Snowy Summits and Sweaty Days
Signs of yet another sunny day made waking up at our usual 6 am that much more enjoyable. We had our usual breakfast of granola and *new addition* HOT coffee! Thanks to the wonders of a jetboil. The trail continued up Hay Creek road and we ran into a trail maintenance crew having breakfast up the way. Thus far, the trail has been incredibly maintained and it is nice not to have to deal with blow downs and overgrown paths. After we left the maintenance crew, we climbed over a small, yet lovely saddle with patchy snow and cool morning sunlight making its ways through the trees. We then descended for a small road walk and up into the mountains again for some of the most breath-taking views I've ever experience as a through hiker. (-Kate) We could see for miles in any direction and our day was filled with bits of snow scramble, intense climbs and yet all the rewarding views we could have asked for.
Thanks to the snowpack, we didn't have to worry about water as much during this "14 miles without water" stretch, as the melting snow gave way to multiple streams. We stopped atop Locke Mt. near a dilapidated cabin before descending into a valley by Blue Sky Creek and running into Nightrider, a fellow PNT hiker. Of course, there was a river crossing right before our campsite- so wet boots in the AM.
The morning of the 4th was probably our coldest this far, but the cold didn't last for long as we headed out of the valley and uphill on a dirt road walk. We passed Nightrider in our travels, but she keeps pretty long days and we believe is ahead at this point. The trail headed up TR 77 (TR = trail, they're not very creative in their names) for a bit amongst tree-lined paths and eventually up into the mountains surrounding the Theiralt Lakes region. Here we had stunning views of Stahl Peak, which is home to a light-house-esk cabin, which stands atop a peak that harkens the likeness of a Dalton Ghetti sculpture of where one might find Feona in Shrek.
We wound around a bowl-like ridge that looks down upon the lakes and dealt once again with patchy-snow. During lunch we were passed by two local hikers who told us that due to the high temperatures, the snow was melting at a rate of 4 inches per day! We decided to end our day up high in hopes of catching sight of fireworks below. (no luck/I fell asleep) and melted snow in our Jetboils to cook dinner. All-in-all another great day.
The sun reached us first in the morning and while we were able to don shorts and T-shirt, we spent much of our morning hiking through frozen snow mounds and making extra efforts to stay on the hidden trail. We had views of the still frozen Blue Bird Lake before finally heading down to warmer weather- much warmer. The trail led through a series of LONG switch backs and we even ran into the Canadian border! Of course we stood between both countries at once, as a clear line through the trees headed off in both directions.
Spirits high and a room booked at the Silverador Motel in Eureka, MT, we pressed on through the 90 degree road walk down a highway into town. We stopped for a 6 pack, and heading up to enjoy much needed showers and get our laundry done. We had a lovely dinner at a hopping local spot before hitting the hay.
Unnamed Lake in Theiralt Lakes region- we called it Lake Sandmaid. A combination of our trail names.
Decided to catch myself on my trekking poles.. with my mouth! Still have all my teeth
Can't take credit for this, but someone knew how to celebrate mile 100!
Beer not bears. My new saying
US...................................................................CANADA! (very well controlled- we were stopped twice!)
Just like Mandy Moore- I'm in two places at once! A Walk to Remember.. (90's reference)