CDT Day 159 Dangerous Snow covered Trail

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24th September

13.2 miles

Two Medicine (2581.7) to Morning Star Lake (2594.9)

Finally back on trail. Nothing like a few days of boredom and binge Game of Thrones watching to crank up the enthusiasm for hiking. I’m going to Canada, it’s finally going to happen. The good weather window is here, so says the weather forecast.

It was 10am when Bubbles and I set off on the trail. We took the Dawson Pass alternate, slightly longer but more scenic section. The trail followed Two Medicine Lake for several miles before climbing to the pass. On route we sampled the last few Huckleberries of the season. Those most delicious of red berries.

As we approached the top of Dawson Pass a lone Bighorn Sheep hiked up the trail with us. Then light snow started to fall. It was cold and the trail was a whiteout.

The trail traverses the slope. At first it was easy and scenic. Small patches of snow turned into big patches of snow which turned into, snow hiking. The further we went the harder the hiking became. Hiking on a 45 degree slope, covered in snow, with lots of exposure is not my idea of grand hiking. Bubbles was of the same opinion. She was genuinely scared. I did my best to allay her fears. I kicked steps into the snow when needed. I tried not to look down. It was a long way to fall. This was hard hiking in these conditions and I was taking Bubbles on this trail. Her first real overnight backcountry hiking trip.

We made it through the snow to lower and safer altitudes. Nerves were a little frayed but we were still quite positive about our journey. Had I known the trail would have been so dangerous I would not have taken it. I’d have planned another safer route. Even so, it was stunningly beautiful. This place is unique.

We descended past several bright blue lakes to our camp for the night at Morning Star Lake. We shared our camp with an off duty ranger and his partner. What do rangers do on their time off? Go hiking in the backcountry.

Next – Day 160 Triple Divide Pass

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Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
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  1. Beautiful photos, as always! Please tell your girlfriend I would love to know her secret for staying so beautiful while hiking. I never look quite that glamorous, especially if I was trying to keep myself from sliding off a dangerous, snow-covered trail on the side of a steep mountain. I admire her already! I hope the cold isn’t too unbearable, but to me it looks freezing. How are your feet doing these days?

    1. Thanks Heather, the feet are doing better. I asked her how she stays so beautiful, her comments, “its more like a Monet, from afar it looks good but up close it’s a mess”. Her words not mine! :)

  2. I really don’t know how you handle the cold, thats the one thing that freaks me out about hiking outside Australia, the cold I just cant handle it! Winter in Sydney is bad enough. How is the plantar going hoped you used your rest days to walk around barefoot as much as possible and stretch.

    1. I hear ya. I’m from Darwin, I dislike the cold. The PF is manageable but not disappeared. The rest served me well

  3. Just amazing! So happy you have someone special to share this last part of the trail with in such challenging conditions! You are truly blessed!

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