July 6, Day 14 – Fallen trees hurt my knees

Today’s hiking entertainment is brought to you by “The Blowdown Showdown featuring the squirrel playground, trees of terror and the floor is lava.” I knew there was going to be 4.5 miles of rough blow downs today. What I didn’t know was that it was actually 14 miles total of blowdowns and 30 miles of wet feet. My feet were soaking wet from the time I walked out of camp to the time I crawled into my quilt tonight. I started my morning with 2 creek crossings in the first 1/4 mile. There was no way to keep my feet dry on the second one. A few miles later I was met with the first of many blowdowns. I was not aware what the next 8 hours was going to entail. It took me 8 hours to go 18 miles. There was a stretch of 4 miles where I couldn’t take more than 20 steps without having to step over, around, or under a fallen tree. At one point, I took 18 steps without touching the ground, jumping from tree to tree. It was a jungle gym of fallen trees, most of which had burned in a fire several years ago. My hands were covered in ash within a mile. To make things even more interesting, it was one of the hottest days we have had so far and there was no shade for miles. I found myself stopping and standing in some of the creeks just to cool off my feet. I’d often dip my hat in the water too. That felt nice. The one big positive for the day was when I came across a group of southbounders who informed me that the main closure we were waiting on in Glacier had opened up. This meant we would be able to hike the entirety of Glacier National Park, validating our decision to start in Butte. I eventually made it to camp at 8:30 that night and was asleep within an hour. It was a long day and I’m excited for town day tomorrow!

I saw a black bear for the third day in a row today. This one was definitely the most skittish. By the time I saw it, the bear was already 30 feet up a dead tree. I was pretty frightened for it because the tree was bound to fall over at any moment. I quickly passed by and saw the bear return safely to the ground.

Miles: 38.18 Total Miles: 285.98

Elevation of Camp: 5,470’

The bear was a great climber!

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