As nice as our riverside camp was last night, this morning is was COLD! Even though I know I’ll be warm as soon as I start hiking, those 15 minutes before I do seem like eternity. Not wanting my hiking partners to see me cry, I jumped up and packed, then took off in search of sun. By 2pm the burned forest tress were offering no shade so we jumped in the first river big enough for full submersion. Had trouble finding the CDT in the maze of horse trails near Blacktail Creek but eventually got on track. I imagine this is good training for areas to the south where there is no trail at all! Once back on track it was a huge climb on excellent tread. The switchbacks just kept going up, well over 1000 feet in elevation gain. From the saddle we climbed further up to the actual Continental Divide for 360 degree views of seemingly endless mountains surrounding our vantage point. Incredible! The CDT can’t possibly stay in the actual divide the entire time since the terrain is too rugged, so when the path does lead to America’s backbone the feelings of awe are overwhelming. Toek, Jug and I continued on the Divide for a bit before dropping into a valley and camping. 23.5 miles today and I’m feeling great. My knee is doing better and my shin splints are almost healed. It’s nice to not have every step be agony anymore and a 20-mile day not be torture. Hopefully everything holds up and I can focus on my hike, not merely the pain from failing joints.
- Starting Location: Straight Creek
- Destination: on the Divide