Endless P Summer

Day 124     8/31     32 miles

After getting into town yesterday the rest of the afternoon proved to be very productive.  First of all we had to estimate our mileage for the rest of the trail then QB was able to get all our backcountry permits squared away for Glacier NP next week. The staff she dealt with on the phone at Glacier were super helpful. Next we had to take care of some logistics pertaining to a little adventure we have planned for after the CDT. We resupplied, cleaned up, did laundry, then wolfed down racks of ribs for supper. No doubt impressed with our appetites, a few forest service workers at the table next to us gave us a huge bag of buffalo jerky and some candy for the trail. 

This morning we tried to get out early but it took a little while to get a hitch. After about 20 minutes 2 cars pulled over at once. The first was Dave, who stopped to pick us up, the second car was his wife who stopped to give him his cell phone that he forgot and also a piece of her mind. She was not happy about him forgetting his cell phone and she was not happy about him picking up hitchhikers either. It got a little awkward, but only for a second until we got away from her. Dave was really nice and drove us the 6 miles back to where we got off the reroute yesterday. The kicker was, he was on his way to pickup his Mother-in-law(Her Mother!), and drive her to an appointment, the ultimate hitchhiker. After Dave dropped us off we walked along a series of dirt roads and then 3 or 4 different trails for about 25 miles before we got back to the CDT north of the Alice Creek Fire. Luckily Queen B is a solid navigator and we had no problems finding our way along the reroute. It was actually quite pleasant, the trails were smooth, there wasn’t much smoke, and we came across Heart Lake, a great place to swim and eat lunch this afternoon. Once back on the official CDT we walked high on a ridge and it got super windy and smoky again. Supposedly there’s a lot of grizzlies up this way so we’re trying to use good bear country habits; we ate about an hour before we stopped to camp and then hung our food a good distance from where we’re sleeping. Hopefully the grizz don’t bother us. We’ve got a 180+ mile section until our next town and Glacier NP, so today was definitely a solid start. Walking out of Lincolnswam in beautiful Heart Lake skies are clear for awhile back on trail then smoky again see? 

Day 125     9/1     34 miles

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to what I thought was a bear outside my tent. In my half sleep I thought I heard sticks breaking and the sounds of a bear snorting and walking around. For about 10 minutes I was terrified but in reality it was probably a dream so I put in my earplugs and went back to sleep. Starting this morning we just crushed miles all day. The trail went up over a pass then followed a creek for most of the day. We went through a burn with very little shade so laying down in the icy cold creek this afternoon was very refreshing. Eventually we got to a trailhead and started taking a side trail to Benchmark Ranch where we had sent a resupply box a couple weeks ago. A couple picked us up and drove us a few miles to the ranch feeding us cold delicious watermelon during the ride(best food ever). At Benchmark we ran into Mac, Appa, and JPEG and those guys gave us the bad news of a brand new fire causing a trail closure up ahead. We hiked out with them this evening and we’ll try to figure out a way to get around the fire, hopefully it’s manageable and doesn’t involve a lot of road walking or add tons of extra miles. Around sunset we found a spot to camp just  north of the West Fork of the Sun River(500 feet north of the river if you’re a ranger reading this). 

Day 126     9/2     31 miles

First thing this morning I saw a bald eagle soaring over the river, I took this for a good sign. The five of us turned right off the CDT and got onto a trail along the North Fork of the Sun River hoping to skirt the fire to the east. It was a hot one out there, luckily I was able to jump in the river a few times because the trail was almost always exposed. After almost a full day of hiking we got to an intersection with a sign posted from a ranger directing us west back onto the CDT then south to Spotted Bear Pass and an alternate off of that. A couple miles later we stopped at a ranger station and got the word from them. Things aren’t looking good. There’s about 5 fires north of us, they’re spreading and the CDT is closed. There might be a slim chance of a reroute but that would bring us way west before going north and rejoining the CDT, if somehow all those trails stay open. The plan right now is to head south on the CDT back to Benchmark Ranch to re-evaluate, essentially doing a big loop through the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I don’t want to walk through a fire, or a closed trail, or get into some kind of situation where I’d need to get rescued and put somebody else’s life at risk. If over the course of the next day we get some good news that a new route has been developed to get through the wilderness we can continue north. As of right now we’ll probably have to hitch to East Glacier in a couple days and miss about 75 miles of trail. It’s a bummer but it’s not heartbreaking, a similar situation happened to me in ’15 on the PCT so I guess I’m used to it. Anyway after talking to the rangers we walked about five more miles before finding a nice campsite by Baldy Bear Creek. Saw an eagle flying over this and a beaver swimming in itNorth Fork of the SunAppa examining a swimming holeMac keeping his feet dry QB and Mac walking towards the firethe infrastructure in the BMW is impeccable 

Day 127      9/3     33 miles

Today was quite the day. First of all this morning we were all sitting around eating breakfast and Queen B saw something in the woods not too far from us that she thought was a small grizzly. I looked over and I saw something too, just real quickly that I thought was a big cat because of the way it moved (this is based on nothing though since I’ve never seen a big cat). We started hiking south at a relaxed pace because there was really no hurry to go back to Benchmark. We passed the Spotted Bear alternate and there was a map posted with a rat’s nest of closed trails but nothing about a reroute through the fires so we continued South back towards Benchmark. About a mile and a half later we ran into Griggs who was hiking north with a map, a plan, and some good info about a reroute from the forest service. This was some unexpected and really good news. Since nobody had service he air dropped us all pictures of the maps and the details of the ‘Schaefer Reroute.’ I turned around along with QB, JPEG, Mac and Appa and we all went north back up to the Spotted Bear trail and 10 miles down that way. At Pentagon Creek we talked to a forest service worker, who confirmed our route was safe from the fires, and we took a left heading west from there. We walked about 10 more miles to the base of Gunsight Peak and decided to put as much distance between us and the fires as we could. From there we night hiked for a couple hours to a saddle near the peak. It was a hot night and a steep climb. Once we got up top it was super windy and smoky and we were walking through an old burn with an almost full blood moon. I felt like I was on another planet. I’m glad I wasn’t camping alone because it was definitely spooky up there. Ran into Griggs and got some awesome news, figuring out the reroute north trying to walk out of the smoke

Day 128     9/4     29 miles

The light of day this morning put a whole new paint job on the apocalyptic world I went to sleep in last night. The burn we walked through was really crazy looking and we also got a good look at Gunsight Rock. We all stopped at a lake up there and took a nice long break, it was a relaxing morning since we walked so late last night. From the lake we carried on for about 10 miles to a river with a good swimming hole then walked a little further to the Schaefer work station and talked to the kids working in there. We carried on from there walking about 10 miles on a nice manicured trail through a lodge pole pine forest. At one point, while walking with Mac, I saw a big black bear that was safely way down in a ravine. QB and I usually always walk together but for some reason she never sees any bears. I’m not keeping score or anything but if I was it would be 11-2(not counting yesterday morning). We carried on to a road then walked about 3 more miles to the locked Challenge Cabin and camped in front of it.Gunsight RockGunsight Lake 

Day 129     9/5     8 miles

Woke up to a super cold morning and frozen shoes! No big deal, warmed up quickly and walked 8 miles to Marias Pass. Along with QB, I got a hitch to East Glacier Village in a Glacier NP tour bus. It was a sweet ride! I’ve been spending the day relaxing and eating in town. QB and I are planning on getting back to the Pass tonight, camping there, and then we’ll hike 15 miles of trail back to East Glacier tomorrow. Our National Park backcountry permits don’t start until September 7th so 2 short days will be very nice.thanks for the ride Ron! 

