There is something about train travel that fascinates me. In a country where speed is paramount and the tyranny of distance is just another obstacle to conquer, the slow rumbling of the train makes travel something to be savored. Flying among the clouds doesn’t convey the vastness of this country. Speeding 65MPH across bland interstate highways in an automobile hardly gives the traveler a taste of regional diversity. The train, however, glides on steel ribbons of track in areas automobiles can’t drive and airplanes can’t see. Plus, the seats are real comfy!
On the train I met Toek, another CDT hiker who had just flown in from his home in Amsterdam and was as excited as I to start walking. We got to East Glacier at noon with clear sunny weather and stunning views of the mountains we’d soon be living in. After I checked into the Brownie Hostel, we hitched up to Two Medicine to get our backcountry camping permits for Glacier. Last years fire damage and recent bear activity had closed some campsites, so we had a difficult time scheduling an acceptable itinerary with the friendly ranger. Finally we settled on waiting another day and will start on the 17th since other hikers ahead had reserved some of the sites we wanted. I understand the necessity of backcountry permits in this heavily used area, but it sure is a pain for the long distance hiker who is used to unrestricted camping. Settling for 12-mile days may be fine for someone out for the weekend, but we do much bigger miles than that! Being here so early in the season, I figured I’d have no trouble getting permits. But apparently there are enough people (and some fellow thru hikers) to overrun the park. Lots of CDT thru hikers start around this time of year and all it took was a handful of weekend hikers to raise the numbers too high. Guess I should of started a week later.
- Starting Location: June 15, getting ready
- Destination: getting to the start