Day 118: Elk Mountain

Miles Hiked: 26.3

Total Milage: 2039.9

Today I left camp around 7am. It was later than I wanted to leave but I was really tired and needed some extra rest. The day started with an uphill climb up a very exposed field of sagebrush. We were on a dirt road for quite a while. Almost the whole day! 12 pack and I stopped to make a 2,000 mile sign to celebrate hiking 2k miles so far! A big milestone. We kept hiking until we had half of our miles done for today. There was no water between the lake near camp and the 13 mile mark. The spring there was absolutely awesome. Nice cold water flowing out of a pipe into a cow trough. We took a lunch break and I cooked ramen noodles since I won’t have water again until tomorrow! Right after lunch the sky got crazy dark and some clouds were rolling in. The next three miles we were about to do a big climb up an exposed peak and it was not looking or sounding good. We decided to play it safe and set up our tents before it even started to rain just because the storms were so bad last night. We did not want to risk getting stuck in a bad spot up high with no where to go. I was glad we set up our tents but the break ended up being five hours long! The longest break I’ve had on trail. The storm lasted for a long time but I think we made the right call. After it was over 12 pack and I cooked some more food and headed up Elk Mountain. We had 13 miles left and it was 5pm. Yikes! I just thought oh well, I have rarely had to hike with a headlamp on for this entire trail so what’s one night?

We ended up cruising up Elk Mountain at 3mph. I felt strong during a climb for once. I think my pack just felt awesome because it was so light. The climb ended up being exposed for a while confirming our choice to set up tents. Elk mountain is the highest point that we hit along the Montana Idaho border. Even though it just rained, the smoke from the nearby fires was really bad. It was pretty concerning and it was very irritating to my lungs, nose, and throat. I think I even started to get a headache from it. 12 Pack and I ate dinner together on the way down from Elk mountain before continuing to camp. We ended up hiking until 9:30pm and I pulled out my headlamp at the very end of it. It was pretty cold as I set up my tent. Today felt pretty long.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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