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Lima, Mt – 8/24

I am currently in Lima, MT. Let me start with the last 4 days and then I’ll work back. While only part of the journey, the last four days have been quite a challenge. I’ll remember these days as the Hell Roaring Four… We came out of Mack’s Inn, Idaho with a good head of steam. There was a steep 3,000 foot climb immediately out of town. The terrain changed quickly. We started seeing ripe huckleberries which signaled the imminent possibility of bears. We were not disappointed. We found our bear, just a black bear but exciting nonetheless. We had made it to the top and started our 10 mile bushwack down through Hell Roaring Canyon following Hell Roaring Creek. The land was covered in pine and lava rock. It was beautiful. Right as we made it to the creek the area lived up to it’s name. All he’ll broke loose. It started with heavy hail and rain. Then the lightening started and the thunder rumbled for what seemed like forever after each loud crack. Thunder ricochets around a canyon wall like a cave. The lightening strikes and rumbles were getting closer and closer together and the rain and hail picked up. The thunder consistently rumbled for an hour and a half. The slow running creek became a rushing torrent of dirty water. We hunkered down under some trees and quickly realized that if we don’t set up camp soon and get warm we could be in some trouble. That started the mad dash from groves of tall pine to the next. Slipping and falling frequently on the muddy ground we finally found flat ground to set our tents up. The rain continued all night but we were finally safe in the comfort of our nylon cocoons. It’s amazing the comfort and perceived safety a 1 man tent can give. Home away from home.

The next day finally came and the weather looked somewhat promising so we were in high spirits. The trail on the Idaho and Montana border is directly on the divide. This make for steep and exposed climbs. The hail and rain set in just before an 8 mile exposed ridge walk. The lightening and thunder followed. Pinned down among the trees for 2 hours it finally let up so we made a mad dash up and over. It rained all night. The next two days were no different. It actually seemed to get colder. Now in Lima, we are prepare to head back out into the same thing. “Three more days of rain,” they say. We’ll see about that. Either way we cannot be stopped! We will drag ourselves out of our warm sleeping bags every morning and continue on until we hit that Canadian border in late September. Times are tough at the moment but spirits are still high. We’ve been pretty lucky weather-wise over the past 2300 miles. Montana apparently charges a slightly higher price for entry.

On, or I suppose back, to Yellowstone. It was indescribably beautiful. The best description I can give is Mars with trees. We didn’t see a person for 20 miles when we entered the park which was a bit of a surprise. I think the expectation was lines of Motor Homes and MiniVans. Back country Yellowstone is as remote as any other part of Wyoming. I was hoping for a back country experience and was not disappointed. Apparently few travel far beyond the parking lots and park lodges. No problem with that. The second morning we saw our first geyser at the base of a mountain over Heart Lake. Thermal pools and geysers were scattered throughout the park typically concentrated in large thermal basins. The colors ranged from blues to yellows and reds and oranges. What a sight. It was one of those moments where you get to see something that you have only seen in books or on the internet. The country side smelled of sulphur and wild flowers. The ground boiled with steam and hot mud. It’s a wildly strange and diverse place. As with all of the most beautiful places I have seen any attempt at description seems impossible.

The second half of the Winds were as stunning as the southern half. The mountains towered and the water was plentiful. The Wind River Range is truly a rare and beautiful place and will forever hold a special place in my heart. Some day I will return here.

Moving forward we don’t really know what to expect. Montana is still a mystery at this point. The mystery is the mystique. As with each thruhike there are many challenges and unexpected hurdles. The CDT has been no exception.

The weather seems to be moving in on us fast. September is growing near. With this I am going to have to make gear changes and beef up my cold weather gear which I need to purchase. Cold weather means more food due to burning more calories. I am graciously accepting donations that will go towards gear and food. With the crazy snow and weather this year it has slowed us down and depleted the bank accounts much more than expected. Any donations will be strictly used for food and gear to make the end of this hike go as smoothly and warmly as possible. You plan these hikes down to the minute detail. Once you set foot on the trail all planning and budgeting goes out the window. The CDT has proven to be as untamed as it is unmarked at times.

Thank you for just following the journey and the love and support. Much love and thanks. The mountains are calling once again!

Sent from Ryan Iker’s iPhone

Any and All Comments Welcome

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