and felt so lethargic, I struggled on a flat section before seeing the next pass ahead of me. Yuck! I took of my pack and just sat down until he arrived. I took some medicine and began to cry out of physical pain and exhaustion. One of the hardships of thru hiking is you can’t just call it a day when you fell horrible. You have to make your miles or worry about running out of food. I slowly made my way up the climb alone with lots of encouraging words floating in my head. He was a good half a mile ahead as I just seemed to be crawling. After I made it to the top, I noticed Chipmunk was with him and they were chatting. She had found a shorter route yesterday and just reconnected to the official route. The wind was whipping hard on the top as I struggled to stay upright. They both got ahead of me quickly as I wanted to call it a day, but you can’t when you share a tent with someone. This section was beautiful and I wish I had felt better to admire it, but I felt like death. The trail dipped down to climb back up again and as I was at the bottom they were both almost at the top. I struggled through the tear and continued onward. At the top, they were close enough to see them turn around to see that I was still there. I wandered around on the divide for a bit before finding the route and them taking a break along a stream. I said if I stopped now then I might never move again so onward I went as the birds sang and a coyote howled in the distance. I did not make it the campsite before sitting down out of exhaustion considering taking a dirt road in search of a way to town to rest and recover. After half an hour, they both showed up and encouraged me that we were close to the intended campsite. I put on a podcast and walked the last 2.5 miles so slowly wanting to just pass out on the trail. I made it and just collapsed right off the trail. Paperweight set up the tent, blew up my air pad, got me water, and took great care of me. I don’t know what I would have done without him. I cooked and forced down as much as I could. My temperature was very high and both Chipmunk and Paperweight commented on how pale my face was. I wandered over to our tent and climbed in for the night. He massaged my back and neck and hugged me as I shook and moaned trying to get warm. I did not want him to get sick, but he wouldn’t let go of me. I don’t get sick often and this is my first time ever on a thru hike. It’s miserable and a bit scary, but he reassured me that I would be better in the morning and that we could do a shorter day tomorrow.
I did not get much rest last night. I went from hot to cold quickly and kept tossing and turning. He felt my forehead and was surprised at how much I was still burning up. It has rained during the night and it started to again this morning when we were debating what to do. We decided to just do 16 miles and take our time. I pride myself in not needing someone to take care of me, but I needed him for many reasons yesterday and today. I accepted his help, affection, and comfort realizing everyone needs a person in their life like him. I started ahead of him realizing I have someone very special in my life. The trail connected to a two lane path as I slowed down for him to catch up to me. We would walk together the rest of the morning. The trail wandered up and down this path for hours and passed a few cars parked along a lake. I started to feel better thinking the medicine had kicked in and I felt the moment my fever broke. It was a relief. A quick 24 hour bug that would have had me crying on a couch all day back in the real world. Thru hiking reminds me what we are capable of and how far we can push ourselves. We found Chipmunk taking a break at a stream and joined her. She planned to do more miles, but debated a short 16 mile day with us. She decided to push on and we would see her again at the next water source then in Leadore. It was a podcast afternoon that went quickly along the dirt road as a few people on ATVs passed us. One of the water sources was quite a ways off trail and Paperweight went and filled my bottles for me thankfully allowing me more time to rest. We did a few more miles telling Chipmunk we would see her in town. We found a nice campsite where we were able to set up early and just relax. It was a rare day and much needed. Too bad as a thru hiker you can’t do just do 16 miles a day… on these trails. I may know a few that this is possible… hmm!
Sept 2 2016
We camped at the base of the climb last night and I felt back to my normal self this morning. We enjoyed a nice uphill climb as the sun rose and we made a fast paced dash into the town of Leadore, Idaho. The original plan was just to resupply and get out town, but we changed our mind the night before knowing it would important for me to get some rest. At the top of the climb, we ran into our first bow hunter off of a main road. Consequently, the pass is called Elk Pass and that was the animal he was hunting. He hiked up here this morning before sunrise and had an elk in his scope. I would guess he was 18 years old in his favorite hunting spot. I have a new respect for these type of hunters and we enjoyed a quick chat before we continued onward. The hiking was beautiful and rewarding. We finally hit the a ‘road walk’ which is just a vehicle size trail that hunters or ATVers use to get closer to their hunting spots. We blocked tuned into our devices as we walked a fast 3 mile per hour pace nearing town. As we made it to the trailhead, we knew this was one of the hardest hitches and our guidebook said if you see a car make it stop at any cost. Within 5 minutes, a truck drove up and stopped without much effort on our part. He cleaned out his front passenger seat of his truck so the two of us could share one seat. He was a kind gentleman and has done lots of hiking himself. He admired our hike and did not even realize Leadore was the town he was driving through. He dropped us off at the Post Office around 11, where we found the Chipmunk hanging out. She had a more difficult time getting a ride and only got in half an hour before we did. We made our way to the Leadore Inn where we were told the four rooms were full. Luckily, the owner came over and said he had a cancellation. Chipmunk was willing to sleep on the floor as she let us share the bed. It was a good option since the temperature outside was going to be in the low 30s. We dropped our things and headed to the one restaurant, Silver Dollar Bar & Restaurant. Lots of hunters, motorcycle riders, and other people traveling over the holiday weekend were there. There was one man working meaning he would take orders, cook the meals, and serve the people at the bar. It took a while, but the food was delicious. It was then a quick stop at the Stage Shop to pick up a few supplies then back to the Leadore Inn to relax for the evening. We even ordered a take out from the restaurant for dinner and by that time they were out French fries, come on we are in Idaho I thought. 😉 I enjoyed a restful evening and playing with the owners dogs in the yard.