WHERE'S PAT???

Follow Pat and Dan's trek along the entire Continental Divide Trail through the blogs posted by Pat's daughter, Erin.  Thanks, Erin!!!  We love following their travels, which are posted with the latest blog up front!

Guest post: A few days on the CDT with my Dad

The "before" picture at Gibbons Pass

 
Guest post:

Erin here! (Pat's daughter)

We just got back from three fabulous days on the Continental Divide Trail. My longtime friend and former college roommate Cassy and I, along with my dog Nelli, joined my Dad over the 4th of July to hike from Gibbons Pass to Big Hole Pass.
 
Cassy among the wildflowers

This section of trail follows part of the divide that makes up the Idaho/Montana border, so we were crossing between Idaho and Montana multiple times a day.

The hike started out with some confusion on my part. I thought we were going from Big Hole Pass near Wisdom to Gibbons Pass, which is near Lost Trail Ski Area. Turns out there are two Big Hole Passes in Montana -- a fact I didn't know until we were about to leave Missoula and head to the trail. I had a moment of panic at having no idea of where we were going, but then I relaxed and it turned out to be a fabulous trip.
 


On our first day, it started to rain and then pour. We put on our rain jackets and kept hiking. Before long the sun came out. With storm clouds up ahead, we decided to stop and set up camp while the sun was still shining. We finished our dinner just in time for the rain to start again. We scurried into our tents and were happy and dry inside when a hail storm hit! At some point in the rainstorm, Dad saw another hiker walk by our camp. We never ran into him, or anyone else, for the rest of our hike.
 
Dad, enjoying a leisurely morning in camp

The next morning, we woke up to blue skies and sunshine. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at camp. Dad has been hiking without a stove, eating cold Mountain House and cold coffee, so I was happy to spoil him a little with hot dinner, hot breakfast and hot coffee.
 
Happy snow dog at about 8,000 ft


We had a beautiful day of hiking. Lots of wildflowers, beautiful weather and even a snowbank where Nelli could cool off.
 
Snack break on a high ridge

The trail was well marked and easy to follow. However, it stuck close to the Continental Divide, which meant that it took us straight up and straight back down some steep hills. The view at the top always made it worth the climb.
 
Camped among the beargrass

Around 4, we set up camp, cooked dinner, and once again made it into our tents before the rain started.
 
Lounging


The next morning was beautiful again. We hiked 3.5 miles to Big Hole Pass, where Uncle Gary picked us up and brought us back to Missoula.
Even through-hikers need cell phones


Somehow a bunch of CDT hikers ended up at Doc Campbell's Post at the same time.  We're all waiting for the store to open. There's WIFI and everyone is hanging out fiddling with their cellphones.  The hikers are very self-sufficient but very hooked on social media!
 
After a 3-hour shuttle ride from Lordsburg, N.M., 10 of us hikers were dropped off at the border with Mexico at the approximate location of the CD.  It was flat and dry with a nondescript barbed wire fence. It's called Crazy Cook (back in a  cattle drive the cook went crazy and killed a cowboy or two.) There's a monument there placed by the CDTC.
 
The border is marked by a simple barbed wire fence and well-maintained dirt road.
 
Day 3.  Still no Border Patrol.   We see them drive by on the highway. We were told that they would probably stop, ask some questions and then offer cold water.   Cold water in the desert would be a treat!
 
 
We'll hike 7 miles Wednesday where Judy will meet us at the highway and take us into Lordsburg for the night.   I'm sure looking forward to that. 
 
 
I have yet to use my tent.  No chance of rain and the stars are spectacular. 
 
Lots and lots of spiny plants in the desert
 

A lot of CDT publications use the phrase 'embrace the brutality. '  Trail humor has modified that to 'embrace the moo-tality.'  Last night there were cows all around,  mooing. 😊

Today's highlight was the CDT taking us up and over Burro Mountain at 8,000 feet.   Fairly steep up and down,  but it sure felt refreshing to breathe cooler,  mountain air.

Burrow Mountain Homestead is very old and enduring.   We're staying in the Roosevelt Room,  named so because Teddy Roosevelt stayed in this room!  Feels good to have a shower,  cook our own meal (they sell frozen pizza,  and we can use the kitchen) and tomorrow I'll make hot coffee and have a hot breakfast.   Then,  on to Silver City for Trail Days and our first zero day.
Day 1 was cool and breezy compared to days 2 and 3.  The scenery is beautiful.   Wide open valleys with rugged mountains lining the valleys.  Every direction I look I can see mountains. Sometimes they are a long way away. 
Cows have eaten the grass and other ground cover leaving behind the most thorny bushes I've ever seen.  Hiking amongst these bushes can be bothersome.