[cdt-l] Southbound: Butte to Lima

aandg at telusplanet.net aandg at telusplanet.net
Wed Aug 9 23:23:21 CDT 2006

Hello all

It's been about 3 weeks since I last reported our progress. We've hiked about 
390 miles and done around 52,000 feet of ascent and descent to get to Lima 
(pronounced Lie-ma) on Interstate 15. For you metric folk multiply 390 by 1.6 
to get km and divide 52,000 by 3.25 to get metres!
I did the 2 day 35 mile section between Homestake Pass (on I90 east of Butte) 
and the Divide on I15 SSW of Butte while Gail stayed in the KOA in Butte 
We both left Butte on July 18th and were driven to the Divide SSW of Butte 
thanks to Jeff Braun. We had the usual big (3000') climb out of town with a 8 
day load of food. The first 2 days were mainly in trees but we did get some 
good views and there were some fine flower meadows. The last part of the 2nd 
day was rather frustrating as we were in Cattle country and the trail was very 
ill defined. We also ended up looking for water and eventually found a stagnant 
pond to use as our supply. I made a fire and we really boiled the water before 
cooking with it. No ill effects.
That low point was followed by a great day on 20th when we entered the Anaconda 
Pintler Wilderness. We had a fine lunch and swim in Upper Seymour Lake and then 
had a fine camp at Goat Flat at 9200' in the larch country.
 On the 21st I did a side trip up a 10300' peak for 3 hours and we enjoyed this 
fine area of peaks with larches at the 9000' level. We'll be back in late 
september some year.
On the 22nd I swam in 3 different lakes and we enjoyed more of this wilderness 
The 23rd and 24th were more mundane following the Divide in often treed 
On the 25th we hitched 25 miles into the small town of Wisdom to get more 
supplies. The weather for most of July has been much warmer than normal which 
means HOT! The blackflies have been out in abundance and they seem to thrive on 
hot sun and wind unlike mosquitoes. In Wisdom we did laundry had a great burger 
for lunch and a large pizza for supper.
On 26th we hitched back to the trail and headed on South. Often on Divide in 
trees but some great views.
On 27th we did 20 miles to cover 11 on the trail as the trail was closed due to 
fire. We'd luckily found out about this in Wisdom. Many mosquitoes for company 
at night.  
28th - 31st the weather continued hot. We had some lake swims and enjoyed some 
fine views and flower meadows between sections below treeline.  
1st - 2nd August - weather cooling thankfully and so less bugs. We followed the 
divide with open views much of the time. On 2nd we hitched the 13 miles from 
7300' Bannock Pass down to Leadore, Idaho at around 4500'. We got a ride with a 
889 year old guy who was born in Leadore so we got some history of the area. No 
laundry but 2 stores 2 restaurant/bars and a campground with a shower. We 
bought supplies for the 105 mile section to Lima then rested in the afternoon.
3rd - 8th August: This section has been very viewful as lower treeline has been 
rising fast and there is only a narrow band of trees. We've had some fine high 
camps with great sunsets and sunrises. I've climbed a couple more peaks, one an 
11000' peak which I did as an alternate route. Most of the trail in this 
section was in the 8500' - 9500' elevation range. Thunder clouds built up most 
days by around 1pm but we've been lucky to avoid any siginificant precipitation 
but have had breaks to avoid being under them in exposed locations. Some of the 
rain fell as Virga. 
Last night we camped right by I15 which was not great. We got a ride for the 16 
miles into Lima this morning. A large breakfast at Jan's cafe tomorrow morning 
will set us up for the next 6 day stage to West Yellowstone. 

We anticipate continuing on the trail to Steamboat Springs Colorado by mid 
September. We'll have to see what the weather does then - when there's a major 
snowfall we'll likely skip south to New Mexico and hope the July/August 
monsoons have replenished the springs. We expect we'll get snow in the Wind 
River Range in Wyoming where the trail goes up to 11,500'.

Alistair & Gail  

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