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Begins: Apr 24, 2012
Date: Sun, Oct 7th, 2012
Trip Distance: 2,306.8
Entry Visits: 868
Journal Visits: 53,285
Guestbook Views: 11,471
Guestbook Entrys: 168
Hiking through Glacier was spectacular - it was the crowning jewel at the end of a long journey. We stayed on our planned and permitted route through the park until Many Glacier where the snow finally caught up to us. It started snowing just as we set up our tents and continued through the night. I woke up several times in the night to clean off my tent , which was sagging under the weight of wet snow. By morning there was about 8" of snow all around with drifts to a couple of feet in places. Most everything I had remained dry but my tent was soaked by the time I got it packed. After a look at the map and discussing trail conditions with a park ranger, Trooper and I decided to hike down the road a bit and evaluate the trail at the next junction. It became clear to us that taking the road was safer and might actually get us to the border by day's end if we pushed hard. We headed down the road toward Babb and through a spectacular snow covered landscape.
After stopping for a quick snack at Thronson's General Store in Babb, a true throwback in time where cans are still stacked on shelves behind the counter, we pressed on to the border at Port of Piegan. Along the way a couple of border patrol agents stopped to inquire where we were headed. Their green stripped, white SUVs were familiar to us even though we hadn't seen them since Lordsburg, NM. All of the border patrol agents that we encountered on the entire trip were courteous and helpful with information. I wish I could say the same about our US Customs agents, who were less than courteous or welcoming when we stopped in to let them know we were going to walk up to, but not cross, the border. We hope they are a bit more friendly to folks visiting the US.
After a few photos at the border and a feeling of disbelief that we were actually there, the task became getting back to Babb and with any luck all the way back to East Glacier before dark. We caught a hitch fairly quickly back to Babb where checking into the small hotel at Thronson's was an option if we couldn't get a hitch the fifty miles to East Glacier. Just as we were about to give up and go into the store to warm up, a car pulled over to give us a ride.
Alfred was headed all the way to East Glacier and the ride with him was a warm welcome back to the 'real world'. He was a native American Indian who grew up in East Glacier and now teaches Native American Art at a college in Canada. He was headed down to visit with family. Alfred pointed out things along the way that he had seen change since childhood as well geographic features of interest as the sun set over Glacier. I truly got a feeling that Alfred understood the experience we'd just completed when he mentioned that he could see we had 'quiet spirits' after being with nature for so long. I silently hoped that I would be able to keep my spirit quiet even after getting settled back into a 'normal' lifestyle. After bidding a warm farewell to Alfred we got a room in East Glacier and headed over to the Two Medicine Grill for a hot meal.
By Thursday night Trooper was on a train to Spokane to catch a flight back home to San Diego. Friday morning I picked up a one-way rental car and headed for Casper, WY, where Christine and my car are. It felt like a time machine as I unwound 6 weeks worth of walking in a quick 12 hour drive. Christine's smile was a welcome sight as it began to sink in that the hike was complete. A trip to the barber shop, at Christine's strong urging, seemed like an appropriate final page to the chapter.
I could wax poetically and ad nauseam about the experiences along the way but I'll save that until I see you in person :-) I'll simply say that the experience was everything I imagined and more while at the same time being quite different than I imagined. I'll savor and always treasure the images, memories and new friends gathered along the way. I sincerely thank you all for your support and encouragement. My best to you always.
Signing off until the next adventure...
Dodger (aka Nimbus , NimbusDodger, Dan)
Continental Divide Trail - 2012
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: www.continentaldividetrail.org
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