7/22 – 7/25 Leadore to Lima
After spending the last of our change on freshly baked cookies from the Leadore Store I was ready for the trail once more. We were now a big group – Rock Steady, Kombucha & Hawkeye, Joker, Lost, Found, Heaps & us – but thankfully a local Leadorian gave us a ride back up to the pass in his cattle-truck.
Highlights: Peak-bagging Cottonwood Mountain, meeting our first NoBos (CDT thru-hikers travelling north), a cave harbouring elk and bison bones, cowboy camping with a visit from a moose, a superb rainbow-route (a new phrase we coined for when we make up our own cross-country route), visiting Cow Camp and refreshing swims in rivers when the water wasn’t cow-taminated.
A word on the wonderous wildflowers. I can’t get over them! There are so many: fragile pale pink bitterroot, pale purple sticky geranium, wild irises, vibrant yellow mule’s ear, columbine (some wedding white, others vibrant crimson and gold), cow parsnip, buttercups, lupine and sagebrush. I love the slight variations… as the soil changes or as you round a bend new colours are added to the symphony. As you get higher in elevation the flowers cling to the rocky soil, holding on for dear life against the powerful wind. Shockingly vibrant colours and towering heights (many waist-deep and some up to my chest) indicate a nearby water source. The Master Gardener is marvelous! And to think that we have to work so hard to tend the flowers in our own gardens when these thrive free and effortlessly.
The Continental Divide recently (which is also the southern Montana/Idaho border) has often been rolling hills and gorgeous wildflowers. For a while we enjoyed the glistening snowy Lemhi Mountain Range to our west….. Idaho and Montana have so many undiscovered mountain ranges….. exploring them has definitely been added to our to-do list.
June 26 – 27th we hiked through the Scapegoat Wilderness. The trail followed the true Continental Divide for miles and miles as we walked along the ridge of North America. The distant vistas, rugged Alpine scenery and carpet of wildflowers–pepto-pink phlox, brilliant blue forget-me-knots, yolk-yellow buttercups and dozens of others–made for glorious hiking. We even did some rock scrambling to peak-bagged Caribou peak.
We also devised new trail names for our group of five. Team 3D for Triple Divide the pass we did together in a white-out and the fact we’re from 3 different countries (US, Japan & Italy). Tim’s name is Hawkeye since he is from Iowa and a big fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, plus he has eyes like a hawk, always finding random buttons and things along the trail and spying distant sights. Nina became Kombucha, a bubbly Japanese tea drink since she loves the beverage and is very effervescent and into holistic health. Yas became Rock Steady because of his steady navigation and rock-solid pace and all the awesome gear he made himself. Dan became Candyman…. I think we know why! And I became Queen Frostine from Candyland… I’ve always wanted an ice cream sea!