Sula Country Store
Leadore 186 km
In the morning it was a long wait for a hitch up the road to the trailhead at Chief Joseph Pass. But we got one. Everything was white up there; and we were in the clouds. The first part was along a forest road, of course it was snow covered. Then it became a real trail. Slowly the clouds gave way and later in the day it became sunny. The night was spent at Big Hole Pass without snow. The next morning started sunny but only 37° Fahrenheit. Soon the trail was on an old road leading steeply downhill. It was totally washed out and made for very slow progressing. Then came a number of creek crossing, I could manage one on thin tree trunks and another one barefoot. But for two creek crossings I had to get out of my boots and put on my shoes. In the afternoon we were hit by a thunderstorm. The day was cut short and camp was set up short of the day's goal between two water sources.
The tarp was wet in the morning as it had rained over night. Up on the first mountain and later at lunch it dried out in the sun. The trail was in better shape today. On the way down to Slag-a-melt Lakes and later up again from the valley we saw tracks from a dirt bike. Why can't these motor people leave hiking trails alone. Along the Slag-a-melt Creek two riders on horseback came up the trail. We found a spot next to the trail at Lena Lake. Next day it became after the early July snowfall warmer again. Climbing up from Little Lake the trail was still covered in old snow while switch backing. Here we had to be careful not to slip and slide down the mountain side. Spending the night at the TH of Berry Creek Trail we had many mosquitoes.
Finally we arrived at Lemhi Pass. Here is the start of the Missouri River. It is a place where Louis and Clark had come by. From now on it became a different country. No more steep mountains, creeks, trees or old snow. But instead open country with gentle up and downs. The trail follows for a long time a fence. Here we saw a big herd of deer. Once there was cell phone reception we reserved a room in Leadore. Next day when we should arrange pick up at Bannock Pass from the hotel owner we ran out of any phone reception. In the evening four CDT southbounder passed by. They wanted to get to the pass by night. We made next day. There was hardly any traffic and then most anyone went in the other direction. Finally a car coming from Leadore for a look around at the pass was going back there. They gave a ride to Leadore and we finally arrived at the Hotel. The four southbounders from last night were in town too.
Fresh snow on CDT near Chief Josef Pass in Anaconda-Bitterroot Mountains
Campsite at Big Hole Pass in Bitterroot Mountains
Ascent in old snow above Little Lake in Beaverhead Mountains
Riders on CDT at Berry Creek
Short of Bannock Pass CDT follows this wooden fence across Grizzly Hill