[cdt-l] Southbound: Report from Butte

aandg at telusplanet.net aandg at telusplanet.net
Thu Jul 13 18:10:48 CDT 2006

We reached Interstate 90 at Homestake Pass (8 miles east of Butte) at 6:45 pm 
last night and soon we were in a truck heading for town and in an hour we were 
eating supper in a 4Bs diner. We stayed in the Super 8 last night as Gail's 
back is a bit sore. We'll stay here tonight (13th) also.
The last 5 days (90 miles) from MacDonald Pass west of Helena have not been 
the best of the trip. Blackflies have been a nuisance in the day and 2 nights 
ago we had the company of a lot of mosquitoes. 
3 days ago we were hit by a hailstorm and the 1/2 inch diameter stuff was 
painful on the head even when covered with hat and hood and under the trees.
Weather has been hot with afternoon cloud and thunderstorms. Yesterday 
afternoon it rained most of the time so it was cooler and we did not have to 
carry water. Still, it's better here than in an office!

Note: We found some tentpoles just south of Leadville 3 days ago and I carried 
them here. If any SB hiker dropped them please email me soon otherwise I'll 
give them to the Ward's Store near here.

Adding earlier reports that failed to post due to the outage of the list:

Report Lincoln to Helena 
July 7th: We are in the "Queen City" of Montana alias Helena where it is hot - 
31C today 
and forecast to be 33C tomorrow. We're here to get food and mail some excess 
stuff home. Today we had a very good $6.50 Chinese buffet for lunch. 
I've just bought food for the next 5/6 days (90 miles) jaunt to Butte. We 
expect to leave here tomorrow morning and head for the cooler areas of the 
Divide. However it was very hot work for the last 5 miles on the trail coming 
into MacDonald Pass 14 miles west of Helena on Thursday afternoon.
We had a very fine high camp right on the divide (about 3 miles north of 
Nevada Mountain) on Tuesday night with a very fine sunset and sunrise. Also 
4th July fireworks visible and occasionally audible on the plains 3000' below 
to the east.  The next section to Butte does not follow the Divide so closely 
so From the maps it does not look like a 
particularly interesting section. Looking forward to the Pintler Mountains SW 
of Butte. 

Report from Lincoln, Montana 2nd July

We arrived in Lincoln, Montana at around 1pm yesterday and the place was 
packed - we'd just missed the parade for Lewis and Clark Days. We did manage 
find a spare corner in the Hooper Campground for the tent. Did the laundry 
had excellent burgers and shakes at Shake 'n Burger across from the 
We then bought groceries for the next 4 days to Helena/Elliston and took a 
gallon of ice cream back to camp to eat there. 4 other hikers arrived around 
6pm and more expected today. Today having a rest day.

June 20th: After another omelette at Two Medicine Diner we were back on the 
trail. Not a very interesting trek to Marias Pass. Met 3 Canadian cyclists at 
the pass on a week cycle tour. Camped about a mile after the pass. No rain!
June 21st: Took the low level route with the numerous river crossings none of 
which were challenging. Plenty of water on trail as well. We did 19.5 miles in 
very fine weather to camp on the pass between the Badger and Elbow.
June 22nd: Another fine day and we hiked over Badger Pass down Strawberry 
to near the Gateway junction. Very wet trail in places. 17.7 miles.
June 23rd: We took the alternate route to Switchback pass - used the axe a bit 
on a snowfield on the ascent. This is a marvellous place. We camped just above 
the pass and I went up Kevan Mountain after supper. The highlight of this 
section! 15.1 miles.
June 24th: We then returned to the official route down snowy slopes. But fine 
glacier lilies and we were not the first to make this dec\scent this year - a 
griz had been down a day earlier. Scenic day but seemed a long 11 miles to 
where we camped at the head of Read Shale Creek. Good firm snow in places on 
north slopes. Lake Levale a very worthwhile detour.
June 25th: Hot descent through the burned area of Red Shale Creek and a lot of 
deadfall across trail. On way up Rock Creek saw a goat on the trail then a 
black bear coming the other way. Both hikers and bear left the trail - we 
waited until we heard it in the bush then returned to the trail. We then went 
on to camp by My Lake and its larches and glacier lilies. Still a lot of snow 
around here. 19.2 miles.
June 26th: Took a worthwhile side trip up to Larch Hill Pass - excellent view 
north and south from just above pass. Snow on north slopes along the ups and 
downs by the Chinese Wall. Down to the Ahern Creek jct to camp. 14.1 miles.
June 27th: Took the alternate route up Ahern Creak to Hoadley Creek. No snow 
trail. A little used route but a fine pass. 3 hours of thunderstorms in the 
evening along South Fork of Sun River. 15 miles.
June 28th: Over Elbow pass - still 1/3" diameter hail on the ground from last 
night. Good trail up Straight Creek. Camped by Dearborn River at Lost Cabin 
Creek. 17 miles.
June 29th: Up Blacktail trail then over to South side of the Monitor. Stopped 
early rather than do next section in rain. 13.7 miles.
June 30th: A lot of ups and downs (maybe 4000') as we are finally hiking on 
divide. Misty at first then cleared. Very fine flower meadows. No snow. Camped 
part way up north side of Green Mt with excellent views. 14.3 miles.
July 1st: The final 6.9 miles to Rogers Pass. Not much actual trail here but 
easy route finding. Got hitch for 18 miles into town within 15 minutes.

The first 7 days in Glacier National Park were generally wet with snow on the 
passes. One bridge was not in place and we could not cross the river due to 
the past 2 days rain so we had to bushwhack a lot to take another route.


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