Monday, August 22, 2022

Day 135: Back on the Red-Line CDT!

September 2: During the night, it became surprisingly cold and I laid in my sleeping bag, reluctant to start the day. I wound up not getting on the trail and hiking until about 7:40am. Definitely a lazy start to the day!

The day's hike was largely uneventful. The biggest excitement for me was that I finally reconnected with the main, red-line CDT! I was back in Guthook territory! It took me 11 days (with no zero days!), but the Super Butte Cutoff was finally over!

The morning was cold enough to form some frost on this boardwalk.

Much of the day followed gravel roads. There was some real trail in the morning--a continuation from the trail I had reached last night--but it didn't last long. I reached a trailhead and continued the rest of the day mostly along gravel roads, but fortunately they weren't particularly busy or problematic.

The route took me under I-15, which if I had still planned to go into Butte, I would have tried to hitch a ride south into town. As the weather was great, however, and I was able to resupply in Whitehall, I pushed onward. My days of good weather were numbered. I couldn't be wasting them by goofing around in town for no good reason.

I passed under Interstate 15, which if I wanted to go into Butte, this would have been a good place to get a ride into town since it headed due south into the city. (Not on the FedEx truck, however, since that was heading north.)

Sometimes during the day, I noticed smoke drifting through parts of the sky. It wasn't very bad, but it was still there. Late in the day, I noticed what appeared to be a couple of slash piles that had been burned recently, and I wondered if it was connected with the smoke in parts of the sky. Coincidence? On the other hand, I was a little surprised that they'd be burning slash piles at all with wildfires burning out of control not far away. Did they have time for that?  Maybe the sites I saw weren't slash piles--just small fires that had been extinguished? I couldn't really know for sure. If it was a slash pile, the evidence had burned!

I passed a few of these small burned areas, but they were so small and limited in size, it made me think that they burned a slash pile and it wasn't just an out-of-control wildfire.

I wasn't on the red-line for long, however, before I took a small alternate that led toward the Lowland Creek Campground--which, according to Guthook, had toilets and a water pump. It was really the water I wanted, but I was happy to use the toilets while in the area. As an added perk, the route was 1.8 miles shorter than taking the red-line the whole way then walking off trail to the campground.

The water was definitely a necessity, however, since it was the last reliable water that I knew about for nearly 20 miles. I wouldn't have access to water again for nearly 24 hours! So I definitely needed to fill up.

Water at the Lowland CG came from this pump. =)

It was tempting to stop at the campground for the night. It was already late in the day when I arrived, and I had already completed over 20 miles when I reached it. The small fee for the night wasn't a hardship, but the weather was still excellent and I was in a good mood and wanted to keep going while the weather was so pleasant. I did stop to cook dinner at a picnic table near the water pump--use and abuse the water while I could!

After dinner, I pushed onward another 40 minutes--about 2 miles--near where the alternate route I was following reconnected with the red-line CDT once again.

Somewhere along this stretch, I realized that I had no topo maps to follow! The Azena maps I had downloaded weren't working for some reason, and since I entered a new state since I last used Guthook, I  had apparently forgotten to update my settings to download the topo maps for Montana. So I had neither the Azena maps that I had been using for the Super Butte Cutoff nor the topo maps on Guthook. Hiking a trail without topo maps is like hiking naked. It made me feel very exposed!

As soon as I could find a strong enough cell phone signal, perhaps I could download a topo map. Until then, however, I'd have to live without it. =(




Well, that's a trail I hadn't heard of before....

Some of the clouds looked colored with smoke, but where was it coming from?!

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