Trip Report CDT: Montana/Idaho pt4

Idaho Ramblin'

Wheels wakes up with a severe migraine so I give me some of my Aleve and head off. The climbs only get steeper and more frequent with every hour. Nearly straight up and down for hours with light rain coming to greet me every few hours. I pass two hikers on the climb both going NOBO, Common Wealth and Baguette. Baguette informs me that a hiker recently died by a grizzly bear attack outside of Yellowstone and that it has incurred trail closures.

The early morning is a road walk to get to the interstate for hitching into Lima. Hopping over the interstate fence and half an hour later I get picked up. A Mexican rancher on his way to work takes me into town which is teeming with hikers. The town of 50 people has half as many hikers wandering about and the one little breakfast cafe is packed.

I meet Smoko, Tailgate, Shivers, Diehard, Liz and Roach. Old friends are around too: Rock, Doctor Dolittle, Poncho, Annie and Wheels. I split a room with Rock, Doc and Smoko and the rest of the hikers use it as a common room during the day to play Coup and socialize. I get my resupply food box from the post office but sadly my new pair of shoes I ordered have not arrived yet.

We are politely kicked out of our room around 0800h. Thankfully my shoes arrive in the morning and I head to breakfast. More hikers are in town as well: Coop, Chicago, Easy Speak and some cyclists. I shuttle back to trail with Roach and Wheels.


We are passed by a cyclist, Kirk, who is trying to do all the legally bikeable parts of the CDT which is a pretty interesting trip. We catch Liz, who is a deaf hiker, at a water source. The four of us camp together in a meadow and play cards in the evening.

I head out early and pass a French couple and another hiker leaving camp. Around midday I catch Flo, her dog indy and Floss who are all friends of Roach and Wheels. We take a long break by water and Tetanus catches up. After a long wait we decide to push to the next water and wait there. Along the way we run into a group of NOBOs: McQueen, Bubble Wrap and Frog. They give me good information about the snow conditions for the Wind River Range, saying everything is doable without snow gear.

Hanging out by some snow melt, eventually Roach, Wheels and Liz catch up. This big group of eight decides to take the Mack's Inn Cutoff to avoid the aforementioned grizzly bear closures. Tetanus shares his plan to do a really cool alternate through the Grand Teton National Park. Seems like all the boys are down to do it together!

The very first thing in store for us is a bushwhack through dense brush and over little streams. The water is ice cold in the early morning and I keep pushing through the vegetation. Thinking I am following the GPS track I still end up getting lost. I climb a small berm to get a view and see Floss and Wheels walking on a nice piece of trail 100ft(30m) away. I make a mad dash to them and thank them for the help.

The trail gives way to long paved road way into Island Park. Thankfully there is a Subway at the bottom waiting for me. I blast music and crush miles to get lunch. Flo and Floss get picked up by family as Roach, Wheels, and Liz hitch into West Yellowstone. I join Tetanus on a 1.5mi(2.4km) road walk that he "must" do for his continuous footpath hike. Trying to hitch from Mack's Inn is not successful and we get stopped by the cops. He takes runs our IDs but we are not charged and are let off with a warning.

Roadside decoration

We are still stuck at Mack's Inn as we try to ask tourists if they will give us a ride. Most politely decline and walk away from us as quickly as possible. Tetanus finds a phone number buried somewhere in a FarOut comment and we manage to organize a trail angel to come by and pick us up. Finally arriving in West Yellowstone we all split a room at a Best Western. The Teton alternate planning gets under way as food is packed, shipped ahead and routes we plan on taking are discussed.

Everyone wakes early for continental breakfast and some more food prepping. Tetanus goes off to grab our permits for Yellowstone National Park. We get the trail angel from yesterday to take us back to trail and we do a 20mi(32km) roadwalk to the Yellowstone park border. I run into NOBO hiker, Pepe, who was one of the people I shuttled to Crazy Cook with! Continuing on to camp on the legal side of the boundary tons of NOBO hikers pass by.

This is the final day of my time in Montana/Idaho. Tomorrow we cross into Wyoming and Yellowstone!

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