Miles: 21

Camp: My CDT mile 2319

I somehow managed to wake up naturally before 7am. It has been a while since I’ve done that and it felt good to be hiking by 8. I was so slow yesterday that I was concerned about making miles before dark today. It was a silly fear, but I just don’t know what to expect from my knee right now. It hurts in the morning, but gets better as I hike on it. There are moments when it is quite sore and going downhill is a painfully slow process…but at no point does it seem to be getting worse. It makes me a little nervous about keeping up with the guys and making it to Canada, but I am definitely optimistic. 

By the time we reached Flesher Pass we still hadn’t seen Righton and Titan. The rest of us took a break and gathered water from a cache there. With only 12 more miles to the road into Lincoln, we didn’t linger long. Lincoln is the last real town we will stay in before the border. The next stretch will be one of the longest of the trail and Lincoln is our last chance to take care of chores for almost 200 miles. The stop comes so close behind our days off in Helena that it isn’t highly anticipated, but knowing the significance of it being the second to last town made us happy to be headed there.

The trail followed paths of melted snow up and along the divide, opening up to grand views of the mountains to come. We are headed to some of the best of the CDT…the grand finale of the Bob Marshall Wilderness followed by Glacier National Park. The ridges we walked today gave us tiny glimpses of the peaks ahead (a peek at peaks!). I love the way we watch a mountain range grow closer, only to watch it grow farther away as we walk through and past them. I love the way it makes the trail seem endless, like we could walk north forever, never reaching a destination. 

I ended up arriving at the road alone. Limey had been ahead of me, but appeared to have already gotten a ride in. I walked to a turnout area and stuck out my thumb. A truck stopped straight away and I was on my way to Lincoln. The man was a crop adjuster who had a small office in his truck, complete with a printer fixed to the center console. He was a local and we chatted about the upcoming section of trail, but more importantly, he gave me the intel on the restaurants in town. This town is actually known to have some of the better food on trail. I was excited!

I met up with Limey and Shadow at the motel. We were able to get a room big enough for the 7 of us and it was nice to not have to be separated. We will soon have to say goodbye to each other (less than 2 weks!) and we want to soak up the remaining time together. I can’t imagine my life without these people in it, I don’t want to.

We had a wonderful dinner of fried chicken at a nearby restaurant and then we hung out in our room having beers and sharing stories. It was a late night and we have to keep moving tomorrow. Time to get some rest!

Judd taking it in

Deer are more common than squirrels in Lincoln