I felt ready to be back on trail. I was rested. I was confident that I was healthy again. What a difference a couple of days make. Only a few short days ago I thought my hike might be over.
I devoured as much of the hotels very average continental breakfast as possible before leaving. For second breakfast, two hours later, I went to a local cafe. Boston had just arrived in town. Another southbound hiker was also there. We discussed the trail and the fires over breakfast. They were both staying the night in town.
I made my way to the Ranger Station for the latest update on the fire. The fire has not closed too much of the CDT. There is only a short detour for me to take in the next day or two. I’m resupplying at a lodge near the trail which is safe from the fire and still open. But it looks like the main town of Dubois might be cut off by the fire unless the fire crews get a break with the weather. No problem for me but many hikers are planning to resupply there. They may need to make other arrangements.
It was almost 2pm when I started hiking. An ex CDT hiker called Clutch gave me a lift to the trailhead. On setting off to hike I realised I’d lost the Bear Spray. In the hotel, in the Cafe, at the ranger station. Damn. Not happy. And not sure if or where I can pick one up again. Hiking solo in Grizzly country might make me a little nervous without it.
I hiked back up the same trail I’d walked a couple of days ago. I met two thru hikers. One German guy I’d never met before and Easyrider. Turns out Easyrider was also very sick several days ago, but luckily was in the town of Lander at the time.
I continued up to Seneca lakes, a stunning lake surrounded by high mountains. From near that point I had to choose which hiking route I was going to take. Either the official CDT or the rougher but more stunning Knapsack Col. I chose the official CDT (well most of it) which stays at a lower altitude.
On this hike there are many such choices of hiking route. Some are harder, some easier, some are short cuts, some are more beautiful and some of the choices also involve taking the official CDT.