- 4.5 days
- A mixed bag of good/decent trail, cross country, and dirt road walking
- Highlights: Recent trail work done by the GDTA! 5 bighorn sheep while ascending Tornado Pass, Elk Lakes, unexpected trail magic, 2 black bears, solitude
- Challenges: Getting used to sleeping in Grizzly country alone without hanging my food and sans bear spray, lightning and hail on exposed ridges, ATVs just after Coleman, fatigue, no fresh food at Boulton Creek Trading Post in Peter Lougheed
I choose to sing instead of carrying bear spray. I also like to say things like “Hey Buddha!” and “Hey Bear” in a North Dakota accent. What’s important is that bears know you’re there. Bears want nothing to do with you. I came within 10 feet of two bears on this trip and they were so busy foraging for berries, they didn’t give me a second look.
Why was I alone when I had a hiking partner for the first section? My hiking partner Ryno got giardia and left the route at Cache Creek, he headed east for about a mile and hit a dirt road with decent traffic! We separated for about a week then he rejoined me at Field.
Route Choice: You can choose to take the main route before Peter Lougheed; which is an easy road walk, or attempt the beautiful and challenging Coral Pass alternate; which tacks on another day and requires a ford of the Elk River. When I got to the junction I had little food (four Idahoan packets) and it was doubtful I could cross the Elk River alone.