Day 112     8/19     0 miles

Took a day off from hiking today and went on a little field trip up to Missoula, Montana. My mom made us breakfast sandwiches in the cabin to start the day before the car ride. QB and I had to take care of a couple errands this morning including resupplying and buying food that we’ll send to ourselves later on at a remote ranch. After getting to the supermarket we checked out the town of Missoula and some friends, BK and Prickly Pear, met us in town for Vietnamese food and ice cream. On our drive back to Wisdom we passed a massive wildfire, the Lolo fire, and it was smoky for miles. The smoke cleared up and we had good views of the Bitterroot valley and the ride up and over Chief Joseph Pass. Back at the cabin Queen B cooked dinner(and I helped) for the rest of us. Prickly Pear and BK, who are traveling to Colorado from Missoula, stopped at the cabin for dinner and tented in the backyard for the night. Drove by the smoky Lolo fireYeah rightthe Wisdom Cabin 

Day 113     8/20     23 miles 

This morning my parents cooked us all a bunch of pancakes for breakfast. I don’t know what got into them but 3 hot breakfasts in a week is a real treat. When I was a kid we might have had ‘Cream of Wheat’ once a month but it was mostly either cold cereal, instant oatmeal or pop tarts. I’m not complaining, I like all that stuff, but hot breakfasts are where it’s at. After breakfast BK and the Pear headed south, first to an eclipse festival in Wyoming, and then down to Colorado. My parents drove me and QB back up to Chief Joseph Pass where we got back on trail and they joined us for a mile before saying our goodbyes. During that mile the 4 of us had a really cool sighting of a red fox that was just chilling out in the woods watching us for awhile. They turned around and are heading up to Helena for the night and will be able to enjoy the eclipse tomorrow before heading back home. It was great seeing them and definitely gave me a boost I needed in getting towards the end of the trail. The rest of the day was relatively easy, a lot of smooth trail through forest and old burn areas. At Chief Joseph Pass this morning we turned away from Idaho for the last time and will be walking through only Montana until we reach Canada. The last state, it better be good. A little after 7 tonight we found a spot to camp in some trees just after a burn and called it a day. Cat and Den Me, B, BK, and the Pear 

Day 114     8/21     27 miles 

Today was pretty awesome, as far as solar eclipses go anyway. I remember when I was in second or third grade and all the teachers brought us out into the parking lot to see the eclipse and told us, “whatever you kids do, don’t look directly at the sun.” Of course everybody looked directly at the sun. This time I was armed with eclipse glasses. We didn’t exactly have a total eclipse here in Montana but it was pretty close. At one point it was just a big thin crescent. The hype didn’t get me too excited before the eclipse but having experienced it I’m definitely saving my glasses for 2024. After this awesome cosmic phenomenon we just hiked the rest of the day. We saw 4 other thru hikers, which is an awful lot for one day on this trail. In the morning we ran into Chardonnay and Kelsey who I met last year on the AT. This afternoon Kibbs caught up and hiked with us for a few hours and then we saw Glider, who I first met in Washington in ’15 (he’s easy to remember because he has a striking resemblance to one of the 7 Dwarves and has told me good stories both time) today he told us a pretty good bear story. The trail was pleasant all day. We walked through a long burn in the morning but luckily the moon provided a little bit of shade to keep us cool and we were up and down the rest of the day before a significant climb up to Pintler Pass in the evening. A couple miles after descending the pass we found a place to camp beside Johnson Lake. There’s only a few times in life when the universe comes together and you’re allowed to look this coolthis was one of those times Definitely a cougar print, maybethe moon was providing a little shade, so that was nicebeautiful and pristine Johnson Lake

Day 115     8/22     28 miles

Today was the day! We had serious climbs one after another all day long. Right away we climbed for a couple miles up to Rainbow Pass then dropped down into a valley for a little bit then right back up another steep climb. Around noon we came across Warren Lake and it was perfect timing for a swim. The cold water was invigorating and exhilarating. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “alpine lakes are good for the soul.” From Warren Lake we had a beefy climb to the top of Cut Away Pass and then dropped way down before climbing to the top of Rainbow Mountain. We dropped way down again then followed switchbacks up to Goat Flats before contouring around a huge mountain to Storm Lake Pass. From here we descended down to Storm Lake and found a place to call home for the night. Up and down all day. Probably the most vertical we covered in a day so far. Up over Rainbow Pass first thing this morningWarren Lake Icy cold water with a view Looking out from Raimbow MountainThe trail work in this section of Montana has been impeccable. Hats off to the Montana Conservation CorpsWalking over Goat Flats Storm Lake Passlooking out over Storm Lake Pass, only one of the coolest passes I’ve ever seenStorm Lake

Day 116     8/23     23 miles 

Today was mostly roadwalking. Relatively dull hiking especially after the day we had yesterday but relaxing. I don’t mind a long road walk on this trail once in awhile. It’s easy, not much elevation gain or loss, rarely any blowdowns, good footing, and hard to get lost (but not impossible). Eventually we were walking down Main Street of Anaconda, MT. This is a big city by Montana standards, only around 9,000 people but still the 9th largest city in the state. It was pretty cool walking down main street, there were lots of places to grab food before getting to the hotel we’re staying at on the far side of town. We ran into Moist, Mac, Appa, and JPeg, and hung out with them for awhile. They filled us in on a little trick awhile ago, the McDonald’s app, and we finally got a chance to use it getting all kinds deals on already cheap food.somebody crashed their truck and just left itpigged out all the way down Main Street there’s so much open land in this state but for whatever reason all the houses in this town are right on top of each othersee what I mean? 

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PS All My Love!!!

