July 8, 2017
This morning came fast and it felt so good to wake up knowing we would start the PNT today. Since our permits move us through the park a little quicker than we had planned, we have a surplus of food. So we ate our trail breakfasts while sitting on a hill above St. Mary Lake even knowing hot breakfast was nearby. As much as eggs and bacon would have been an appropriate meal before the hike, instant oatmeal packets would have to do the job.
After breakfast, Pink’s friend Chad gave us a ride to Chief Mountain: The eastern terminus of the PNT. We stood at the border of the US and Canada, remembering what it felt like to be there at the end of the CDT. Now we would pick up pretty much where we left off, though via an alternate on the CDT on the Belly River Trail. We will later connect our footsteps to Waterton Lake as we move towards that Pacific Ocean.
Glacier is as beautiful as I remember, though it is a whole new season. We have both (the park and I) been through a rough and tumble winter. The welcome was warm though, from the trail and the park. The first 13 miles are pretty darn pleasant and water occurs frequently; good water, crystal clear and sometimes sapphire blue water, delicious water.
There is no water report on the PNT.
This made me think about how water reports make it so easy to plan your day. Every break is based on the availability and location of your next water. Out here, the next water is often steps away. It means we get to be more spontaneous with our breaks and camps. Down with water reports! (Or at least the need to have one)
Our elevation gain was under 250 feet today, but the views were still pretty special. You can’t really go wrong here. It is a great reintroduction to the trail!
We made it to our camp relatively early, with enough time to hang out and relax. We met 5 other hikers; 4 Warrior Hikers and a gal named Analeise. They started yesterday but we are on the same track through the rest of Glacier. There are also 2 salt starved deer making their way through camp and stealing anything that has sweat (aka salt) on it…one even tried to run off with Pink’s shorts which he had left hanging out to dry. He had to chase it down and his shorts were pretty slimy when he got them back. Another hiker had his trekking pole handles chewed on and another’s pack was considered a snack. As a result, everything I own is in my tent for safety.
I love the complexity of life out here. It feels good to be back on trail again, living in the wilderness, hauling my own possessions. It feels really really good. I’m excited to see what this trail has to show us.