Spanked by the Continental Divide Trail

CDT South from Homestake Pass

[Map Note: Multiply the length and moving time by 2.  The trip was a out and back, but I had only enough battery for one length, so just use your imagination in going to the top and then back.]

Today was spent on getting to and then hiking a section of the Continental Divide Trail.  I have Andy’s truck, Lincoln and Stephanie are working, and the weather looked as good as it ever is here this here, so it happened!

The start was a fast hour and a half west, to the Homestake Pass exit . There’s a “Continental Divide Trail/ 6329 feet” sign right on the CDT over I-90 right there.  I parked the truck, and took off.  I was packing bear spray, actually I  clipped it to my sternum strap. There is no use in carrying bear spray unless it is right there to grab and use.  I’m no expert, but know that.  What I have never done is actually fire a can of bear spray.  Lincoln had me operate it right up to pulling the trigger, but I wouldn’t have known that you aim at the ground in front of the bear then lift as the stream is visible. Before I return here, I plan on buying a couple of cans and shoot them around at home.

The trail is a relatively new segment, with excellent tread, that winds along , steadily uphill, weaving between large uplifted outcrops of rocks. There were zero streams or water sources. Right from the start, there were sparse patches of snow on the ground.  The snow maintained an intermittent depth of just 3-4 inches until the elevation reached 7,000 feet, when it covered all the ground, increasing to a maximum depth of 6 inches near the 7,500 foot summit high point.  From there it descended south to Route 2, but I turned around there and went back.  Or I did my best to do so.  I had a bad situation come up when I became faint after leaving the trail to stand on the high point. I don’t usually get like that.  I sat down to collect myself, and drank more water, ate a Sweet and Salty Nut Bar, and then started on down the way I came up. I had made very good time in getting to the top, 2.8 mph, but apparently my lack of conditioning for this elevation, and my overall physical state, resulted in true difficulty in getting myself back to the truck.

I’m pretty good at descending, and today was mostly sloppy skiing, but on those few instances where there were uphills on the down hill, if you know what I mean, I moved at a slug’s pace. There was also this black wall of cloud coming right at me from the west that I wanted to beat to the truck. I made it without further incident, but so tired!

It was incredible to look out from the top to see Butte sprawled out on the side of one mountain, and that 600 foot Anaconda smokestack off in the far distance.  I hope to be back here, sometime next September ?

About tjamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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2 Responses to Spanked by the Continental Divide Trail

  1. Jim Keener says:

    I’m not going to write anything you don’t know, but write it to emphasize important things. I may have missed things before, but this is the first I’ve read of the kind of problem with dizziness you mentioned here. Of course drinking more water and eating something high in carbs and salt were good decisions. But what got my attention is that you continued to have difficulty on uphill pulls. Are you taking blood pressure medication. That can be significant. Is for me. Walk well, UT. J J

    Like

  2. Clarkie says:

    Wow, you were moving at a General Lee like pace! rest up and recover.

    Like

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