Tag Archives: cdt

The last days of Northern Montana

Thunderstorms have been rolling in afternoons, hot & muggy – but watching the rain on the horizon from the ridge is magical.
Things u find on trail – live ammo. Ground score?
Sharing the trail with the bovines. Near Dana spring after a 20 mike dry stretch…
I dunno why they call them butterflies… all I ever see them eat are thistle and turds 💩
Met a nice young fella named Gator – he’s already 1500 miles in having hiked the Idaho Centennial Trail & connected to the CDT southbound via the Pacific Northwest Trail. Iz pleasant to have some company for a few days. Ridge walking into Helena…

The Bob

The Bob Marshall Wilderness is the fifth largest wilderness area in the lower 48, consisting of over 1 million acres of forests and over 1000 miles of hiking and stock trails. Its awesome 😎

There’s a lot of burn out there – nice to see the forest regeneration.
Dean Lake. Harpo & I camped here in 2016 dodging a storm. I managed to take a dip before the rain & thunder started as I made my way up Switchback pass. Always swim…
Lunch with the boys, by which I mean 1000 mosquitoes. The bugs are fierce and the size of hummingbirds. Ah! The joys of wilderness backpacking!
Chinese Wall looking epic
Good morning Bob!
Trail junction in the Bob. U should abandon the illusion of dry feet ever again ye who enter here…
And there are some flowers too… 😉

Harpo’s CDT Journal: #14


Aug 26

26 miles
Today we hike in trees again! lovely, cool trees. The social interactions in Rawlins and our angel visit have rejuvenated me. The morning passes easily. 
Around midday we pass a huge backpack by a log. So huge, I don’t notice at first there is a person attached. Here we meet Tugboat, a 52 year old retired firefighter who started in Glacier on June 1st, trudging thru snow with an 80 lb pack. Tugboat is old school and didn’t know about the hiking culture which allows for hitching to town every 3-7 days for more food. Therefore he’s carried 21 days of food at a time, as well as his slingshot, pistol and pole so he can hunt, fish and grill game along the way. Amazing. A dude who really can survive the apocalypse. I am so impressed. Now that he’s realized he can go into towns he’s about 20 lbs lighter and much happier. And hella ripped. 
Groucho and I pass him and take a different alternate, but I feel happy knowing he’s out here. 
At dusk it starts to rain and we pitch our tarp for the first time in days. There are actual trees to pitch between!! We are almost to Colorado. 


Aug 27

26 miles
This morning we see Curtis (hiker) and Sable (dog) who we met in Lander. They hiked out a day earlier than us from Lander but our ride from the Rawlins angel helped us catch up. Curtis is admittedly lonely since his lady friend had to get off trail for work. We happily hike with these buds. 
Around 11am we reach the Boarder of WY and CO!! 
Then a nice leisurely walk into the hills and short mountains. Curtis gets ahead in the afternoon but we catch up at the dinner break and I let him know that, tho he is faster than us, he’s welcome to hike with us if it would be good for his spirit I know it will be good for mine. 


A few hours before dusk we begin a long descent into meadow. Then a long burn area. We pass up several sites because of so many snags (dead trees). Finally Curtis chooses a meadow and though it isn’t perfect, we submit. There aren’t any dead trees for about 40 feet in any direction. 

Aug 28

27 miles
At midnight a huge cracking sound and an earthquake-like shudder in the ground wakes me. Lighting? “What was that?!” I ask. Groucho replies… “A tree fell.” A big tree. Very close.  I count my lucky stars and try to fall asleep again but it is hella cold and damp in the meadow. 
We wake with frost frozen on our sleeping bags. 
Today we enjoy a 3500 feet climb over 10 miles. I feel weak and tired. Altitude? 
It’s the beginning of bow season and all day long we pass happy hunters decked in camo or hunter orange with bows slung over their shoulders. 
There is so much dead forest here because of pine beetle kill that we can’t help but sleep amongst some snags. It’s barely worth it as all night I feel awake. Staring at a sillouttte of a snag hanging over our heads. And by 4am hunters start tromping by our site. I need to get me some hunter orange gear lest I be mistaken for an elk or deer. 


Aug 29

19 miles
Im so excited to get to town! The morning passes quickly passing many hunters and day hikers and lakes. It’s almost all downhill. 
I do a movie-length retelling of Little Women and suddenly (2 hours later) we are at the trailhead! 2 lovely day hikers are parked and offer us a ride to Steamboat Springs. We accept and stay at the awesome Rabbit Ears Motel, across from the PO and natural food store. Sooooooo many vegan snacks. 

Leave Trace Club

Confession alert:

I’m not perfect. I totally-otally LEAVE TRACE. On this hike alone I’ve “left” (aka lost) a pair of sunglasses, a bamboo spoon and two bandanas somewhere on trail. I’m not happy about it but accidents happen. 

