Day 139: East Glacier Park, MT, 0 miles, ~2,600+ miles total
We are so darn close. But still 110 miles or so from Waterton Lakes and the northern terminus of the CDT.
When we look at the trail on our GPS apps, we can see the rest of our route as a single screen shot. We have less than eight paper maps to go. We get to hike in Glacier National Park. All this has us chomping at the bit.
We also know the forecast for the next week. And that’s what has us trying to be patient.
The next three days call for rain and snow. Highs in the 30s (Fahrenheit) around 3,700 feet; while the trail ranges from 4,200-7,500 feet. Brrrr. As the ranger we talked to this morning said, “terrible and atrocious”. Ugh. Time to hunker down for a few days. Practice our patience.
More confirmation, in case the forecast and the talk of locals isn’t enough encouragement to remain in town: All day long we’ve watched the front of this low pressure system move in. Observing it when we walk the 200 feet or so needed to travel between food, the general store, other hikers and our room.
This morning the mountains-Squaw, Bearhead, Henry and Bison-visible from our motel along Hwy 2 were crystal clear. By mid-morning a few wisps moved in, giving the peaks scarves of cloud. At noon, I no longer needed sunglasses to walk through town. In late afternoon, a cloak of white clouds covered the summits. By evening, the blanket of dark gray clouds lowered to the foothillls. We are aware that tonight we cannot see the moon and it is nearly full.
Confirmation that now is a good time to practice patience. To remember we can’t always hike harder to avoid bad weather. But we have hiked hard to be ready for good weather.
After this little flirt with late fall rain and snow, temps jump to the 60s and 70s! Full sunny days! Chilly nights. Ideal for enjoying the last few days on trail. And an assuring nod from Mother Nature that we’ve had our time to enjoy the Continental Divide this season. It’s nearly time to take a break from hiking.
This has us excited. Releaved. Feeling a bit surreal. Realizing anything can still happen. Somewhat like those heady weeks before graduation from high school and college. Or the start and end of summer vacation. Or even the start of a thru-hike. A full circle of emotions. Anticipation of change.
Being optimistic planners and trying to be productively patient, we took care of logistics today: park permit, train reservations, accomodations in Many Glacier (we’ll be there on my birthday) and Waterton, and the shuttle from Canada back to the US. Tasks to occupy ourselves, but still keep things moving.
Three days of storm oddly have us anxious to keep a moving. Seemingly a long time, equivalent to 60-90 miles. Having walked some 2,600 miles this season, our bodies want rest and comfort, but they are also keenly attuned to the state of flow from steadily walking the trail. It’s what they are best conditioned to do. And in some ways, I don’t think we mentally can let our bodies relax longer than a day, until we reach Canada.
And so tomorrow morning we’ll hike the trail to Two Medicine Ranger Station and pick up our permit. Some 12 miles to keep our feet quelled and make our next full day on trail easier. Then we’ll get out of the wet and take a shuttle back to the comforts of town. Good practice for our non-trail life, in which we mostly hike less than 20-mile days and go home at night.
We chomp on the bit a little. But we are mindful to be patient. It’s our last week on the CDT.