Sth Fork Sun River (2439.1) to My Lake (2467.9)
Again it was an early start and easy hiking on the horse superhighway. Benchmark Ranch was nearby and some trailheads that allowed easy access for horse riders. Horse riding in the wilderness seems to be a big thing in Montana.
It was 12-15 easy flat miles of hiking. I met a couple of hikers heading in the opposite direction. The Chinese Wall is the big attraction in this part of the Bob Marshal Wilderness. As are the high concentration of bears.
I stopped to photograph a fairly recent print of a black bear. Five miles later I bumped into a fellow CDT hiker, Hotshot. The last time I saw her was at Silver City before I even started hiking the trail. More than 2450 miles later I caught up to her. She mentioned that she saw her first black bear five miles earlier, same place I took the photo of the print.
We hiked together and chatted for a couple of miles where we caught Third Monty and Fix It. A mile or so later I caught up to Elusive. It’s a traffic jam of hikers.
We all spread out as we entered the famed Chinese Wall. An escarpment several miles long and maybe 150 meters tall. It stretched for several miles. It reminded me a lot of home, the Arnhem Land escarpment. But unlike home there was lots of evidence of bear activities. Prints and scat, some very recent.
It was getting late in the day as I entered the Chinese Wall area. The bear activities had me a bit nervous. It was grizzly tracks and scat that worried me. There was little in the way of flat campsites with trees nearby that could be used to hang my food. I continued hiking till later than I wanted. Lately I’ve started looking for camps around 7pm, and taking whatever I could find by 7.30pm. By 8pm it is subset time. But campsite selection is a little more important in Grizzly bear country. I wasn’t happy with my site. Starting tomorrow I’m going to start looking for campsites earlier.