16th-18th September 

16 miles

East Glacier (2559.7) to East Glacier (2575.7)

It was windy. I was blown off my feet. My hiking partners Teflon and Bubbles had been blown off their feet many times. The wind was over 100 miles per hour. At first it was fun to be in the strong winds, before long it was downright dangerous. I wonder if anybody reading this has experienced wind so strong that it is impossible to walk or been blown off their feet while hiking. 

Several hours earlier we left East Glacier on route to Two Medicine a small campground with a backcountry ranger station. It was there we planned to pick up our camping permits, we didn’t make it. We left town late morning. The weather was overcast, not a breath of wind. It would be an easy day of hiking.

We reached the top of the ridge when it was too windy and dangerous to continue. We had only 100 meters to traverse a tricky exposed ridge before the 2 mile downhill hike to Two Medicine. But we couldn’t make it. My better judgement and little voice in my head said, turn around. The bitter cold froze my face. I couldn’t speak properly as my mouth muscles started to freeze. It was like is been to the dentist. It was cold. On the descent the wind blew the beanie off my head, off a cliff into the abyss. For the first time in my life I made the decision to turn around and retreat back to the town of east glacier. There have been times when I’ve had to wait out weather and times I’ve had to bail off a trail due to the weather but never have I had to make a full retreat. Teflon is an experienced hiker and she had never been in wind that strong. She also thought a retreat was the best idea. Despite Bubbles being in a multi month hiking journey, this is her first overnight hiking trip into the mountains, what a start for her. She was cold. Her face was frozen and wiped constantly by her backpack straps. Her eyeballs were frozen. She later told me she was really scared but trusted our judgement. She also mentioned that despite the wind and cold she enjoyed the challenge. Earlier she was shivering, she was cold and struggling.

Several days earlier I arrived in East Glacier. I had several days to wait for my good friends to arrive. Teflon would be joining me to the Canadian border. We had planned to meet up for this trip many weeks and months earlier. For those that have read my PCT hike will remember Teflon, we hiked about 1000 miles together. My other hiking partner Bubbles is hiking across the country west to east. We met in Colorado and have been in contact ever since. We have become more than good friends during that time. Did I mention I have a girlfriend.

The night before the hike we went to the end of season hikers party put on by the CDT Montana. Many hikers were there, some I hadn’t seen in a long time, including Thermometer who finished the trail the day before, he is the first South Korean to hike the triple crown which is the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail.

A big thank you to Ross who sent me Tim Tams all the way from New Zealand.

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20 Responses

  1. Margaret Buckles

    It is hard to imagine a wind that could blow you away. Good idea to get out of that kind of wind. Hike smart and wise and stop losing gear……………..that you might need.

  2. Jayne

    Ok. Confusion here. bubbles is the unitethejourney hiker, right? Your new “closer than a friend” friend? Good to see she has shirts for you. ;)). Maybe you can both put your feet into the Atlantic together when she reaches her finish line. At any rate, good story, keep safe.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Yes Bubbles is Angela from Unite the Journey, all going to plan we will both put our feet in the Atlantic

  3. mjirving

    Craziness. Sounds like some quality type-2 fun. Good to see Teflon again as we had totally coincidentally met again at Mt Hood earlier this summer. And thanks for the news on Thermometer who I met the same day I met you on the PCT.


    • BikeHikeSafari

      She mentioned your meeting on the pct, good luck with the rest of the hiking season, what’s left of it

  4. Lou Catozzi

    The CDT just keeps throwing things at you, doesn’t it? Embrace the brutality, indeed!

  5. sgmdwk

    Good decision. Too many tragedies in the back country because people don’t listen to that inner voice that says it is time to turn around.

  6. ThierryB

    Some months ago a hiker has been found dead on Te Araroa. Neespapers said he was blown off the trail by strong winds and fell a small cliff.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Thanks Peggy, not many people think that it can happen to them, strong wind is brutal


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