Continental Divide Trail
Last Tuesday I woke up to another cold gray morning alongside the Belly River in northern Glacier National Park, only 6 miles from the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. I pried myself from the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag, slipped on my shoes, and undid my bear hang. After chucking everything into my pack I started off down the mushy, muddy trail along the Belly River.
Soon I came across some fresh Griz tracks, which got me singing some made up songs, loud enough to scare any bears with any remote musical taste far, far away. As I hiked, the mountains turned burnt pink with an early alpine glow. Thimble berries lined the trail all the way to the border.
Before I knew it I was standing on the Chief Mountain Highway hugging the border monument. (Road walks aren’t really my favorite).
A mere half hour later I found myself in a friend’s van on the way to Park Cafe, a local favorite whose slogan is “pie for strength.” We ate an entire peach pie and they were kind enough to give me tokens for a 12 minute shower. That left me heading up the Going to the Sun Road (by car) satisfied; full, clean, and in good company.
June 21st, the longest day of the year: Solstice.
I wake up at 5:30 am with the sun sparkling through the thick lodge poles in the Cochatopa Hills of Colorado. Another beautiful day on the Continental Divide Trail, and today I have a special challenge that I’ve set out for myself. My mission: hike 31 miles to Monarch pass by 7 pm, hitch to town, eat a good meal, & find a comfy spot to sleep once the sun sets on this longest day of the year.
Step 2: brush teeth & spray my spit on the pine duff.
Step 3: assemble everything I possibly can before leaving my warm sleeping bag.
Step 4: the most dreaded step of all- leaving the sleeping bag.
Step 5: stuff everything in to my pack, which goes fast because I am shivering in the early morning chill.
Step 6: shoes on & hit the trail!