Day 92     7/30     0 miles

Took a zero today in Dubois. We’ve got some logistical limitations coming up due to permits in Yellowstone so it made sense to spend another night in town. Plus I didn’t sleep well on the floor of the church hostel last night so I could really use a night in a bed. This morning QB and I went to breakfast then to the laundromat with 3 cyclists riding their bikes across the country. JJ, Luke, and Isabella filled us in on their adventure and it sounded really awesome. Bike touring and thru hiking seem to be very similar in many ways and also have some key differences. I’ve never done any long distance biking but definitely would like to get into it. After laundry we parted ways with them as they headed west towards Jackson and eventually to the Oregon Coast. QB and I ate some more food and then found a room at the Black Bear Inn. This place was cool, they give thru hikers a break on the price(the owner’s son recently paddled the entirety of the Mississippi River, so they’re familiar with our lifestyle) and also have a nightly campfire beside the Wind River where they  serve up all the fixings for s’mores. As I was sitting at the campfire two women came down, Deb and Cynthia, and I immediately recognized their familiar accents. These are my people. They’re from Ipswich, MA a half hour north of me and are out this way for a wedding and to explore the state. Since I’m from Lynn, Cynthia asked me if I knew her ski husband Lou(not her real husband just the guy she skis with). Yeah, I do know Lou, my parents are good friends with Lou and his actual wife Margie. Then I find out Cynthia knows both of my parents and has skied with them too since they’re all Sunday River regulars. Small world, but this stuff happens to me all the time. Some kind of mining operation in Dubois

Day 93     7/31     20 miles

After two really lousy nights of minimal sleep, I finally got some solid rest last night. This morning Queen B and I were making our way to Daytime Donuts for breakfast when we ran into Mac and then Appa, two guys who we met way down in the boot heel of New Mexico and haven’t seen since Silver City. It was fun catching up these two and were surprised to see them. While thru hiking you can get an idea of where people are if they’re ahead of you by seeing names in trail registers but it’s much harder to figure out what’s going on behind you. After eating a bunch of donuts we put our thumbs out and quickly got picked up by Andrew from Rhode Island, who’s taking a road trip cross country and checking out all kinds of national parks and cool places. He dropped us off at Togwotee Pass and at the same time Treeman was getting out of a car back on trail also. We haven’t seen this gigantic German since Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. Back on trail we hiked with him for awhile until he stopped to pick up a box at Brooks Lake Ranch and we carried on for a very pleasant 20 mile day. TreeMan a German giant at Brooks Lake Ranch

Day 94     8/1     30 miles

Shortly after breaking camp this morning we saw a mother moose with a baby in tow. I thought I saw another one a little later but turned out to be just a boring horse. It was a handful of horses actually with a couple of forest service workers at the Nawlin Cabin who were up there clearing trail. The trail today was pleasant and relaxing again with very few people on it. We heard about an awesome waterfall from a little kid on horseback(he wasn’t alone, out with his parents on a weeklong trip). The waterfall ended up being a great place to swim and eat lunch. Shortly after lunch we passed Two Ocean Creek and ‘the Parting of the Waters.’ This river flows right along the Divide and splits in half with one side emptying into the Pacific and the other to the Atlantic. I couldn’t decide which way to pee. Treeman leapfrogged us a handful of times today and this afternoon we saw him go the wrong way for the third or fourth time. This time he was too far ahead to get his attention and correct him so hopefully he realized his mistake sooner than later but we still haven’t seen him. Tonight we got just shy of the Yellowstone NP border and since we don’t have a permit to stay inside the park, have to camp here. Tomorrow the plan is to go 27 miles then hitch into Grant Village where we’ll stay at a pay campground before meeting with a ranger to get our permit situation taken care of. Moose! Boring horses 

Day 95     8/2     27 miles 

Today was quite pleasant. We immediately crossed the border into Yellowstone NP and this morning was rather crisp. Shortly after entering the park we had to cross the Snake River and it was SO COLD!! Plus it wasn’t an easy crossing, in order to avoid going up to our waists we had to walk diagonally through the river where the shallower parts were. My feet thawed after an hour or so and the rest of the morning we spent walking alongside the Snake River and then the Heart River. Treeman caught up to us after lunch and we walked together for a few miles while he told us about his misadventures walking the wrong way yesterday. Queen B and I stopped at Heart Lake to swim this afternoon and shortly afterwards ran into HoHo and Chicory who are hiking south. I’ve been on the same trails as these two for the last couple years but didn’t meet them until CDT Days in April this year. We’re starting to come across a fair amount of southbound hikers(sobos) and I would say they’ve got the right idea. If I was to hike this trail again I would probably hike south. After Heart Lake the trail turns right past a geyser field. All this geothermal activity doesn’t make much sense to me but it sure is cool to see. QB listened to a podcast about it once and told me how Yellowstone is an active super volcano and we’re walking right through the caldera.Crazy! We got to Grant Village this evening and since we didn’t have backcountry permits for tonight had to use the hiker walk in site at the campground here.the Snake RiverQB bathing in Heart Lake silly elk walked right into our campsite 

Day 96     8/3     24 miles 

I figured we wouldn’t have a problem getting permits to camp where we wanted for tonight so after breakfast we went into the ranger office to get that taken care of. Boy was I mistaken! We encountered a mean scary park ranger and she was not very accommodating for thru hikers. Now we had to figure out a way to hike through Yellowstone on our own terms without breaking any rules. So we hitchhiked north to Old Faithful Village and got a great ride from Tom and Kathleen, then walked south for 24 miles back to the Heart Lake trailhead where Colt and his family stuffed us into their car and brought us back to Grant Village. We ran into Mac and Appa at the restaurant and camped with them at the hiker walk in site. We were lucky the trail today was flat and easy because we didn’t get started until almost 11 and still had to walk a bunch of miles. There were barely any people in the backcountry and we came across an awesome geyser field just north of Shoshone Lake and had it all to ourselves. Tomorrow we’ll hitch again to OFV and rejoin the trail, hiking north and out of the park. Had a geyser field to ourselvesI crossed this river and it only went up to my ankles, QB decided to go her own wayShoshone Lake

Day 97     8/4     20 miles

This morning we broke camp and got two quick hitches back to where we got on trail yesterday but this time we’ll be heading north again. After about a mile we reached Old Faithful Village and saw the famous geyser erupt in the distance as we crossed the parking lot. We joined Bears, Flip Flop, and Tree Man at the buffet breakfast then went outside with the crowds to watch another Old Faithful eruption. QB and I did a minor resupply then checked out the museum in the lodge and watched a short film about geysers. When we left the lodge we were just in time for another eruption of the main attraction. 3 times in one day! I didn’t realize it until getting here but there is way cooler stuff besides O.F. here. Yellowstone is home to 2/3’s of the planet’s geysers(I learned this in the short film), and we walked along a bunch of them as well as these wicked cool looking hot springs. Check out my pictures below. The trail followed boardwalks around a lot these springs and geysers and after a few miles it cut left and we climbed up out of the caldera of the Yellowstone super volcano. Immediately after turning left we were alone. After seeing hundreds of people this morning at the village we saw a total of 6 others the rest of the day and that included 2 rangers on horseback. We stopped at Summit Lake for a swim this afternoon then walked through a wide open burn area before leaving Wyoming and crossing into Idaho. I loved Wyoming! The trail was diverse and incredible, the people were super friendly, and the towns unique and interesting. One of my favorite states I’ve ever walked through, I’ll be back for sure. The trail follows along the Idaho/Montana border for the next few hundred miles so I’ll be back and forth between these two states before leaving Idaho and heading the rest of the way to Canada through just Montana. We don’t have a permit for camping in Yellowstone tonight so after we crossed into Idaho we still had to go 3 more miles to get outside the Western Boundary of the park and that’s where we set up for the night. Old Faithful doing its thingwalked to Idaho, nbd 

Day 98     8/5     19 miles so far

We got up this morning and have just been walking all day getting into the small resort town of Island Park, ID shortly before 2. Today consisted of a lot of road walking and although it’s not the most exciting I’m ok with some flat easy miles. We’ve got a few chores to do while in town and I heard there’s a good Mexican restaurant but the plan is not to stay here and to just carry on a few more miles this evening. First Idaho Sunset 

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Until next time,


PS All My Love!!! 

