June 14 2019 Crooked Creek Campground, Canada CDT southbound mile 0
I am camped in a beautiful small campground in Canada just a few miles north of the Chief Mountain terminus of the CDT. I was going to start the trail in Waterton Park and hike in from there but MAV, who got the permit for us to go through Glacier National Park, had to work out some issues with our permit and campsites. So we have to start hiking at Chief Mt. I’m here with Hammer and Max. It is beautiful, a little rainy, kind of hot then nice and cool. So essentially the weather is all over the place. We start hiking south on the CDT tomorrow. And right now that is all that matters.
June 15 Gable Creek Campsite, Chief Mountain Alternate mile 7
Birdie, MAV’s wife, dropped us off the border and we walked across back into the States. It was a nice feeling. I am restarting this long hike but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like I’m just out for a bit, to go for a hike for awhile. The vast swath of miles that lies ahead of me does not register. Right now I just hiking with friends, and we’re in a beautiful place. It has taken me thousands of miles to get to a place where I view the trail and my hike in this manner. I feel like I am leveling up. Big time.
Because of the permit system we have to stay in designated campsites every night. So our daily miles today and tomorrow are very small. I’m totally ok with that. Today we took a couple of long breaks and during one break in a nice meadow tow CDT hikers approached us. Moonshine and Piya chatted with us for some time and Moonshine recognized me from the AT last June. He looked totally different then, but I knew I had seen that hat somewhere: Vibes Por Favor. Earlier this year he had had a harrowing experience on trail and was missing for a few days. It was nice to see him happy and safe. The hiking community is close knit, and when something happens to a hiker, we all feel it.
I made it to our camp around 3pm, and were quite pleased that we were able to stretch out the day. While I was eating dinner I met Kiddo and Top Natch, two Triple Crowners who are camping here, working with a guiding group. We chatted trail and Kiddo gave me some good advice for upcoming alternates and routes.
We have a short day again tomorrow, and we have a waterfall to check out so that’s nice.
Oh, and I saw a grizzly 10 minutes into the hike today. It was taking a nap in the grass 10 feet from the trail. It saw us but did not care about us one bit.
June 16 Elizabeth Lake Head Campsite Chief Mt. Alternate mile 11
Dawn Mist Falls was otherworldly. I felt like I was transported back in time. Watching the water being pushed and pulled off the cliff and into a pool was mesmerizing. The color of the water, lighter than turquoise. The mist flung out from the pounding water up into the air to be carried to tree leaves and rocks. And me.
I had a leisurely walk down to Elizabeth Lake and along the lake to our campsite for the night. I’m super early but here I lounging against a log, watching the clouds move over the mountains, listening to the guys talking as they play Zip Chip (look it up). There were two bald eagles about 100 years away, perched on the top on pine trees. Lots of trout jumping up out of the water. And me jumping in. To fix my inflatable sleeping pad. I learned that I had a leak two nights ago and now that I was near a body of water where I could submerge my pad and find the leak. After about 10 minutes I found it, marked it with my Sharpie and brought it back to the tent to dry it off and patch it up. So far so good.
Then I saw two swans cruising around the lake near our campsite. Perfect.
June 17 Many Glacier Campground CDT mile 34.5
I hiked 20 miles today to get back onto the official CDT route. I climbed over Red Gap Pass, which was very challenging and rewarding; I saw one male mountain goat and five females. I also saw what I believed was a snowshoe hare. Many ground squirrels and chipmunks.
While I was hiking today I thought of all kinds of interesting things to write about today but right now, resting in my tent with a burger in my belly, I’m just content and very tired. I worked hard today and this is my reward.
I’ll do it again tomorrow.