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Alistair and Gail
Begins: Jul 3, 2015
Date: Mon, Jun 29th, 2015
Daily Distance: 0
Entry Visits: 1,099
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We plan to thru hike the PNT in 2012 and get copies of the maps and town guide. Then my mother, who was in a nursing home in Britain, seems not to be doing so well so we postpone doing the hike. We visit the UK twice a year to see her until she dies in early 2014. The spring and summer of 2014 are taken up with a further visit to Britain and moving house from Calgary to Coleman so we decide 2015 will be the year for us to hike the PNT. We are not getting any younger (63 and 62) so better to do it now rather than wait until later when we might not be able to do it.
In early 2015 we start planning the hike, looking at the different route alternatives, deciding how many days food we’ll need between resupply points and considering whether to hike west or east. We opt to hike eastbound starting in mid June as then once we get to the east end we can hike the GDT north to within a couple of blocks of our house in Coleman, the first resupply town for northbound GDT hikers.
Then we get an email from friends in New Zealand that they would be coming to Canada and could visit us during the last week of June. We had visited them in 2005 and always hoped they would sometime come to see us. So our start date changes to July 1st. We check the closing date of the border crossings at Goat Haunt and Chief Mountain and find that they both close on 30th September. If we are delayed on an eastbound hike we would not be able to cross the border legally near the end of the trail so we decide to do the hike westbound. The idea of finishing on the coast is appealing and not having to deal with snow in Glacier Park in September are two of the advantages of a westbound hike.
I print off all the maps from PNT website. Only when on the trail do we find out that the other available set is much better. On 7th June I email a reservation request to Glacier National Park for 3 nights in the park starting July 1st. The next day I receive a reservation for our itinerary but starting July 3rd. I had said I was not flexible with the route but was flexible with campsite choice. I check online whether they could have given us something earlier but different sites are full on different days.
In planning the food for the hike we decide that we will home dry some food and prepare packages for Polebridge and for Eureka which is a 1.5 hour drive from home. On 20th June we drive to Eureka and mail a parcel to Polebridge and leave another package at Montana Shipping Company, a company that many Canadians use to receive goods by mail order from companies in the US that will not ship goods to Canada. We then spend the next 3 days backpacking in the Cabinet Mountains near Libby, slightly south of the PNT route.
Although we live only 75 miles from the Chief Mountain trailhead there is no way there by public transport. Also we have to go to Waterton townsite to collect the permit for camping in Glacier Park. Heather volunteers to take us to Waterton on 1st July. Yes, July 2nd would be more suitable but most people work on July 2nd so we accept her kind offer.
Carla and Bill bring Rex and Lynn to us on 27th June. On 28th we take them for a drive over the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. We stop for supper in Eureka and the temperature is 107 degrees F (or 42 degrees C). I hope it’s not that hot when we hike through in a couple of weeks time!
Alistair And Gail On The PNT
The 1200 mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNNST), running from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, ranks among the most scenic trails in the world. This carefully chosen path is high for the views and long on adventure. It includes the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast. The trail crosses 3 National Parks and 7 National Forests. Learn more: www.pnt.org
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