Day 83     7/21     3 miles

I’m glad we made it into South Pass City last night because the skies opened up again this morning. It was nice just laying in my tent waiting for the store to open rather than walk through the rain again. SPC was an old gold mining town that’s been continually inhabited since 1868. They have a little village there that’s either recreated or just hasn’t changed. The store in town accepts hiker packages and let us chill out inside sorting out our food while it hailed like crazy. The reenactors working in the little village said this weather is highly unusual. Cool! While talking with them I checked out the visitor center and read something about one of the original town members that shares my name a Mr. D.Carmody. Probably just a coincidence or maybe that’s why they were giving me free coffee. I’m pretty much royalty in this town.  Since there really isn’t any other hiker services here, we were originally planning to just pick up our food boxes and carry on but decided to go into the City of Lander for the day. From SPC the trail goes 3 more miles to highway 28 and we got a couple of good hitches to get us the 35 miles into Lander. The main reason we had to go into town was to pickup bear spray and rope to make a bear hang since we will be getting into grizzly country in the next section. (This was an oversight when we were sending food to South Pass City from Steamboat, had we realized we would have to go into town anyway we could have just shopped at the supermarket here.) No big deal, Lander is a cool town and taking time off to rest is important and enjoyable. We spent the day eating, showering and doing laundry. For short money we camped in a nice field behind a hotel. Drive-By, Thor, and Scrapbook had a room at the hotel and tonight we hung out with them for awhile in their room. These guys have been right near us for a few weeks. It seems like there’s nobody else on this trail so it’s fun to hang out with some other hikers when we get the chance.South Pass Citythis was on the wall in SPC, read close

Day 84     7/22     21 miles

Before hitching back to the trail this morning we filled up on McDonald’s breakfast(I know I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again; their breakfast is totally underrated). We got a couple of good quick hitches, first a couple that was going climbing let us cram into their already packed truck and brought us 20 miles, then a woman who just got off shift as a helicopter paramedic brought us the rest of the way. Once back on trail we walked about 3 more miles of the Basin before we were back into the forest and climbing towards the Wind River Mountains. It was nice to have trees around for shade and especially nice to have plenty of water sources. This will be my first time hiking through grizzly country and I guess I’m a little nervous about it. Most likely it’s just something that I’ll have to be aware of and I’ll get more comfortable with as I get used to it. I’m not sure exactly where grizzly territory begins but from here on out I’ll be assuming they are nearby and will try to hike and camp safely. QB and I usually stick together while walking so if we aren’t carrying on conversation I’ll just let out a ‘whoop whoop’ once in awhile to alert the bears to our presence. I almost always sleep with my food but while in grizzly country I’ll be hanging it from a tree and for a last defense I’m carrying bear spray. The worst part about hanging my food is I usually wake up and eat snacks so I’ll need to get out of that habit starting tonight. Back in the trees againand water

Day 85     7/23     24 miles

This morning we entered the Wind River Range and there’s a quite a spectacular alternate off the trail called the Cirque of the Towers. We planned on taking this route and followed a valley for 6 miles before reaching a lake and a steep pass with an unexpected super snowy traverse. The lake was still mostly frozen and it had to have been the coldest water I ever swam in. We ate lunch at the lake watching a few hikers attempt the pass and turn around. Queen B and I both mailed our ice axes and microspikes home weeks ago and didn’t anticipate getting into another situation with the snow. We didn’t have any information on the other passes of the alternate so decided to return the 6 miles to the official route and continue north on the CDT. It was disappointing to not see the Cirque of the Towers but I definitely plan on coming back. This alternate is part of the Wind River High Route and I’d love to hike that trail another time. The 12 miles of back and forth cost us half a day but the scenery was absolutely stunning and well worth it. Once back on the official route we walked for a couple more hours before setting up for the night.We just walked out of the desert yesterday 

Day 86     7/24     30 miles

The trail this morning wasn’t well traveled or well maintained. It wasn’t easy for about 10 miles going over and around lots of blowdowns and a handful of times we went the wrong way because intersections weren’t marked. All this slowed us down but eventually we passed a popular trailhead and the trail opened up. As we walked by lots of lakes we had huge views of some big time mountains. I met 4 girls who had road tripped from Massachusetts to hike out here and got my first, ‘Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin’ in awhile. Besides that snarky comment they were really nice and were only a couple degrees of separation from me since they knew people I knew. Shortly after meeting them we stopped for lunch and Queen B and I had a very refreshing swim in Dad’s Lake where we met another thru hiker, Jeremy. After lunch this afternoon went smoothly. There were a few river crossings that were deeper than normal(about thigh deep) and some awesome views of the Winds. We stopped for supper around 7 and then for the last hour walked into a wall of mosquitoes. This mosquito situation was as bad as any I’ve ever been in. Other than that, great day.

Day 87     7/25     27 miles

The plan for today was to walk 17 miles to a side trail, the Pole Creek Trail, then walk 10 more to a trailhead where hopefully we could hitch into Pinedale to resupply and spend the night. Immediately this morning the bugs were bad. I wore long pants and sleeves all day, even wore a head net until they subsided a little. The head net doubles as a clothes bag and triples as my pillow but this was the first time I put it on my head, forgot I even had it but it sure came in handy. Besides the bugs, today was incredible, some of the best scenery I’ve ever walked through. The Winds are filled with jagged granite peaks and lots of water. It was awesome. We walked over a few snowy passes and through some pretty deep river crossings(waist deep) before reaching the side trail. The Pole Creek Trail was pleasant and easy and mostly downhill. I know 1 person in Wyoming. So of course I run into her on horseback about halfway down this side trail. I met Nina in April of ’15 when we were both starting our thru hikes of the PCT. I knew she was living near Pinedale and had planned on getting in touch but I had no idea what she was doing up here. She’s working as a horse packer for Nols and her and Lila were bringing supplies up to the students in the Winds. The two of them plus five horses followed us down to the lot and they brought us back to the Nols 3 Peaks Ranch in Boulder for the night. A bed, a shower, laundry and a help yourself kitchen with tons of food. I mean this is absolutely incredible! To be fair there really isn’t that many people in Wyoming but the chances are still pretty slim. If these pictures don’t do it for you check out my insta for more pics if you want @endlesspsummerin full mosquito protection Hat PassOur host and Trail Angel Nina cooking breakfast at the 3Peaks Ranch 

Until next time, 


PS All My Love!!!

