Twig Adventures

PNT Day 26: PNT Carwash & Polebridge

Tuesday July 26th, 2022, 0620-1200Red Meadow Lake to Polebridge, WEBO mm 56.3, Segment 1 Rocky Mountains19 miles, Gain 930′, Loss 3000′, elevation 3550′ As imagined, everything was soaking wet in the morning. My hiking clothes were all still very damp from my swim, so I left camp wearing some of my dry camp clothes. This was a mistake because shortly the route left the road for a single track trail that was very overgrown, to say the least. It’s a phenomenon that I’ve recognized before: every piece of vegetation sticking out into the trail is much more noticeable when it’s wet. The weight of the water also bends the vegetation down even more. But this trail was just absolutely saturated with[…]

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PNT Day 25: Red Meadow Lake

Monday July 25th, 2022, 0620-1830WAM Lookout to Red Meadow Lake, WEBO mm 74.4, Segment 1 Rocky Mountains31 miles, Gain 6030′, Loss 7500′, elevation 5550′ I managed to get some sleep despite the bugs but had a very hard time waking at 5 am. Wolverine had set her alarm and we were both happy to snooze for a bit longer. The days have already gotten shorter (plus we moved 1 hour ahead in Montana), so it was still dark at 5 am. A very urgent need for the privy got me moving and shortly after I was flying down the trail. I’d been hoping to see sunrise from the lookout but the day was overcast, so no chance. I was on a[…]

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PNT Day 24: WAM!

Sunday July 24th, 2022, 0730-1830Caribou Trail Wagon Camp to WAM Lookout, WEBO mm 104.7, Segment 1 Rocky Mountains23 miles, Gain 6470′, Loss 3140′, elevation 6985′ Oh the glory of a bed! The last time I’d slept in a real bed was 18 days prior in Republic. I didn’t know how much I’d missed it. The minute I crawled into it, I sunk into its coziness. Which meant it was very hard to tear myself away in the morning. We’d planned a smaller day to arrive at a fire lookout for camp, so we didn’t need to get that early of a start. Many warnings of snow and blowdowns and grizzlies and steepness had done nothing to lower our expectations of making[…]

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PNT Day 22 & 23: Eureka!

Friday July 22nd, 2022, 0640-1300FR 7183 to Rexford, WEBO mm 141.5, Segment 2 Purcell Mountains19 miles, Gain 1980′, Loss 4915′, elevation 2550′ We had much easier day lined up, but still a lot of miles to get to town. I was eager to get food and take a shower after another long and hard section. First we had a small climb to Thirsty and then Webb mountains. There was a rental lookout on top Webb, with a very nice privy that I was aiming for. A family with a car was just leaving as I got there…yes of course there’s a road to the top… that’s how they’re able to rent it. Who would actually hike up there to stay? The[…]

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PNT Day 21: It Finally Came Out

Thursday July 21st, 2022, 0700-1900Yaak River to FR 7183, WEBO mm 160.7, Segment 2 Purcell Mountains24.4 miles, Gain 6600′, Loss 4000′, elevation 5450′ Nothing bothered us overnight, not even noise from the bridge traffic (all 2 cars). Livin under bridges or at least next to them ain’t so bad in the Yaak valley. Even better, I snuck a turn in the nearby forest service privy in the morning, coining the phrase privy pirate. Wolverine also took a turn. It was a primo privy, complete with lots of TP, wet wipes and hand sanitizer! Two minutes into our walk, a black bear scooted across the road just in front of us. That makes 4 I’d seen this hike. We turned off onto[…]

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PNT Day 20: The Yaak

Wednesday July 20th, 2022, 0620-2100Rock Candy Mountain to Yaak River, WEBO mm 185.4, Segment 2 Purcell Mountains26.2 miles plus 0.5 to fire tower, Gain 2400′, Loss 5725′, elevation 3000′ I had one of the best night’s sleep yet. The breeze was nice and it was just the right temperature. Riding along the ridge for a few miles in the morning was nice, then we dropped down into the Yaak river valley for the remainder of the day. We met 2 WEBOs who were really nice, a couple, Taffy and Matt. We chatted briefly. There are so few other hikers, I want to talk to them all. But at some point, I may need to just say hi in passing. I don’t[…]

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PNT Day 19: Rock Candy Mountain

Tuesday July 19th, 2022, 0600-2030Bussard Mountain to Rock Candy Mountain, WEBO mm 211.6, Segment 2 Purcell Mountains26.8 miles, Gain 6900′, Loss 6100′, elevation 6755 It was a nice sunrise but not as good as the sunset the night before. The wind howled all night but our campsite was well protected. It didn’t even get too cold. I was glad we stopped to enjoy the mountain. A quick series of switchbacks over 6 miles quickly brought us down 3500 feet. My ears were popping. We hiked fast because we were looking forward to seeing what the resort, said to be friendly towards hikers, was all about. We knew their hours meant the restaurant wouldn’t be open but we hoped to at least[…]

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PNT Day 18: Bussard Mountain

Monday July 18th, 2022, 1430-1930US Hwy 1 to Bussard Mountain, WEBO mm 238.5, Segment 2 Purcell Mountains13 miles plus 2 miles in town, Gain 4320′, Loss 500′, elevation 5930 We had another long section coming up, in which we’d be leaving Idaho to enter western Montana. We were aiming to hike 115 miles to Eureka all in one stretch but had a few options for obtaining food along the way. Our first was a resort called Fiest Creek, which we hoped to get to this day. Well, town was a bit of a vortex, to say the least. We’d met 2 PNT WEBO hikers at the RV park, B-ham and Carlos. They had a trail angel that had offered to give[…]

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PNT Days 16 & 17: Parker Ridge & Bonners Ferry

Saturday July 16th, 2022, 0700-1800Lower Ball Lake #2 to US Hwy 1, WEBO mm 251.2, Segment 3 Selkirk Mountains26 miles, Gain 3640′, Loss 8160′, elevation 2100 We had a big day ahead if we wanted to get to town. I was almost out of food, so didn’t have a choice. This coming on the heels of one of my most exhausting days ever…I didn’t get my normal early start, to say the least. On the way out, I checked the upper Ball Lake, only to find all the campsites still covered in snow. Good thing we’d come to the lower lake first. Later I met 2 local hikers\fishermen that said the even lower Pyramid lake had been frozen over just 2[…]

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PNT Day 15: Lions Head

Friday July 15th, 2022, 0610-1930Trail 37 to Lower Ball Lake #2, WEBO mm 277.3, Segment 3 Selkirk Mountains12 miles, Gain 4600′, Loss 3300′, elevation 6620 The big day had finally arrived, what’s commonly thought of as the PNT’s “right of passage.” There’s no trail on the western side of the Selkirks to connect to trails on the eastern side. So a PNT thru hiker has to bushwhack through this section. As I’d found out on a 3.5 bushwhack south of Republic, going even this short distance can be just awful. These northwestern forests are incredibly dense, cluttered with an understory of fallen trees, tangled willows and brambles. Sometimes just travelling 10 feet is an undertaking of epic proportions. Lions Head is[…]

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