Another waddling porcupine graced us with its presence this morning. We watched it post-hole in the snow with its short stubby legs. Shortly after that, as we approached an open field, we saw a mom black bear and her 3 cubs! Wow! So cool! Check "bear" off the list of must-see animals on the CDT.
The day progressed less impressively until the rains started. We were in no rush, so we set up the tarp and ate lunch shielded from the weather. Noshing on hummus contentedly we hear the sounds of a large animal moving near by! More animals today!? We sick our heads out of the tarp and see 3 thru-hikers, Twinkles, Ducky, and Badger! What a treat! It has been a while since we've seen anyone else out here, so their company was warmly welcomed. They chatted with us for a while before heading on. They had not seen Grim and Bearclaw either, which was very confusing indeed. Where were they?
We packed up our tarp and began to hike on through these beautiful valleys full of marsh. The beauty and the wet feet compliment each other well. A few miles in we see some south bounders heading our way. They must be section hikers. What a day full of people! As they got closer we noticed they had a decidedly aggressive pace and what can only be described as an annoyed pep to their step. Oh, it was Twinkles and his friends. Oh, that means we were all going the wrong way. I check my Guthook App to see where we are, and sure enough, we are off trail. Somehow we had missed a turn. This is normal on the CDT. Getting off trail is expected. You are told about it before starting. You cannot get frustrated by it. Factor it into your mileage because it is inevitable.
After a good laugh about the whole thing, we all got going int he right direction and headed up a large hill or a small mountain. The view was spectacular! We could see a herd of elk along with a large coyote or a wolf! Wow! This amazing view was accentuated by the music from Spice Girls, which everyone sang along to except Guy, it was a bit before his time.
Pit toilets are a favorite find for thru-hikers due to the built in privacy and likely presence of toilet paper. The pit toilet we discovered at a campground near some lakes was anything but exciting unfortunately. A poorly maintained (cleaned) pit toilet is much more uncomfortable than digging a hole in rocky ground and relieving yourself in a hoard of mosquitoes. It is what it is. On we hiked. Goodbye pit toilet.
Our goal was an 11,000ft summit to camp. We wanted to have an awesome sunset view and a great sunrise. It was totally worth the push through postholing and carrying extra water to get there. We watched epic thunderstorms from one side and a perfect sunset from the other. We forget that the world can provide us with such beauty when we have our blinders on all the time. You need to get up high to see this far.