CDT Days 95-99: Leadore to Darby Along the Idaho/Montana Border

Day 95: 14 Miles

We got up early this morning to make it to the road as early as possible, and get into Leadore, Idaho. (Pronounced Lead as in mining, ore as in mining, but there is no mining around here anymore). It was 13 miles, starting with a big uphill then working our way down along the ridge.

We made it to the road by 11:00, but there was almost no traffic and no cell service. Fortunately Yoda has an InReach and was able to text and arrange a shuttle into town. The town has a population of around 100, so there was one restaurant, a library, gas station/convenience store, hotel and RV park, and that was it in terms of businesses. We had burgers and excellent fries at the restaurant, charged devices at the library, resupplied at the convenience store, did laundry at the hotel and showered at the RV park. I think we hit every business before we got back to the trail, hiked a mile and stopped for camp.

Day 96: 31 Miles

Despite a slow start this morning, the day was pretty cruisy. The morning was overcast so the temperatures were nice, and it never actually rained on us.

The ups and downs continued but were a little less steep than in the last section. Plus, we walked in and out of the trees, and it’s always nice to walk in the forest.

At about mile 25 we stopped for water and dinner at a stream and day use area.

The stream was actually the headwaters of the Missouri River, and the Lewis and Clark expedition came through here.

The site is now a memorial to Sacagawea (but they spelled it wrong with a J instead of G). We chatted with a couple of Southbound hikers over dinner before heading on for a few more miles, with 4 liters of water to get through a 19 mile dry stretch and dry camping tonight.

Day 97: 32 Miles

It was another day of ups and downs, but we got a pretty early start and made decent time in the morning. The terrain is getting more mountainous and scenic, and we’ve been lucky to have overcast skies with no rain the past few days.

It was sunnier today but we were in the trees a good bit and it wasn’t too hot. We saw one SOBO today, and we passed very close to a fire smoldering in the forest below the ridge.

We camped near the remains of a cabin and got to camp early enough for a campfire tonight.

Day 98: 29 Miles

Today was tiring. The terrain of this section is catching up to us. We’re all a little more sore and hungry than we usually are. We brought extra food for this leg but it’s looking like there won’t be any extra when we get to town. We took a few more breaks than usual today, and we cummulatively climbed nearly 7,000 feet today.

We saw just one SOBO today. It was a headphones kind of day. I listened to music and podcasts to pass the time as we went up and down and up and down. Complaining aside, it was a beautiful day.

Lakes, streams, wildflowers, cool mountain passes, fair weather, rocky mountain peaks, nice views. We’ve got it pretty good, even if we get a little hangry sometimes.

Day 99: 29 Miles

Today is the last day of a long and tiring stretch. We planned on hiking this 120 mile stretch in 4.5 days, but we managed it in four. Still, we ate all the food! I don’t know if the hiker hunger has ever been this strong before.

Today was strenuous, continuing the up and down trend of the last several days, but it was hot out. Plus we’re just a little worn out, so the day seemed to drag on today.

We decided to walk all the way to the road and camp at the trailhead so we can hitch into town for breakfast tomorrow and take a full rest day. We thought we might go a full day without seeing a SOBO but we crossed paths with one at the trailhead. We’re cowboy camped for the first time on this trail and it feels like a warm night tonight. We’ll be dreaming of food.