Day 76     7/14     6 miles 

Had a very nice time enjoying the comforts of town today. We hitched about twenty miles west to the town of Saratoga because of the better grocery store and this place ended up being a really cool little town. There was a restaurant right on the North Platte river serving Navajo burgers and then an old dairy with homemade ice cream nearby. Right behind the town pool is the free Saratoga Hot Springs better known as the Hobo Hot Springs. Probably because that’s where all the hoboes, travelers, and thru hikers hang out. Queen B fit right in, she did her laundry in the shower there in true hobo fashion. From the hot springs we walked over to the supermarket and resupplied for a couple days. Desi, the owner of Vacher’s Bighorn Lodge where we stayed last night, spotted us and gave us a ride back to Encampment. We met Judy at the visior’s center earlier and since she lived in a log cabin up near Battle Pass, she had offered us a ride back to the trail if we were back from Saratoga by 5. Perfect timing! We got back on trail this evening and walked a nice pleasant half a dozen miles crossing into Medicine Bow National Forest before calling it a day. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hobo Hot Springs

Day 77     7/15.    31 miles

Today was a bit difficult. At least for awhile it was lots of ups and downs and I think I encountered the most blowdowns(trees down in trail) that I’ve seen anywhere else on the CDT. It’s tough to navigate these blowdowns and each one requires a different maneuver. You have to climb over, under, or around them and they’ll slow you down. We ran into Spice this morning who we haven’t seen since right before we got off trail to go to Chicago. And we also saw trail angel Crazy Joe again who was car camping next to the trail and provided us with cold sodas. After about 18-20 miles the trail dropped out of Medicine Bow into the Great Basin. We’re back in the desert again. No trees, barely any water, relatively flat and wide open views forever. We joined a road and grabbed water at what will be our last good source for about 37 miles. Walking along the gravel road was easy but not extremely exciting. This guy Colt stopped and had ice cold sodas that he carries in his truck for people like us. So awesome! After about 12 miles we stopped on the side of the road, watched the sunset and set up to cowboy camp for the night, Wyoming is the Cowboy State after all. Oh yeah I saw my first coyote of the trip this evening(only my favorite animal) plus lots of deer and antelope. Dropping into the Great Basin

QB gearing up for some serious road walkingEverything the light touches is yours 
Day 78     7/16     26 miles

The wind was ferocious last night. I watched the stars for awhile and saw a handful of shooters but after awhile the wind made cowboy camping an impossibility. Sleeping in a tent wasn’t much better and it not until about 2:30 the wind died down and I could finally crash out for a few hours. In the desert sun, it’s imperative to walk during the early morning so I couldn’t even sleep in. There was about 26 miles of road between me and Rawlins this morning and I was tired, hot, and thirsty. Luckily about half a dozen cars stopped to give us water, and since there were very few cars on the road the percentage of cars that stopped was very high. I’m impressed with Wyoming and how nice the people are. Early on today I saw a dead rattlesnake on the road, not a good sign. Then later on I heard that the city of Rawlins is having a problem with rattlers and we even met a couple that was going out to hunt them, vigilante style. Queen B and I finally got into Rawlins after this long non stop road walk and each ate a whole pizza before napping out for an hour or so and then going out for Chinese food. On our walk from dinner to McDonald’s for ice cream we saw the most amazing sunset. For some reason it looked eerily apocalyptic. I thought there would definitely be a tornado or something. Rawlins is right on I-80 and is the epitome of an interstate town. I found that it felt very similar to Grants, NM. It’s not exactly charming and although it’s spread out it has everything that a hiker needs. I like the town and I definitely needed a comfortable place to sleep after last night’s winds. This view for miles and miles and mileslots of people stopped to give us water and the rattlesnake vigilantes even gave us bananasthe end of the world sunset 

Day 44     6/12/17     23 miles

Today was rather productive, especially considering we didn’t get out of town until quarter past ten. I had been lugging around my snowshoes for about 300 miles now and they had become a total nuisance. There was only about half a day when I actually used them and even that was overkill so I finally got a chance to mail them home today. This was no easy feat however, some old grouch at the post office was trying to make matters difficult. The woman at the counter was really nice but there was a particular crabby lady in the back that kept barking out orders at us from the other room. It took 3 trips to the PO, one pretty solid dumpster dive by me for some cardboard and a little bit of crafty ingenuity by Queen B to get our snowshoes packaged up and sent home. We celebrated our successful post office mission with ice cream sandwiches and then walked out of the town of Creede. This is a really cool old mining town and the Main Street leads right out of town through a giant canyon where the mine is. After leaving town the road ascends steeply through the mine and eventually picks up a trail that brought us back to the CDT after 10 miles. We walked quickly up this road and about halfway up saw a great big bull moose just chilling in the grass watching us. Once we got back onto the official route it was familiar territory. The CDT coincides with the Colorado Trail for the next few hundred miles and Queen B and I both hiked the CT last August. For the next 4 miles we were up around 12,000 feet contouring around huge bowls and postholing in deep snow. QB said this is her favorite place in the world, personally though I’m not too crazy about post holing through the snow for miles, no matter how spectacular the views are. Once we got up and over San Luis Pass we dropped down through a valley for about 10 miles before finding a place to camp in La Garita CG. I loved the CT and it’s fun to remember my time here last year and to see the trail going the opposite direction. In the valley this evening I saw a beaver, another great big moose, a white tailed deer and about a dozen elk. Walking out of Creede the old mineQB’s favorite place in the worldA great big moose

Day 45     6/13     27 miles

Crush City today! For real, we really knocked it out of the park. Today was a primo day for banging out some serious miles. The original plan was to push for a huge day, do the same thing tomorrow then hopefully get to Monarch Pass early enough on Thursday with enough time to hitchhike a couple hundred miles north to Denver. My friends Boone and Katie are getting married in Illinois this weekend and Queen B and I would like to be in attendance. We were destroying miles all morning and had close to 20 by the time we stopped for lunch. Shortly afterwards we ran into a southbounding Colorado Trail hiker who gave us a report of pretty lousy trail conditions ahead. I have no idea how accurate this report was and if we gave it hell I’m sure we could have still got to Monarch Pass by Thursday but chose to let fate have its say. There was a road crossing about 6 miles ahead and we decided to put our thumbs out for exactly one hour. If we didn’t get picked up in an hour we’d carry on hiking. As luck would have it, 45 minutes into the hour, the 8th car that passed us scooped us up. Chad was driving a huge pickup towing an even bigger trailer full of scrap metal. As a former scrap metal collector myself, I knew this was a good omen. He fed us a still warm McDonald’s double cheeseburger and drove us 40 miles to Sawatch, CO. We were quickly in and out of a gas station for drinks, and seconds later got picked up by a car heading our way. Mary was driving a full size suburban Chevrolet dragging a pop-up trailer and packed with 3 kids, 2 dogs and a few bikes. I was shocked when she stopped for us but it was a great hitch. The whole family was really nice and Mary drove us 3 hours to Colorado Springs where they were meeting her daughter who’s in the army there and camping for the weekend. On request Speed drove down to CO Springs to grab us, then he and his wife Theresa put us up in their home in Denver. Things really work out nicely sometimes. I just ate a ton of pizza and I’m about to crash out after an awesome long day of walking and traveling. Coachetopa creek crossing, arguably the coldest water of all time. My legs were numb to my thighs for 20 minutes. Miles to go before I sleep

