3mi N of Burton Park TH(2365.3)-MT Hwy 2/Butte(2382.5)
I got going by 6:30am this morning and was excited because it was town day AND tomorrow is my seventh ZERO! It hasn’t felt that long, but when I did the calculations, I realized that since my last zero in Dubois, WY, it has been 23 days and I’ve hiked 631.8mi. That’s a 27.5mi/day average. Whew! The morning started off with more great wooded trail and large stone boulders. This section of trail has been built to allow for mountain bikers, so it did have ups and downs, but they were more gradual and had more switchbacks.
Last night, I went to bed having had snacks for dinner because the last water source was dry. I woke up this morning with half a liter of water and hoping to be two miles from water…I approached two sources that looked like the picture below. It was a marshy cow pie filled area. The “water” was a one inch deep puddle that was more cow piss than water. The next one a couple miles up was the same only even muddier. I took half a liter from the one pictured below and put it in my dirty bag figuring I’d filter it if it came down to it. I only had 17mi to do this morning and it was very cool out, so thankfully, I wasn’t dying of thirst.
I hiked on another six miles trying to hold out from drinking the cow pee water. The trail was very nice and maintained. I swear, lately it’s like I’m on the PCT and not the CDT. I know Montana takes great pride in working on the CDT and it shows!
I got to my source that was my final chance for water for the day and I had hiked 10mi off half a liter of water. If there wasn’t water here, I’d have to filter the cow pee…I cam up to more mud! I was about to give up when I heard a trickle…just below the tree roots on the right of this picture below was trickling cold clear water! I was able to set a scoop under it and it took a bit, but it filled with water and I was saved! I drank a bunch and got more for the next seven miles to the road. Whew!
Again, it’s tough when no one is ahead to post these warnings. I find myself carrying extra water just to be extra careful and not knowing if you’ll have water or not causes anxiety. Just as I got toward the road, I got service and Stopwatch and Optimist had posted the warning about the dry sources on our CDT class Facebook page. I’m excited that they are hiking further ahead and pushing as hopefully I’ll be getting these warnings BEFORE I enter the section. It is great the way we all work together. I just wish they didn’t have to be the test bunnies for the next few sections!
When I got to the trail head, a man was there with a truck who was technically working, but felt bad enough for me to give me a hitch into town. I got real lucky because he also took me to the post office where I had FIVE packages and he drove me to my hotel. I quickly checked in and went to get my burger, fries, salad, and milkshake. Yay!
I went back to the hotel and it’s the nicest one yet! It was a nicer hotel (Quality Inn) downtown in Butte and they gave me the CDT hiker rate, so it’s the same as the cheap motel on the outskirts of town, SCORE! I have to thank my family members who have chipped in and contributed to cover my last two zero hotels (I’ll be taking one more zero in E Glacier). I didn’t realize how tired I was until I had eaten, showered, and then started working on my backlog of emails and blogging duties in the huge king sized bed. I may never leave! Another bonus is that they have a HOT CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST BUFFET, which I haven’t had all trail. I’ll be going down there multiple times the next two mornings for sure! Now I’m off to catch up on everything.