Leadore, Idaho

Hitching out of Darby, MT with my best “I’m not a pycho killer” face.
Beautiful forest adorned with bear grass
Entering the Bitterroot

Although I’m hiking alone right now, I’ve been meeting a lot of hikers on the trail during this stretch. As it turns out I’m ensconced in a “bubble” of hikers, probably due to influx of SNOBO hikers like me (flipped from northbound to southbound due to heavy snow in Colorado) joining the regular SOBO hikers. There are nearly a dozen hikers in this tiny town today and I’ve had a chance to meet and/or hike with some of them during the past week: Twigsy, Toast, Wow, Data, Salty, Snacks and others. As some might expect, my daily mileage has gone up (now 25-30 miles/day) since the only thing to do is hike, ha! It stays light here past 9:30 pm, so when you’re on the trail by 7 am (my daily typical) you have 14 hours to walk in daylight, less any breaks you take.

Shadow-me with sun hat looking an awful lot like Lord Vader
Shoe-sized mushroom for one?
Chilly morning with lingering snow in elevation. The gap between the water and snow is big enough to climb under there.

I’m sitting in the wonderful little public library in Leadore, Idaho (population: 105) having effectively completed the Montana section. ‘Effectively’ because we straddle the Montana/Idaho border for the next few miles, but hikers consider Montana completed at this point. Unlike the Appalachian trail where the entire route is prescribed, the CDT offers many “alternate” paths to choose from and one’s mileage therefore varies based on the cumulative total of the actual path one traces. Detailed mileage aside, I am now approximately 50% done with this trail (my estimated actual mileage: 1300). Compared to the AT, the first half of this hike- with jumping ahead to Wyoming and then flipping up to Glacier- has felt less coherent, though that is gradually fading away and being replaced with the “runners high” you get once you’ve developed “trail legs” and can (relatively) comfortably spend all day climbing up and down.

Mountain lake logpile
Camping on a peak, taken at 9:00 pm. Not quite a level pitch, but too tired to search further.

I was worried that I’d feel lonely without hiking in a group, but to be honest I had a lot of fun this section, though I managed to hurt myself pretty good during one particularly hard fall yesterday morning a few miles before hitchhiking into town. I’m taking a zero today to ice and elevate my knee and to wait on shoes and trek poles from home as I’ve broken both poles and trashed yet another pair of shoes. This section featured a lot of roots and rocks, notoriously hard on feet and shoes.

Another hiker (Smiles?) just ahead on the trail ribbon
Forest fire aftermath…we’ve hiked through a lot of burn down sections
Lots of walking through scree fields too…very challenging on tired feet…
And yep, plenty of great views again this section
Another amazing view

Music has also definitely filled the void created by not currently hiking with any of my hiker family. Now that the threat of grizzlies is somewhat diminished compared to Glacier/northern Montana (though I’ll carry my bear spray for a bit further south), I can be found hiking along with my headphones getting lost in the beauty of the visual landscape paired with fantastic tunes. And on that note, as the song says, “…my feet is my only carriage, so I’ve got to push on through…” (B. Marley).

CDT signage varies considerably in placement, type, size, color, etc. Each of the following is from the same day
Sign type #2
Sign type #3
Sign type #4
Sign type #5
Sign type #6 (a cairn)

Cheers from Idaho and thanks for checking in! Max

8 thoughts on “Leadore, Idaho”

  1. Great to hear these updates. Take care of that knee and good luck on the next stretch!

    1. Oliver! Hey, I hear you’ve moved on to Spain! Good luck getting set up there and let’s chat soon. Thanks for the kind wishes!

  2. Max,
    I am so happy to see that the trail is treating you well and wow, you are really making good time! I love your photos and your hippie butterfly video is awesome.
    Thanks for your wonderful comment on my blog, your thoughtfulness means a lot. I’m excited for the first time about going back to school, so I know that is the right choice. The heart always knows.
    It seems like our trail family is all on the paths that we need to be on and that makes my heart full. Be well my fabulous friend and Brandon and I are thinking about you!
    Much Love,

    1. You’re the best, Cougar! Just arrived in Dubois, WY tonight and will hopefully get another update out tomorriw.

  3. LOL–you’re trying to hard to not look like a psycho for me to pick you up hitchhiking! Love the Vader shadow and the Bob Marley quote. Always hard not to get hurt when tired–hope you heal fast! Thanks as always for sharing! Loving the living vicariously–your posts are like waiting for the Sunday comics to come as a kid. Full color!

    1. Ha, I love the memory of waiting for the Sunday funnies…I bet kids today don’t know about copying the Sunday color funnies with play dough! As for the aches and pains, thanks…yep, everything is healing, nothing really lingering except starting to get insanely hungry, ha! All the best!

    1. You said it Swish! Four of us just got a hitch tonight into Lima from a semi! Of course, it was 2 men, 2 women and we had the women do the hitching, ha! Works every time! Hope things are well in Missoula!

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