Day 46     6/14     0 miles

Today I took my first official zero of the CDT. In thru hiking terminology a ‘zero’ is simply a day with no trail miles hiked.  So nice to just relax for the day. Theresa cooked us breakfast and then I straight chilled this morning, even took a mid morning nap, a total rarity for me. Over the last few weeks I developed a gigantic tear in the seat of my shorts, I mean these things were threadbare and see-through and even the packing tape we got in Creede couldn’t stop the damage. A better hiker would have just sewed them with dental floss but I had planned on replacing them while in town.  Theresa, a seamstress, offered to fix them and had my shorts good as new in minutes. Early this afternoon, Big Cheese (who became so svelte hiking the PCT in ’15 that he now goes by just ‘Cheese’) came by and the 5 of us went out to lunch then explored the Berkeley neighborhood of Denver where Speed and T live. QB and I ran a couple of errands this afternoon and then this evening Cheese had a little impromptu cookout at his place in Arvada just north of Denver. Speed, T and some other hiking friends and Colorado Natives BK and Nomad showed up, it was great. All day everything  was so last minute and unplanned and all these people came out of the woodwork to help us out; driving us around, putting us up in their homes, feeding us, or just hanging out. So nice to get trail magic from friends. Speed was supposed to get back on trail today(he’s hiking a section of the CDT in southern Wyoming) but put it off until tomorrow just to help us out. Cheese lives on a little working farm complete with goats and chickens and the like. Plenty of room to camp so this is where I’m spending the night. At first I couldn’t tell if this was some kind of sidewalk art or a scaffolding collapse. Note the ‘Bad Neighbor’ sign next door. Slow car or fast house? The last time I saw Cheese grilling, he and Shadowhawk were flipping burgers in Warner Springs, CA for about 100 hungry hikers. Bullit the Goat eating grass

Day 47     6/15    0 miles

Yesterday Queen B and I booked our flights to Chicago for early this afternoon. The last thing I needed the first then this morning was an email from Spirit airlines saying that my flight was delayed 6 hours(this really wasn’t that big of a deal especially since we were able to use our time wisely). So I just walked a butt load of miles, strangers picked up two dirty smelly hikers and drove us for hours on end, friends carted us around, fed us and housed us but a major U.S. airline (albeit a budget airline), that we spent real money on, was the only entity we couldn’t count on. I believe in people and fate, airlines and huge companies on the other hand are just the worst. No big deal, we made the most of our day in Denver. Cheese had the day off so he was able to hang out and brought us all over town to take care of chores and eat food. We went to Tom’s Diner downtown and I demolished a delicious Denver Omelette(I think everywhere else it’s just called a Western Omelette, at least in New England). While exploring the city we shopped for brand new used clothes to wear to Boone and Katie’s wedding. I can’t be getting out on the dance floor this weekend in my dirty running shorts, feathered trucker hat, and filthy ill-fitting Hawaiian shirt. Cheese then drove us up to Boulder to a gear repair  shop where I got the zipper on my tent replaced. Boulder Mountain Repair is the real deal; short money and super quick, in and out in 20 minutes. Before dropping us off at the airport we stopped for Vietnamese food. One of my 2017 New Year’s resolutions was to master chopsticks and I hadn’t picked up a pair in 6 weeks. It’s like riding a bike though and I had no problem devouring a huge bowl of Pho Tai. Right now I’m sitting on the plane that was delayed an additional hour and a half waiting to take off. Should be getting to O’Hare around 11:30 central time then still have about a 90 mile drive to Rockford, IL ahead of us. Hoping to crash out for a little bit on the plane. Oddly enough last night at Cheese’s cookout I met 2 of his roommates, one grew up in Rockford and the other went to Appalachian State in Boone, NC. My buddy Boone’s hometown and another city where he spent a lot of time and where his trail name is derived from. The truth is stranger than fiction, I’ve been saying that for years. The thing is though, that kind of stuff barely surprises me anymore, my life is a series of eerie coincidences or at least I think it is (I’ve also been saying that for years).Colorado state capitalit wouldn’t have been cool to put it back on the rack after trying it on over these gross clothes

Day 48     6/16     0 miles

We got into Chicago after midnight and still had to rent a car and drive 90 miles to Rockford. I hadn’t driven a car in 6 weeks, I was exhausted, in a place I’d never been, in a car I wasn’t familiar with, and driving through cloudburst rainstorms and navigating other obstacles like orange construction barrels and having to throw coins in real tollbooths like the olden days. I felt like I woke up in this really weird dream and had to perform ridiculous tasks. No problem though, we got to Boone’s house and caught up with him for awhile before finally crashing out for the night around 3am. After sleeping in for a few extra hours; Boone, QB, and I went to breakfast at Eggceltional or Eggsclusive Cafe or some other egg pun restaurant. I can’t remember the exact name but both thumbs up. Come to find out they call it a Denver omelette in Illinois too, but they should call it a Rockford omelette. QB and I both devoured our 5 egg omelette, plus stacks of pancakes. These were gigantic meals and we major beatings on them, I could tell the waitress was impressed. Queen B and I spent the afternoon having fun exploring the city of Rockford. It’s got a reputation for being a rather gritty place but from what I saw of the city I think Rockford’s got a lot going for it. We went to an art museum at the Discovery Center, walked along the riverfront and downtown and checked out the Rockford Farmer’s Market. This evening we went to the wedding rehearsal at the Barn and then to dinner with the Bride, Groom, and family and friends at Costa’s in Byron, IL. The wedding venue was really nice, dinner was great and it was a lot of fun meeting the people in Katie and Boone’s life. Boone and QB crushing breakfastthe Discovery Center in Rockford, ILthe Riverwalk Rockford, ILthe wedding venue

Day 49     6/17     0 miles

This morning Queen B and I took a little field trip to the Wisconsin state capitol, Madison. What a delightful little city this is! Madison is a clean, safe college town that was chock full of tourists, sidewalk performances, and another farmer’s market(2 midwestern FM’s in a row if you’re keeping track). In the center of the city is the beautiful capitol building. We checked that out and went up to the observation deck, enjoying 360 degree views of Madison and the 2 lakes the city is built between. We walked along pedestrian only State street which is closed to traffic on the weekends, over to both lakes, down to the University of Wisconsin and then out to lunch for noodles and sushi. Katie told us that Madison is the foodie capital of the Midwest(Boone disagreed). Either way the Japanese food today did not disappoint. Madison is about an hour and a half from Rockford so we headed back early enough that we’d have enough time to get all gussied up for the wedding. We got to the venue with time to spare and the impending rain held off for a beautiful outdoor ceremony. I’ve had many different roles at weddings and this time I was asked to step in and be the videographer. I was up for the task and everything but there’s a small chance there may have been some technical difficulties with the production. The reception in the barn afterwards was perfect; I met lots of their family and friends, there were 2 rather awesome toasts by Brian and Amanda(the BM and MOH speeches are usually my favorite part of any wedding and they both rose to the challenge), live country music, and serve yourself style BBQ which I prefer because of my fierce appetite. Most importantly it was easy to see that everyone in the room was genuinely happy for Boone or ‘Eric’ and Katie. These two have themselves a legit love story and it was obvious how excited they both were to be marrying each other. Tonight was a great night and I’m so glad I was there for it. Congratulations Katie and Boone! Madison, WIa street performer me, Boone(with his eyes closed), Katie, QBBoone or ‘Eric’ and Katie, the newlyweds QB and Lydia the flower girl, cheesin real hardMe and QB, got our wedding gear at thrift stores and took a few bird baths to get rid of that hiker stank

