Tuesday, September 4, 2018
CDT Part 8: Leadore to Canada
Well, I just walked from Mexico to Canada.
I walked. From Mexico. To Canada.
Along the way, I climbed the highest peak in the Rockies, slogged through waist-deep snow, gobbled wild raspberries, swam in astonishingly cold lakes, and mostly, did a lot of walking. But most remarkably, I didn't lose or break my spork. Now that's an accomplishment worth lauding.
The big finish: Glacier National Park really did live up to the hype. Although the weather was a bit spotty, I loved the park. Everything is so vertical. The lakes are baby-blue. The glaciers themselves are small, emaciated, and pathetic (hey, we're bringing back those Coal Jobs, right?), but the park is still one of the crown jewels of the CDT. What a place to finish!
Fire, fire everywhere: In my last post, I predicted that I would hit at least one fire closure between Leadore and Canada. In fact, I encountered three. One resulted in twenty miles of paved roadwalking but was otherwise pretty inoffensive. Another forced me to miss one of the highlights of Montana - walking next to the famous Chinese Wall escarpment in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The third, and most aggravating, closed the Waterton Lake finish of the CDT. It forced me to enter Canada not on the shores of a beautiful lake, but at a random paved road crossing east of the park.
Still, I can't complain. Shortly after leaving Leadore, I happened upon a new wildfire that had started very, uncomfortably close to the trail. I shifted into high gear and jogged around it before it could get out of hand. A couple days later, it did get out of hand, and forced the closure of a huge chunk of Montana - with a hundred-mile re-route, all on pavement. A week later, a line of dry thunderstorms moved through the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and started a couple of fresh fires in the same place I'd been earlier that morning - again closing a large swath of the CDT. Had I been just a week or two behind, I would have hit hundreds of miles of fire closures, not only in Montana but farther south as well.
Shots of olive oil: I've never been hungrier in my life. I ran out of food several towns in a row, even after bringing extra to accommodate my increased appetite. I simply needed to consume more than I could possibly carry. I resorted to buying olive oil and drinking it straight from the bottle - no chaser. It was pretty gut-curdling, but did do the trick. At more than 200 calories per ounce, it took the sharpest edge off my hunger.
Seasons changing: Summer has come to an end in northern Montana. It's no longer short sleeve weather, most nights are at or below freezing, and yes, it snowed last week. The wind howled over the alpine passes - sharp and cold, with a bite to it - strong enough to knock me off my feet on a couple occasions.
What's next: I'm headed back to Utah for a bit, but the adventures will hopefully continue. I'll also have at least one wrapup post for the CDT with thoughts, unsubstantiated opinions, and maybe some stats and trends.