[cdt-l] End of the trail - for now

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 23 11:44:14 CDT 2007

Well, we made it as far as Jasper, which was our original intended 
destination.  We had discussed continuing to Mount Robson (the highest peak 
in the Canadian Rockies, and a gorgeous ending point) but when we got to 
town we agreed - this is it.

Leaving town, the trail follows paved highway for 24 km., then follows a 
trail that has been burned, overgrown and neglected for the next 90 km.  The 
guidebook calls it impassible, though in fact one thruhiker has been through 
this year.

We had planned to follow the North Boundary Trail out of town (more or less 
- there is a 36 km roadwalk/hitch to the trailhead) which would have taken 
us to Mount Robson in about 7 or 8 days.  Unfortunately, they are installing 
a pipeline this year and the road and the trail to Celestine Lake are 
completely closed to all access.  Next year is a different story.

We could access the NBT 100 miles east of here - but we decided there wasn't 
a lot of point.  That wouldn't be a thruhike, just an interesting east west 
traverse of the mountains.  So - that's all she wrote.

Well, actually not.  We will be back another year to hike the trail north of 
here - either the GDT or the North Boundary Trail or both, we'll decide 
later.  Right now we are tired but happy, and ready to be done.  I think the 
cold wet weather we've had lately was a factor in the decision to be done.  
We had to bail out off the Skyline Trail - the highlight of this section - 
when we woke to freezing rain/snow and whiteout conditions - and another 
2000' elevation gain climb from the campground with at least 11 km above 
treeline after that.  Continuing would have been a really dumb move 
considering that we were already cold and wet from 4 days of rain. 
Hypothermia is NOT fun. And the forecast for this weekend is for more rain.  
Enough is enough.

It's been a good trip through some beautiful country.  It's also been a 
learning experience - which is always part of the reason for doing what we 
do.  It's also been some of the hardest hiking we've ever done.

So we'll head south by bus today. Hopefully we'll get to East Glacier 
sometime tomorrow if we can hitch a ride across the border. (Greyhound 
doesn't cross in Montana; we'd have to go either to Vancouver or Winnepeg to 
get across the border by bus or train.)  Then we'll begin a slow leisurely 
tour east through Montana and the Dakotas.  Lots of beautiful country to 
visit as well as a few caves.  We have no schedule and only the sketchiest 
of plans, but we should be back East sometime in mid-September and we'll be 
at the Gathering in PA in October.  After that - who knows?

Walk softly,
Ginny and Jim


A new home for Mom, no cleanup required. All starts here. 

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