Day 50     6/18    0 miles

Boone put us up at his house for 2 nights and let us use it as a base while we were in town but since the newlyweds were returning there after the wedding, we sprang for a hotel room last night. I’m sure he carried her over the threshold and everything but we got out of their hair for all those traditions. I’d have to go over my journal to make sure, but I think Boone’s house was the first place that I spent 2 nights in a row since I left Massachusetts in the end of April. The place was incredible. Boone built it himself and as a carpenter and a perfectionist; his house is a perfect example of the craft that he’s mastered. We stopped by this morning before leaving town to say goodbye and gather a few of our things before driving to the airport. Everything went really smoothly so far today and QB and I are currently up in the air flying back to Denver. No delays on Spirit Airlines end so as long as the pilot lands this thing where they’re supposed to, we should be back on trail in the next 24 hours. I knew getting to Rockford for this wedding was going to be a challenge but it would be well worth it and it was. It’s tough to get off trail for an extended period of time but we hadn’t taken any zeroes yet and hopefully my body will appreciate the rest I’ve given it. Check in next week for an update and feel free to follow me on insta @endlesspsummer for more pictures.


PS All My Love!!! a Northern Illinois sunset last night at the wedding

Day 20     5/19     16 miles

We were joined in Grants by our friend Speed who traveled down from Denver and is joining us for a stretch. Speed’s an experienced hiker who’s got lots of long distance miles on his legs. He’s a retired scientist with the BLM(bureau of land management) and has lots of knowledge about the outdoors. Like if I was ever on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ Speed would be my lifeline for all things to do with the outside. Queen B and I both met and hiked with him on the PCT in ’15. The 3 of us walked out of town around noon time today but not before grabbing a burrito at a taco shop at the edge of the city. The trail follows the highway for a few miles and then goes into the woods and climbs in elevation towards Mt. Taylor. It’s been a nice peaceful and relaxing day but as we get higher the temperature has been dropping. We’re right around 9000 feet and it should be cold sleeping tonight.  On a positive note about sleeping though, my tent is set up correctly for the first time ever. I have about 6000 miles on this thing and never learned how to set it up the right way, granted I don’t always use it and try to cowboy camp when I can, when I do need it I just half ass the set up and get the job done as quick as possible. Queen B has been criticizing how janky the thing looks so she watched a video on the correct way to set it up and then put her knowledge to use. The thing looks good and is more spacious than ever. Now if I can only get her to do this for me every night. A little after 9 our friend Smiley, who I met on the PCT and QB met on the AT in ’13, showed up to camp. Smiley’s triple crowned and then some. He drove over from Navajo Nation and up a forest road to our campsite. He brought us all kinds of great trail magic; a bucket of chicken, coconut cream pie, pecan pie, fresh fruit, and lots of Coca Cola Classics. We’re camped near the trailhead to Mt Taylor so he was able to park and will be joining us for the day tomorrow. QB and Speed

Day 21     5/20     21 miles 

What a great day! Smiley, Speed, Queen B and I started the day by climbing Mt Taylor, one of the 4 sacred peaks of the Navajo. We then followed along a ridge to summit La Mosca Peak. Both peaks were over 11,000 feet and it was the first time of the hike we had to walk across any snow. Smiley turned back after La Mosca but he was awesome, he gave us some good info about the CDT and brought with him lots of food for today’s hike and provided us with trail magic all morning. Speed, Queen B and I then spent the rest of the day enjoying some sunshine and descending down a few thousand feet. We found a place to cowboy camp in a patch of trees just off trail on the edge of a wide open range. 

Day 22     5/21     26 miles 

It was a little chilly last night but that gave me good reason to hit the ground running or at least walking quickly early this morning. The miles during the early morning hours are usually some of my favorite of the day, and this morning was no exception. The air was crisp, probably in the high 30’s, and I had wide open views of the sunrise all around me and could hear coyotes howling in the distance. Queen B was lucky enough to see a coyote this morning, but I didn’t get the chance. She said the two wild animals (herself and the coyote) stared at each other for a good 15 seconds and had a moment. We walked for about 13 or 14 miles and had to take a little side trail into a really cool canyon to get water so that’s where we stopped for lunch. By the spring we met Rabinath, a hiker from Amsterdam, and he walked with us the rest of the day. After about 10 more miles of walking through the forest the trail drops steeply down from the mesa into a wide open valley. It’s funny because I didn’t even know we were up on a mesa until the trail reached a point at the edge of the forest and peaking through the trees I could see vast expansive views of this beautiful valley. Once I got down into the valley the trail crossed a forest road and a couple guys, John and Alan, were just packing up from camping for the weekend. They said 5 hikers camped with them the previous night and they cooked for them. Trail magic is the best! Since they were just leaving they hooked me up with a bunch of leftovers; boiled eggs, ham, boiled potatoes, and string cheese that I shared with Queen B, Speed, and Rabinath. We cowboy camped in a patch of trees down around 6000 feet so I expect it to be a much warmer night. Early morning hiking across an open rangethe view from the edge of the forest and the mesa
Day 23     5/22     29 miles

If I used the word epic I would use it to describe today. It really was incredible. I got going bright and early around quarter of 6 and walked across a huge valley into these big rock formations. This is Canyon and mesa country. I felt like I was in a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. We walked through slickrock canyons, around  buttes, on the edges of mesas and up and down rock formations all day. It truly was spectacular. Plus, we didn’t see anybody. Besides Queen B and Speed I didn’t see another hiker all day. I mean I know it’s a weekday and everything but this place is awesome, I can’t believe nobody else is out here enjoying it. Then to cap off the day we finished the book we’ve been reading as a group,  Huck Finn. One of my favorite thru hiking activities is to read books as a team with my hiking partners. I like to read the classics because they’re usually free on my phone and also they’re classics for a reason. I’m frugal and I’m ultralight. Queen B and I started Huck Finn at the beginning of the trail and Speed joined in for the last hundred pages or so. Both thumbs all the way up by the way. Next on the docket is John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Let me know if you have any suggestions. We found a place to cowboy camp just beyond a canyon with a spring and only 15 miles from Cuba our next town. 

Day 24     5/23     15 miles 

Cruised right on into Cuba, NM this morning. Had one little miscommunication with my hiking partners earlier. I was the first out of camp this morning, as usual, and after about 10 miles I went off trail to get water at a windmill and I thought these two were planning to stop there. Turns out they had enough water and were going straight into town. So I stayed off trail by the windmill chilling out and stuff and they bee lined right past on the regular trail. I thought they were behind they thought I was ahead. After an hour or so of them not showing I turned and burned and picked up their tracks going into Cuba. No big deal, these things happen. We met up in town and crushed some cheeseburgers before going about our day doing town chores and stuff. Speed’s got a buddy that’s picking us up and putting us up for the night at his house nearby. Things are good! Loving the trail so far and excited for the trail ahead. Follow my insta if you want @endlesspsummer for more pictures. 


