Monday, September 19, 2022

Day 147: Slowing down....

September 14: I woke up to a bitterly cold morning. Really cold! Just another reminder that the seasons were changing, and that I really needed to get this trail done. Being such a cold morning, I did not want to get out of my sleeping bag. 


Then I started doing some math in my head. Today was Tuesday, and my original plan had been to get into East Glacier on Sunday. A few days ago, I had managed to call the post office in Butte and had my laptop forwarded to myself in East Glacier. It's a small post office in a small town that wasn't open on Saturday or Sunday, which meant I couldn't pick it up until Monday. And I was making much better time than I had expected. At the pace I was going, I could actually get into town on Friday, but there was little hope that I'd arrive before the post office closed for the day. That would force me to take a double zero day and for what? Just to leave on Monday after picking up my package? A double zero seemed kind of pointless, so I decided that I could just slow down and enjoy my time on the trail more by reading books and relaxing. No need to rush! 

I figured just by averaging only 15 miles/day, I could still arrive in town on Saturday and enjoy a zero day on Sunday which--at this point--might be extra nice since bad weather had finally shown up in the long-term weather forecasts. I had had a surprisingly long run of pretty good weather for the past month, but that run was coming to an end.

So I was pondering all the possibilities and given how incredibly cold it was this morning decided to slow down to 15 miles/day. Which meant I could stay in my sleeping bag quite late--which is why I didn't end up ready to hike until about 9:20am.

Even this late in the morning, however, the temperature was still shockingly cold. The vegetation on the overgrown trails was still dripping with rain from yesterday afternoon, and it quickly soaked my legs and feet to the bone. It was ice cold water and pretty miserable.

By about noon, the sun had finally dried off the vegetation and the lower half of my body started warming up again.


Today there was only one big pass, Switchback Pass, I think, but it was a doozy with a 2500-foot climb over the top of the pass. I took my time going up, not in any particular hurry, then started descending the far side.

In the afternoon, I started looking for a place to camp which was a bit of a problem. Much of the area I was then hiking through had burned, and every hiker knows that camping in burn areas can be dangerous since dead, standing trees often fall and will kill anyone unfortunate enough to be camped under it.

So I tried looking for a place outside of the burn area, eventually settling for a grassy location a bit off trail. The part I did not like about the location, however, was that it was in front of a large mountain so I wound up being in the shadow of the mountain a full three hours before sunset was expected, which meant it was unpleasantly dark and cold all evening.

In any case, I wound up setting up camp after completing about 15 miles for the day--my new schedule to arrive into East Glacier on Saturday--and despite my very late start in the morning, I was still done by 5:00pm. Plenty of time to relax and read a book!

I went ahead and set up my tarp. The sky was clear, but given how cold it was getting, I was afraid the condensation might be pretty bad, so the tarp was meant to protect me from that. And if it keeps me a couple of degrees warmer as well, even better! =)

This cabin was locked up tight when I went by.

After drying out from the wet vegetation in the morning, I decided to ford a creek in my Crocs and keep my shoes dry. I had been tired of walking in wet shoes and refused to do it anymore today!


Anonymous said...

I hear about thru-hikers who after completing a trail have lost a ton of weight. Now that you've done so many, does this still happen to you? Or have you found a solution -- your body's metabolism adjusted, you forced yourself to eat more, you discovered more caloric dense foods, etc?

ArtGekko said...

I love the beargrass photos! My one and only time to Glacier NP was Sept 2019, totally fell in love with the area and that particular plant. Can't wait to see your photos of it all!

Ryan said...

I still lose a ton of weight on my hikes, but not as much as my earliest hikes. I'm not sure if I'm just better at eating or if I'm just older and don't lose weight as easily. ;o)