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Snorkel - Continental Divide Trail Journal - 2010

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Begins: Jun 25, 2010
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Jul 28th, 2010
Start: Black Mountain
End: Helena, MT
Daily Distance: 21
Trip Distance: 112.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 339
Journal Visits: 5,049
Guestbook Views: 159
Guestbook Entrys: 0

Gear list

Continental Divide Trail Map

Private land gets in the way of thru-hiking again!

Just made Helena, MT through the mist and fog. It was so foggy, we couldn't see 30 feet ahead, and the GPS was so useful in finding our much needed water source for the day. We opted to take the alternate into MacDonald Pass to cut off 6 miles, and followed the GPS again along these roads.

When we got to 5 way intersection, we found major construction and a dumptruck filled with soil and rocks were coming at us. Using advice on Jley's map at the GPS, we quickly chose a direction and started walking through the rain uphill. When we got 3 miles down the road, looking to our right for a turn and finding nothing, we saw a sign and a road on our left. I checked my GPS, and realized we were a mile passed another junction we needed to turn at. "We might as well have taken the official route!" Frogs noted. When we got to the junction, though, we realized there had been no junction. There was a barbed wire fence and "No Trespassing" sign and an overgrown former road. We had to go all the way back to the junction! At the junction, I put up cairns for northbounders and our friend Pi, who is southbounding and behind us. Navigation has been a big problem for us.We gingerly walked around the giant dump truck and on new tread. On our left, brand new barbed wire and signs every 100 yards that read "Jim no longer owns this ranch. Please respect my privacy. No trespassing, fishing, hunting, ATV riding." According to my GPS, whomever recently bought the ranch was having the whole Forest Service road relocated.

On our long roadwalk, a truck pulled up and offered us water--much needed in the dry section--despite the constant rain all day--the creeks that existed were polluted with cow. These friendly fisherlocals asked us of our trip and told us of their experiences in the area. One man had been fishing in the area since he was 5, and was distraught about the closing of the ranch to fishing with the new ownership.

When we made it to MacDonald Pass at 6 (a respectable time), cars zoomed passed us at 70 mph. We tried to hitch at the top of the hill when they were going by the slowest before the quick downgrade. We were barely visible in the deep fog and mist. I watched 50 cars go by and began to wonder whether we would have to camp on the road, when a Belgian family vacationing pulled over. We chatted a bit, though their English wasn't the best. "We have read hitchhiking is very dangerous in this country. And dangerous for us to pick up people as well. But we hitched all over Europe when we were younger. It is ok."

We are so lucky for Europeans!

Entry 10 of 11
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Snorkel's CDT 2010

The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more:


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