Guest post: A few days on the CDT with my Dad

The "before" picture at Gibbons Pass

Guest post:

Erin here! (Pat's daughter)

We just got back from three fabulous days on the Continental Divide Trail. My longtime friend and former college roommate Cassy and I, along with my dog Nelli, joined my Dad over the 4th of July to hike from Gibbons Pass to Big Hole Pass.

Cassy among the wildflowers

This section of trail follows part of the divide that makes up the Idaho/Montana border, so we were crossing between Idaho and Montana multiple times a day.

The hike started out with some confusion on my part. I thought we were going from Big Hole Pass near Wisdom to Gibbons Pass, which is near Lost Trail Ski Area. Turns out there are two Big Hole Passes in Montana -- a fact I didn't know until we were about to leave Missoula and head to the trail. I had a moment of panic at having no idea of where we were going, but then I relaxed and it turned out to be a fabulous trip.

On our first day, it started to rain and then pour. We put on our rain jackets and kept hiking. Before long the sun came out. With storm clouds up ahead, we decided to stop and set up camp while the sun was still shining. We finished our dinner just in time for the rain to start again. We scurried into our tents and were happy and dry inside when a hail storm hit! At some point in the rainstorm, Dad saw another hiker walk by our camp. We never ran into him, or anyone else, for the rest of our hike.

Dad, enjoying a leisurely morning in camp

The next morning, we woke up to blue skies and sunshine. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at camp. Dad has been hiking without a stove, eating cold Mountain House and cold coffee, so I was happy to spoil him a little with hot dinner, hot breakfast and hot coffee.

Happy snow dog at about 8,000 ft

We had a beautiful day of hiking. Lots of wildflowers, beautiful weather and even a snowbank where Nelli could cool off.

Snack break on a high ridge

The trail was well marked and easy to follow. However, it stuck close to the Continental Divide, which meant that it took us straight up and straight back down some steep hills. The view at the top always made it worth the climb.

Camped among the beargrass

Around 4, we set up camp, cooked dinner, and once again made it into our tents before the rain started.


The next morning was beautiful again. We hiked 3.5 miles to Big Hole Pass, where Uncle Gary picked us up and brought us back to Missoula.

We made it!
This was my first backpacking trip for the season, and it was such a treat to spend a few magical days with my Dad and Cassy!


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