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CDT Day 115 Hiking the headwaters of the Missouri River 

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10th August

15.6 miles

Sawtelle (1854.9) to Lillian Lake (1870.5)

The three of us woke early, before the sun as usual. We all decided to have a lazy morning. After breakfast and packing up our gear we parked ourselves in the reception area of the RV park to use the wifi.

After several hours of catching up on social media and the world news I needed to resupply. I made a big mistake. Never resupply on an empty stomach. I bought way too much food. It was only 70 miles or so to the next town of Lima in Montana.

After buying two foot long subs at Subway then we set off. I did of course consume one of the subs. But I was not prepared for the long hill climb. It kept going for maybe 3000 feet. My backpack was heavy with food and my stomach full. I was slow.

Initially the trail followed a minor road before it detoured to a faint trail. I needed a little navigation to make it to the high and remote source of the Missouri/Mississippi River. It was quite a buzz to be at the head of the longest river. There was a log book up there. I was surprised to see that more paddlers signed the book than CDT hikers. It must be more popular to canoe the rovers from the source than hike the CDT!

I continued hiking late. Till 9pm. I lost contact with Nips and Lucky. The last hours of the day I hiked alone through very beary looking terrain. I hiked with the bear spray in front of me through scrubby bushes much taller than me. I was shouting loudly. At one point I took the safety catch off my bear spray.

Eventually I caught up to Lucky and Nips. It was 9pm and almost dark. I went to put the safety catch back on my bear spray. It was missing. So now I don’t have a safety catch on my bear spray. I better not fall face first into the ground, I might just inadvertently spray myself.

the spring that feeds the missouri river

Next – Day 116 Eating Berries

Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
CDT Gear List

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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