Walking the Divide
Since leaving Lincoln Montana we have pretty much been hiking along the Continental Divide. The mountains have transitioned from the rugged peaks that bring such beauty to Glacier National Park, to more rolling sometimes meadow covered hills. While they might look a bit more friendly and easy, following along the divide has proven to be quite the work out for me this last week.
As you can well imagine, being on top of the divide has provided us with some stunning views this last week. That is one of the greatest parts about being on top of the divide, is being able to see behind and ahead of us a whole days walk. To see where you have been, and where you are going is a powerful metaphor for life. The more aware you are, the more you are able to read the landscape that you have been through, and where you will be traveling next.
We have also entered logging country. In these areas the trail sometimes travels along dirt logging roads as an efficient and cost effective means of traveling along the divide. Eventually the CDT may be made up of all trail as the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trails are, but for now it is a route that sometimes travels along roads. Some of the ridge top roads are blessed with breath taking views, and are more enjoyable than the new trail that they have been building down through the forests in these areas the last couple of years. While trail is always an enjoyable path to walk upon, I have to say that some dirt roads are truly a lovely experience.
Moulding the Body
With constantly climbing up and down while hiking along the rolling ridgeline of the divide, our legs have started to form into the efficient muscle powered machines that propell us along our long distance hikes. Just when I start to think that my body is getting into shape, we are presented with another stretch of trail that offers just slighly different terrain to build up another set of muscles. Some days are just plain painful as the body lets you know when you are pushing its limits. Thankfully most of my aches and pains have been mild enough that a nights rest is enough for my body to reset itself just enough to do another 25 mile day.
My body proved to me just how strong is has become in these three weeks of hiking as we did our hike into Anaconda. We took a route called the Anaconda cutoff. It includes a good section of road walking. Our intention was to hike a 25 mile day that started with 10 miles along the divide, and then another 15 miles dropping off the divide road walking towards town. We would then camp and finish off the remaining 10 miles in the morning when the heat was much more manageable. Well as it turned out, when we got to the point we were intending to camp, it was all private land. With no other option we decided to push on toward town. We were now in the valley, where the temperature was in the 90's. With the last 10 miles in sight, I was growing tired of the road walking, and wanted to get into town as soon as possible, so I decided to see just what my body could do. I pushed my speed up, and for 5 to 6 of those miles I was able to keep the pace at 4 mph. We were able to make it into town by 8:30pm, and after a 35 mile day we gratefully settled into a comfortable hotel room for two nights of rest.
I look forward to the opportunity to have more of these moments of slipping into the flow and allowing the body to express itself through the pure expression of being in optimum shape.
Doing a long distance hike makes you appreciate the simple things in life. This is one of the most powerful blessings that come from such an experience. When we come into towns along our journey to resupply, we enjoy fully absorbing all that they have to offer. The simple joy of sleeping in a bed and watching televsion while in a hotel. Or inhaling as many calories as possible in the form of yummy foods such as ice cream and pizza! It is so very valuable to have the opportunity to appreciate all the comforts that we have in our lives. The fact that it takes me a whole day to hike 30 miles, but that same distance can quickly be covered in half an hour by car. This makes me deeply appreciate the amazing machines that cars are, and how much they do for us each and every day.
Our day off in Anaconda Montana was filled with relaxation, good food, and the kindness of others. I will talk about Trail Angels and Trail Magic in one of my next updates!
Follow along as I share highlights of the adventures that bring me such joy in life, and the wisdom they have imbued into my being.
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