CDT (Continental Divide Trail) Wows Gals as They Hike the Ridges
It was windy; it rained; but it was still a most wonderful hike on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) from Rogers Pass to Alice Creek. We were so lucky to have Gail and Jo Ann willing to shuttle our car on their way to hike Lewis and Clark pass.
We parked at the top of Rogers pass to hit the trail at 8 a.m. under very cloudy skies. As we headed up the trail, we were amazed at the variety of wildflowers: Indian paintbrush, prairie smoke, larkspur, arnica, virgin's bower/clematis were the main ones with the bear grass just starting. We also spied the elusive chocolate lily, although it was starting to fade.
At the top of the pass and at Cadotte pass, we placed stones on the cairns in memory of Chrissie Jackson and Colette Engel, reminding ourselves how lucky we are to be alive and still able to do a hike like this one.
June and Katie conferred with the GPS and maps several times as the trail is a bit unclear in spots; however, the bulldozers had widened the trail as they came in to set a barrier from the wildfires two years ago, so the trail was easier than expected to follow. In addition, we saw pink flags along the route, some with writing such as "pipe here."
We saw another hiker behind us as we trekked across the ridgeline, views in all directions. We expected that he would have caught us but he must have taken a different route or turned around as we didn't see him again.
Then we came upon a hiker going in the opposite direction. He was a CDT hiker, doing the route from Canada to Mexico, not the usual route. He said he didn't have too much trouble crossing the snowfields in Glacier and the Bob. He has camped at Caribou peak the night before.
Along the ridges, the flowers changed. We came across sections filled with bluebells, Yellowstone draba, silky and silverleaf phacelia and forget-me-nots. Others had nothing but biscuitroot or arnica, penstomon, and stickseed. We must have counted over 50 different varieties of wildflowers.
Then it started to rain. We pulled out our rain gear; Judy learned not to trust to the weather predictions, especially looking at a town's forecast when hiking in the mountains.Always bring rain gear on a GiG hike.Luckily, it didn't rain much, just a few sprinkles, but the wind was howling and was a bit cold. Gloves came out.
When we finally reached the top of Green Mountain, most of us were happy to know that the rest of the way was downhill after the 3,000+ feet of gain; however, the downhill coming off Green mountain is quite steep, so our progress was slowed as we watched our step.especially with the wind gusts that were probably about 50 mph. Also, the register at the top of Green Mountain had water in it, so it was ruined and we coudln't sign it; a bit of a disappointment.
After we descended, we had a short jaunt to Lewis and Clark pass. We drank in the history as we thought about the company seeing the same scenery that were were now gazing at. In this area, the burn was more obvious since it had more trees.
As we took the last turn to follow Alice Creek, we came across one more hiker, this one part of a trail crew. He said about 20 people were in the campground, ready to get to work. He was surveying what needed to be done. Now the pink markers made sense. They were for the trail crew. We thanked him over and over for doing this often thankless volunteer work.
When we reached the parking lot, we were relieved to see Susan's car parked and ready for us. Thanks to our fellow GiG gals for the shuttle! We ended our hike at 4 p.m.
We arrive back in GF at 6 p.m. who went: Judy, Susan W, Bonnie J, Katie, June