Cross Country

Branch of Boulder River, Deerlodge NF, MT
One thing that separates the CDT from other trails is that the CDT is not yet finished. While the AT and PCT enjoy nearly 100% trail made for hikrs and horses, the CDT is still a patchwork of trail, ATV roads, forest service roads, and cross country travel. It makes for some interesting decision making at times. In the past, I could usually rely on good signs to lead me the right way. Now, I have to rely on my map and compass reading skills to route me in the right direction when I come to an unsigned 4-way intersection. So far, so good.

I got my first taste of cross country travel yesterday, when the smooth red line on my map abruptly changed to a dotted line. I had to pick my way uphill for about a mile to an unsigned ATV road. Using a lake as abearing, I made it just fine.

For the most part, I’ve been on ATV trail. It’s not to bad and all the ATVers I’ve met have been friendly. There’s just not much shade, which has made some very hot hiking. I wasn’t expecting this much sun exposure in Montana, but I’m protected from it pretty well, save my arms, which are starting to look a little red.

So far my least favorite part of trail are the forest service roads. They’re long and hot with very

Typical Montana Forest Service road
Typical Montana Forest Service road

little shade at all. The forest service has an interesting practice of knocking down all trees 150 ft past the road on the uphill side of the road. One man told me it was to prevent trees from landing on the road/cars. The cut trees are hauled into a pile and burned. the road ends up looking kind of barren. Doesn’t this seem wasteful?

I’m feeling pretty good, just s bit sore in the hips and feet. looking forward to getting to helena on Sunday.

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