PS All My Love!!! 

Pie Town, NM

Day 8     5/7     22 miles

Sunday morning I treated myself by sleeping in until 7 in the loft of the A Space gallery in Silver City. Before leaving town I stuffed my face at Vicki’s Eatery for breakfast then relaxed for a little bit at Javalina’s (it’s a coffee shop, get it?). Queen B and I walked out of town around 10 through a residential neighborhood before getting back up into the Gila wilderness. After a few miles we took a left and started on the Gila River alternate route that will link back up with the CDT further North along the trail. We met up with Trooper, a hiker from Pittsburgh, at a little creek in the late afternoon and walked with him for about the next 5 miles or so. The three of us camped on some flat rocks near Hell’s Canyon spring. Ironic that it is called Hell’s Canyon because due west of us we watched the sun drop into some clouds along the horizon depicting what looked to me like the stereotypical version of heaven. The version of heaven depicted on prayer cards given out at funerals. If such a place exists, this just might be it.

Day 9     5/8     25 miles

Early the next morning Queen B and I walked about a dozen miles before the Trail reached the Gila River at the bottom of a canyon. The alternate follows the river as it serpentines through a beautiful red rock canyon for miles. In all we will end up crossing the river something like 200 times. Queen B said she would keep track but lost count after 4, I didn’t even try. It’s slow going with all the river crossings but it’s been incredible. We walked for the rest of the day crossing the river countless times and dropping our packs to jump in for a swim whenever we felt like it. In the evening we found a nice soft sandy beach to camp on that even came with hot springs! There was a small waterfall into a hot pool with a muddy bottom surrounded by vegetation. 

Day 10     5/9     15 miles

Tuesday I had no reason to jump out of bed too early because I was picking up a resupply box at Doc Campbell’s outpost and it didn’t open until 10. We did a few miles of river crossings in the morning before the trail reaches a bridge. That road skirts along the canyon for awhile and eventually to Doc’s store. A nice little pit stop. I ate some food, did a little maintenance and picked up a box of junk food I mailed myself a couple weeks earlier. We carried on with every intention of checking out the Gila Cliff Dwellings but the sky threatened T-storms and since it was 5 miles of road walking out of the way, and not guaranteed to be letting people in because of the potential for weather, we decided to skip it. The trail then drops back into a canyon containing the middle fork of the Gila. We found a hot spring right away with super hot water and laid in it for awhile looking up at the huge canyon walls. This day was awesome! The red, yellow and orange canyon walls were quite the sight. We continued to cross the river over and over while craning our necks to look at the walls and spires that were everywhere. The day ended with another stellar campsite just up a short path from yet another hot spring. This one a little cooler but cleaner and clearer and perfect for a good soak after a long day of walking. I swear hot springs are good for the soul. The Gila is an amazing place, borderline magical. It should be considered a national treasure. And there’s nobody here! 2 nights in a row we got a campsite with our own private hot spring, it’s unbelievable.

Day 11     5/10     24 miles

Wednesday I spent another full day walking along the Gila and we’re camped just at the edge of the wilderness boundary. This place is on my short list for favorite places ever visited, and we’ve had it practically all to ourselves. Today was the coldest it’s been so far, so less swimming in the river but we still had to cross it like a million times. And I’ve had wet feet constantly for the last 3 days so my toenails will probably grow extra long this week. Queen B got stuck pretty good in quicksand today, less than an hour after we were talking about how every kid grows up with a built in fear of quicksand. What are the chances? She lived though, but apparently she was in it pretty deep, up to her thighs and had to rescue herself a la Indiana Jones(not sure if this even happened in the movies, I never saw them). With all the river crossings it’s tough to move quickly through this section but that’s fine with me. The Gila River has been thoroughly enjoyable and I can’t believe how well kept a secret it is, I actually feel a little guilty broadcasting this. 

Day 12     5/11     30 miles

It was freezing this morning when I woke up. I know this because my shoes, socks and gaiters were frozen stiff. I had no choice but to put them on anyway and start walking. Eventually they thawed out once I started walking. The trail crossed the icy river about half dozen more times as we climbed up to Snow Lake. Right as we got up to the lake we saw a herd of about 30 elk also out for a walk this morning. There’s a national forest campground at the lake and I learned from a camper there that the temperature got down to the 20’s last night. Luckily, it warmed up considerable as the day went on. The trail climbs up through another  canyon and then travels over vast rolling plains(think Dances With Wolves) for about 5 miles before joining a forest road for awhile. On the forest road I met Johnny from Germany, the first thru hiker I’ve seen in days besides QB. I walked with him for a couple hours and he planted some ideas in my head like riding a bike all around the Mediterranean and hiking the Dream Path from Munich to Venice. Today was a good day, nothing spectacular, but it was enjoyable and a good day to crush big miles as we ended up going over 30 for just the second time of the hike. Best hot spring ever!!!

Day 13     5/12     30 miles

Last night I dreamt of scrambled eggs smothered in cheese. What a weird thing to dream about, that’s not even part of my regular diet. My appetite had started to increase the last couple days but I guess that makes it official; if I’m dreaming about food then my hiker hunger has most definitely kicked in. It was another cold one last night, not frozen socks in the morning cold, but still cold. Probably because we were camped pretty high, up above 8500 feet. The trail climbed up over 9000 feet this morning and for the first time I saw snow on the ground. We rejoined the official CDT from the Gila River alternate just a mile into the day and of course I went the wrong way for half a mile before noticing and had to bush whack up a steep hill to get back on track. The rest of the day went smoothly, lots of single track through pine forest climbing and dropping over and over while eventually dropping down to just below 8000 feet where we are camped near a cow pond 35 miles south of Pie Town. Walking up out of the canyon

Day 14     5/13     26 miles

Another cold morning but a really nice relaxing day. Today was mostly a dirt road walk through pine forest but included some nice climbs. We topped out around 9600 feet on Mangas mountain that even had a working, staffed fire lookout tower. I checked that out of course and spotted a wildfire in the distance. Not about to pose a threat to my hike though. The forest service worker Mike, has a pretty cool job, probably on par with being a lighthouse keeper. 

Day 15     5/14     9 miles

Pie Town! My first shower in 11 days, my record’s 12 but I’ve gotta strike while the irons hot, or when my pits are smelly, or when there’s a shower available. Like today. Pie Town is this tiny little town in New Mexico with a couple of restaurants that serve pie of course and home of the Toaster House, a really cool little hostel for us hikers with toasters all over the place. It’s been 5 days and 130 miles since I’ve had any kind of civilization and now I’m about to enjoy the fruits of my labor and relax for the rest of the day. Feel free to follow me on insta for more pictures of this adventure @endlesspsummerthe Toaster House


PS All My Love!!!