Simba Hikes the CDT - DISPATCH #1
I’m sitting on a hostel porch in East Glacier sipping coffee and watching tourists speed down the road towards the entrance of GNP with their VW vans, bumper-pull campers, and 1-800-RENTME’s. I’m sure there’s a 50 car lineup at the entrance, but that doesn’t pertain to me. I’m on foot.
It’s begun. On June 24th I started my thruhike on the Continental Divide Trail. I’ve spent the past week weaving my way through the National Park. The trail skirts along-side glacial lakes, then ascends beautiful alpine passes with marmots that try to steal your lunch. One marmot in particular is named Martin, so if you see him, he really likes Kettle Salt & Cracked Pepper chips.. but before I dive into hiking details, let’s rewind a few days and I’ll tell you about our little road trip up here.
We left Ogden in a small rental car and zipped down 24th, grabbed a Wasatch americano, stopped into GEAR:30 for some last minute supplies, and hit I-15 north. I wanted to share my love for the Sawtooths with my friends, so we took the scenic route through Idaho. Surprisingly on June 21st, we drove through a snowstorm on the pass, We grabbed a campsite outside of Stanley and I immediately fell asleep from the long drive.
I woke up to Dreamer sprinting up and down the road due to cold toes from the frost, so to warm our bones we crammed into the hot springs and watched the sunrise.. speechless from the morning fog disappearing as the sun created over the hillside.
We arrived to Glacier that night and set up camp in the rain. Wet, wet, wet. Our alarms were set for 6:30am so we could get our permits.. hopefully.
With fingers crossed, we stood in line for our permits and within 30 minutes we were out of there- permits in hand. Phew!
The next day, Dreamer's friend from the AT picked us up in his sprinter, drove us along the going to the sun road, and dropped us off at Chief Mountain. The trail I have been dreaming of hiking for 4 years now was only steps away.. I touched the monument and started walking south. Go time.
The GNP wilderness is another planet. The mountains and waterfalls trick me into thinking I’m in Jurassic Park or something.. As if any moment a T-Rex will jump out of the trees and scoop me up for for dinner.
We walked along the shoreline of Elizabeth Lake and with the sun in full force, Dreamer decided to jump in.
Each pass I went over was different but equally as beautiful. On my ascent of Piegan Pass, I could see two Grizzlies playing around in a snow field and sliding down on their bellies!
Now that I’m relaxing in East Glacier with Huckleberry pie and coffee, I’m reflecting on the past week and how amazing it’s been. my body is feeling good and my mind is even better. I’m so excited for the rest of the trail! 90 miles down.. 3,000 more miles to go. Next up is a wilderness area named after the three stooges. Bob, Lewis, and Clark... I guess I’ll see how that goes.
Till next time ,
- Cody Lee