CDT Days 102-104: Hello Montana

Day 102: 26 Miles

It was hot and muggy today. We got a ride back to the trail from a local trail angel around 9:00 am. The terrain was more gentle today than the past few days of hiking, but we walked through a burn zone much of the day so we had little shade.

The heat and our heavy packs made us feel pretty unmotivated today, and we took quite a few long breaks. Still, we managed a respectable number of miles for a day leaving town, and it was definitely cooler than yesterday.

Day 103: 31 Miles

This morning was hazy as we walked through another burned area and entered the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness.

We saw a fire burning just one ridge over and we’re grateful that yet again we’ve gotten past a fire before it closed the trail.

The one we passed between Leadore and Darby has crossed the trail and caused a closure since we passed through. Hopefully this one doesn’t cause another closure for the hikers behind us. After we climbed a few passes the air cleared up and we got some really nice views in the afternoon, not to mention some live trees and therefore some shade.

It’s still hot but not as bad as yesterday. We are cowboy camping tonight since it’s the Perseid Meteor shower, but I don’t know if I’ll even be awake to see any of it.

Day 104: 37 Miles

Montana really turned on the scenery today. We had a tough morning with 4 big climbs, each with 1,000-1,600 feet elevation gain.

Still, the views were great, the haze has lifted, and the temperatures were a little cooler today.

Each pass we climbed over we were rewarded with great views, and in the afternoon the terrain flattened out allowed for some easy miles. We leapfrogged with Enigma and Yoda all morning, and in the evening we all hiked together to camp.

We passed the junction for the Anaconda cutoff, opting to stay on the official CDT. While the cutoff is 100 miles shorter, it’s mostly on paved road and reported to be unpleasant. We told ourselves we wouldn’t take an alternate purely for a shortcut, tempting as it may be, and so far the official route has been very pretty.

We’re still pushing some big miles to cut our resupply down, so we should be in Butte in a couple days.