July 16, 2017

Miles: 11

PNT mile: 124.5

Camp: A small dammed lake outside of Eureka, MT 

Waking up at Bluebird Lake felt a little bit like luxury. The air was cool and breezy causing the field of flowers leading up to the lake to sway with the breeze, hundreds if not thousands of yellow flowers…shooting stars I think. It felt like fall and it felt like camping. Usually we are camped in an odd spot so it doesn’t feel as much like camping as it does finding a place to sleep for the night. It was a beautiful setting.

We had a long breakfast by the lake and I spent and good amount of time stretching. I’ve been much more diligent about that this time and I really think it is making a difference. Stretching is important!

The hike was moderate to start, climbing up and over a pass. The views back into Bluebird Basin were lovely and we saw someone flying a kite on a nearby mountain. The heat seems to have broken since the storm, and temperatures were warm but moderate. It made for very pleasant hiking all day.

We came right up to the Canadian border as we descended into the Tobacco Valley getting some views of Lake Koocanusa on our way down. The name is a hybrid of, ‘Kootenai,’ ‘Canada’ and ‘USA.’ It is a large lake and we will be walking part of the shoreline on our way out of Eureka.

We could have made it to town today if we wanted to, but we decided to dawdle a bit instead. We took long breaks and enjoyed ourselves instead of pushing ourselves. There is no point to hurry up and get to town when hanging out on trail is way more fun…and a lot cheaper. During one of our breaks we saw a flock of 5 wild peacocks in the woods just behind us. Ice never seen them in the wild…or known they lived here. It was like being in the coolest zoo ever.

We found a small dammed lake just inside the national forest boundary and ate dinner by the shore. A bald eagle swooped nearby and landed in a tree offshore. If taking your time means seeing all of these rare birds I’m never going to hurry again. What a cool day!

Now we are nestled on the side of a forest service road for our first cowboy camp of the trip. There have been too many bugs until tonight, but somehow we are in a safe zone. Border Patrol stopped by to check our intentions, bear protection and citizenship, but he didn’t hassle us. We chatted about Aurora Borealis and he drove off with a smile.

Now it’s bedtime for these tired hikers as we are running into town tomorrow. Hot meals, hot showers, laundry and beer…here we come!