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Bob Marshall Wilderness

Kipper and I came out of Lincoln with 7 days of food and excited to finally make it into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We had 179 miles to hike to get to East Glacier. This stretch is incredibly remote with only one forest service road that passes through.
The first day out of town took us over Lewis and Clark Pass. The pass was exciting because along the journey we have continually talked about what it would be like to travel through this country in the 1800s. I can’t help but to think that I should have been born during those times and been a part of the journey across the country. A CDT thru hike is about as close to that experience that exists in the modern day so I will take it!
The snow from the previous days was melting quickly which made for wet feet and muddy trail. 7 days worth of food weighs about 15 pounds. We knew it would make for especially exhausting days but the mud added to the taxing trek. The fresh snow on the giant peaks all around us was beautiful.
The Bob Marshall was hit especially hard by the pine beetle. Lodgepole Pine is the dominant tree along the entire CDT and the beetles love them. Due to so many dead trees it makes the threat of fire that much more. Traveling though these decimated areas makes for little shade and no barrier from the wind. Just before we hit The Bob we entered the Scapegoat Wilderness. The trail followed The Sun River and other large streams which made for enjoyable hiking. The sound of water while hiking is especially comforting. It takes the element of finding water out of the equation and allows your mind to wander a bit further.
Upon entering The Bob we were met with new challenges and a drastic change in scenery. The trail conditions were brutal due to horse travel. Horses make for uneven trail and a place for water to collect. It was hunting season so there was a steady flow of packs of horses. The scenery was beautiful. The Chinese Wall is a mountain range that has a sheer face extending 1,000 feet up for about 20 miles. The face was littered with mountain goats. We saw 4 different families of goats and watched them traverse the vertical cliffs. Watching these goats was one of my favorite experiences of the entire trail. It is incredible the places these animals can go. The Bob has the largest number of Grizzlies in the US outside of Alaska. Each night we had a solid dose of bearanoia. The problem is that there aren’t many trees that have branches long enough to hang your food in. Sleeping with your food in bear country makes for the restless sleep at times, but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice.
After we made it past the Chinese Wall we enter the Spotted Bear Wilderness and had our second fire threat of the entire trail. The smoke was so thick that it made breathing difficult at times. Kipper and I both had a headache from smoke inhalation and were getting pretty concerned. Not knowing where the fire was we had no choice but to keep moving. Eventually the smoke started clearing and the threat had diminished.
The trail that led into East Glacier was brutal. This time for a very different reason. The snow from the week before had laid all of the plants down. They were now hanging over the trail which made it hard to keep the trail and absolutely wrecked our legs. Dragging our legs through the brush felt like millions of little razors that were scraping and cutting and our shins and ankles. My legs were running with blood and stung to the point of wanting to scream. We dealt with this for about the last 25 miles into East Glacier. This was not the most pleasant part of the trail but I didn’t care. The last stretch of the CDT was upon us. We made it to East Glacier for our final resupply. Next stop Canada!

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