This marked the start of one of the longest stretches without any chance to get more food aproximately 155 miles from East Glacier to Benchmark Wilderness Ranch (and then a 30 mile hitch into Augusta). So this meant carrying 10 days(about 20 pounds) worth of food in addition to my gear and water. The first night trying to hang my food I broke several tree branches and eventually decided just to sleep with my food which is what I have done most nights. This section was also where I started feeling a lot more alone on the trail as for the most part it was only other CDT hikers out there and no day hikers. Generally speaking through this section to Benchmark I would see about people only every 24-36 hours usually as they would pass me.
The start of this section was relatively flat, I choose to do an alternate that stuck with the river and crossed it about 16 times so my feet were getting wet a lot but I was atleast still going. This also marked the start of my thoughts about quitting. The second night the fact I was alone hit me and I was thinking of home, some warm food, and a real bed. Of course I expected to have these thoughts and I'm glad it came during this stretch were I had no bail options. I twas either hike on or hike a few days back the way I came so of course I kept going. A few days into the this I ran into two NoBo turned SoBo hikers(flippers) Tails and Chaps along with their dog Skeeter. We camped together but quickly separated the next morning as their pace was considerably faster than mine. Around this point I took a large alternate called the Spotter Bear Alternate which runs more direct than the offical round and cuts out about 20miles however it starts and ends with a couple mountain passes ending the flatter section near the river I had chosen to take. Talking to other hikers I have not run into anyone who did the longer option here so I was in good company taking this route.
During the first pass I ran into a group of hikers(five of them!) when we stopped for lunch at the beautiful Dean Lake which was located about 3/4 the way up the pass into the Spotted Bear route.
After splitting up after lunch we all met again at the Pentagon Creek ranger station where we all camped. Talking about camping here the excitment was not around the fact there was actually decent tent-sites at the ranger station but the fact there was an out-house which meant a 'real' toilet which it seems everyone was excited about.
The next morning by the time I got started everyone was gone except Hikerbox and HeartBreaker (who left shortly after) and I was alone again occasionally running into other hikers as they would pass me and this disappear beyond the next corner until the day I hit Benchmark that day I ran into numerous day-hikers and a couple fishermen. I also ran into the couple other SoBo hikers I met on day two just outside of Benchmark turns out they took my campsite at Reynolds in Glacier after I couldn't make it and then I passed them during my road-walking period.
We made it to the Benchmark trailhead around the same time and the ride I hitched to Augusta carried them to the actual ranch while I got to enjoy a hot and dusty ride down the 30 mile dirst road to augusta in the back of a truck.
It was in Augusta I enjoyed their rodeo and a couple zero days hanging out with Tails, Chaps and their dog who were also resting in Augusta. They left the day prior to and were a day ahead of me until Lincoln, MT.
After the couple zero days in Augusta I hit the trail and had a hard time getting back into it, it was hot and hard. The climbs started getting more difficult ended with a couple rollercoaster days walking along the actual divide for the first time. Previously I'd do a pass then be flat for awhile but the last few days have had temperatues around 90-100 and several climbs in a day the harested of which were the two days prior to Lincoln. It started with a 2000 foot climb, then about 1800 feet of climbed split over 5 hills(plus various little climbs of 100 or less feet) and as it was along the proper divide water was rare. I tanked up at a small lake then went on for about 11miles in the heat and did the 1800ish feet on the water I grabbed then. Ultimately that was a rough day with me not making camp until it was nearly dark...then I did it again with many ups and downs with around 2000 feet of elevation gain to reach Rogers Pass and hitch a ride into Lincoln where I'm at now. During these days I found my self encountering a couple other section hikers who did the CDT 10 years ago and were doing it again. We had a similar pace to I ran into them a couple times and now are staying at the same hotel and planning to hike to Helena roughly together. The next section follows the divide and is a rollercoast again so we will be hiking from water source to water source averaging around 15 or so miles a day as water is about that far apart.
So to sum it all up, its been hard but I'm still going at it. I've thought about quitting especially during some of these climbs but why would I give up this awesome adventure just because its a little difficult the views especially these last few days have been exceptional.
I also got to hit Lincoln up ust in time for the July 4th fireworks and to see planty of other hikers who went in for that...including Tails and Chaps again who I thought would have been in Helena already. One thing I must say is all of the hikers I have met have been very friendly and just generally awesome people. Tails and Chaps were fun to hang out with as I spent awhile with them in Augusta but scallywag who I met during a climb as he passed me and we snacked at the top for a bit, then met up in Lincoln seemed cool as did darkness, veggie, ED, and scout who I met briefly. Thruhikers just seem like greatpeople and its been great to meet them so if you guys read this, thanks for making my day!