That said, today I must address a particular brand of Trace seen almost daily in wilderness areas. 

TP. 

Now – people – I get it. Our culture trains us to use TP at every possible moment. And for women it’s expected every time we tingle to practically wipe the area raw – lest a single drop moisten our panties. But please… PACK IT OUT!!! Or, use a pee rag, like a normal human.

I don’t want to smell like an outhouse either. So do what you need to do to stay fresh. But for the sake of all that is holy in nature (i.e. Everything) PACK IT OUT.

while I am sort of relieved to know you also pee right by the trail… please … PACK IT OUT

if I could make a wish on this crane… it would be for you to PACK IT OUT.

while its cool you can twist it into oragami shaped like a snail… PACK IT OUT

while you’re at it, that bag of poo you thought you’d pick up later is still sitting here. PACK IT OUT (NOW)

thanks for letting me know you peed on these huckleberries so i don’t forage here … but actually I’d rather not know… so PACK IT OUT

teamwork makes the dream work. but can both of you PACK IT OUT?

cool! I ALSO sometimes use a baby wipe – in addition to TP. that’s a great town prep technique when youre gearing up for a hitch. but in that case PACK EM BOTH OUT.

I’m really sorry for whatever it is your body went thru to make this mess. and maybe you even buried part of it and a squirrel dug it up. so next time PACK IT OUT (then use some hand sani)

putting it next to coyote poop doesn’t camoflage it for the person behind you on the trail. PACK IT OUT.

aw. I almost missed this one it was so cutely hidden in the brush. but actually no… I still totally saw it. pack it out.

TFW you changed your baby’s diaper and then pee and then leave both by the tree at Grand Lakes because nature will take care of you. hi five.

but seriously tho… a diaper??

bored yet? me too. PIO.

now, much like baby albert, everything white reminds me of your bodily functions. i beg of you. PACK IT OUT

I know you are used to dropping it on top of your pee in the toilet but that pile of moss doesn’t flush. PACK IT OUT

hey! a nice flat spot to set up our stove for afternoon coffeeeeeee… oh wait.

how thoughtful! keeping your TP dry right under the footbridge. i still found it when i was crouching down to filter my water. do you get why this might be gross for me? PIO.

Tips for not joining the leave trace club:
1) carry a “used TP/baby wipes” ziplock with you. And hand sani. 

2) after peeing or pooping, wipe and put used TP in your Baggie. Seal Baggie. 

3) sanitize hands

4) repeat until town.

5) Throw away Baggie. 

A closing reminder: it’s fun & fine peeing in nature, without the ‘effluvium of human waste’ in most restrooms (sez Groucho, who’s not a privy fan). But when pooping please do so far off trail, 200 FEET AWAY FROM WATER (at least), in a 6-8″ deep cathole.   Refrain from burying wipes, especially scented or if your hole is too shallow. Critters WILL dig it up and share your secrets with the rest of us. And don’t be afraid to give that poo a stir! Mixing it with your cathole backfill helps it biodegrade faster.

Also, I totes recommend buying one of these excellent Deuce of Spades poo trowels. As Future Dad reminds us “the poo never ever should touch the trowel”. Wrong Way Gang trowels are all named for stars of stage and screen. Mine is named Brent Spiner, aka Data. 

❤ Harpo 

Harpo’s CDT Journal: #11

Aug 17, 18, 19Zeros
The exhaustion and calorie restrictions caused by the wind River Range, now require us to take 3 zeros in a row. I suppose that’s what we get for not taking a day off in a whole month. We’re around 1000 miles into our hike. 
We arrive in Lander and I realize I haven’t looked in a mirror in almost 2 weeks. I don’t recognize this person. I look and feel dirty, depleted and gaunt. I shower, launder and give myself a bang trim with my mini Swiss army knife. 


Then I try to gain weight. Over three days I will eat caramel corn, hummus, chips, bean dip, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, more pizza, waffle fries, again with the waffle fries, coconut chocolate milk, bread sticks, bananas, peaches, salad, more salad, more salad, and many Luna bars. 
I begin to feel normal ish. 
Our hotel room is ridiculously spacious. We spread out over 2 queen sized beds and air out our gear, clean and repair things, ice our knees and feet. 
I also practice talking to other humans again. My first attempts are runaway train style. And I realize how lonely I’ve felt out here in our stretch since we left Helena. I turn on my phone and dash off dozens of text missives to friends back home. 
The teevee offers an impressive array of 80’s hits including Beverly Hills cop and Full House. 
Lander is a charming town with a great bar/restaurant, outfitters, groceries, a Post Office, thrift store, coffee shops and a yoga studio. We take yoga and feel great. And now, finally, it’s time to get back on trail.