June 30th, 2019
South Fork Two Medicine River mm 125.5 to Strawberry Creek mm 158.7
Distance in miles: 29
There wasn’t a whole lot to say about today. It was a long walk through mostly burned forests. The trail started off wide with lots of horse and mule prints. We shortly arrived at what was titled a guard station, which was actually a forest service cabin with 2 rangers getting set to do trail work. They had loaded up a mule and horse, while 3 more equines waited in the corral.
We discussed the virtues of mules and horses while I petted the mule’s ears. I am so fascinated by their big ears. The ranger spoke of how the mules like to have a job, and that is carrying a whole lot of stuff. This one was packing two huge saddlebags with a chain saw on top. I thought it was funny that all the animals were branded with a US brand…property of Uncle Sam. But they all looked very happy, healthy, and with good feet. Does a US horse qualify as a G-ride…slang we used to describe a government-owned vehicle.
We dallied for a bit and I used the privy…toilet magic! We set off on more wide equestrian trails and promptly missed a turnoff for a scant, unmaintained trail that is of course the actual CDT. We had been going on the nice trail for a bit when we realized our mistake. The nice, straight-shot trail reconnected with the CDT up ahead so we just kept going. It shaved off about 4 miles and a lot of climbing, oh well. I chalked it up to good fortune for the easy alternate we missed the day before.
We had lunch near a creek and walked quite awhile through more burned forests. We passed a few other hikers and another horse crew…this one with 2 women and a few horses and mules. They were lugging a huge 2 person saw, so I presumed that we had finally entered the wilderness area. No mechanized devices, such as chainsaws, can be used for trail maintenance inside a wilderness area. It makes it tougher on the trail crews, as if their job isn’t already hard enough.
I was having a bit of an off day and listened to podcasts much of the time. At least there were lots of wildflowers. We came to our planned campsite by 6 pm and gladly plopped down next to the creek. I was ready for bed by 8 pm, my feet and hips hurting after another long day. Tomorrow would be a new day.