View Full Version : CDT/Montana section hike aborted

07-16-2012, 12:49
After (mostly) completing the Glacier NP section of the CDT (from Chief Mt), I decided it would best if I just called it good and went home. The park was fantastic. The hike was worth every penny to get there and back. The views were simply mind blowing.

We had to shuttle around one section, Many Glacier to St Mary, skipping Piegan pass. About 3.5 miles in we came to a ragging stream crossing which didn't have the bridge installed across it yet. Fording it looked life threating, so we turned around. Good thing, as we learned later the next bridge had been washed out, the bridge above that was still under snow and the pass it's self was still a dangerous snow traverse.

I decided to end the hike at E. Glacier and go home for a number of reasons.

1. Gear problems. My pack was way too heavy. I brought too much stuff, thinking it would be cold and wet most of the time. Instead, it was very hot and dry most of the time.

2. Boot problems. Just my right boot. I don't know if the boot was defective or if my foot just didn't fit it well. Although it didn't really cause any problems like blisters, it wasn't all that comfortable. I should have taken the boots back to the store earlier when it seemed not to fit too well, but I was hoping it would get better after a while. Of course, it didn't.

3. Weather. Man it was hot. 90+ in the shade and there is no shade to speak of. It's a "dry heat", but it's still wicked hot! I was drinking gallons of water a day. I don't do well in the heat. I needed a better sun hat too. A baseball cap type hat does not cut it.

The above problems could have been solved if it weren't for the next problem on the list. I could have sent stuff home to lighten the load and/or had a friend go to my house, pick up and mail me some different gear. I might have been able to buy some new boots and a wide brimmed hat to deal with the sun.

Problem #4 - My hiking group.

It turns out that having four woman as hiking partners and being the only male in the group was not a very good idea. One of the problems was simply that there were 5 of us, which doesn't work out well logistically. Group of 4, okay. More than that, things get complicated. I really think if the 4th woman hadn't joined the group, things might have worked out better for me.

Second problem was hiking style. Turns out all four woman were strong hikers with light packs, they all had a quick pace, didn't like to stop for anything and hiked in a pack, toe to heal. Meanwhile, I like to stop and rest a little every so often and enjoy the view, so I ended up trailing well behind the girls most of the time.

The third problem and the deal breaker was simply the fact I couldn't intergrate into the group. As the only male and not emotionally attached to any of the woman, I was an outsider simply tagging along. I was excluded from most conversations and decision making. Although they were polite enough not to come out and say it, it became apparent to me after a few days that they really didn't want me around.

So, when on our last camp in the park I overheard the girls planning to get up at 5 am, run to town as quick as possible to resupply and then head into "the Bob" the day after without a zero rest day (which I needed just to re-adjust my gear and food situation - which was complicated by the fact we'd get back to town on a Saturday), I decided enough was enough and to divorce myself from this group. When I told the girls I wasn't going to follow along with them any farther, I suddenly didn't exist for them at all. No good-bys, no hugs, no "it was great, sorry to see you go, can't we make this work somehow?" type of thing. That comfirmed I made the the right decision.

I suppose I could have pushed on my myself, but I really didn't want to tackle the rest of Montana all by myself and the train station was right there, so it wasn't hard to decide to throw in the towel and go home. A number of leasons were learned and if I decide to attempt this again, I'll have a better idea how to go about it.

07-16-2012, 14:19
Wow, that's too bad. However, it sounds like you somewhat enjoyed yourself in the beginning and learned from this experience how to plan for your next hike. I agree it's easier to hike with fewer people in the group. As far as maybe pushing yourself to continue.....you went with your gutt and aborted and based on your post I would have done the same. Happy hiking!

07-16-2012, 14:22
Sorry to hear it but it sounds like you did the right thing. It would be mighty uncomfortable being the odd person out in a hiking group.

How did you hook up with this group in the first place?

p.s. The southern Apps are available.. :)

07-16-2012, 15:00
Sorry things didn't work out but it looks like you made the right decision.

I understand the benefits & desirability of having a partner(s) for a hike of this magnitude but at the same time, it's also important to know who you're hiking with and that such a person(s) is(are) compatible with your style and pace. I don't expect to hike the CDT but may do the PCT in sections for which I expect to hike solo.

07-16-2012, 15:10
It's okay, Scribbles left me in the dust on the AT once or twice last year too. I feel ya, man.

07-16-2012, 16:48
How did you hook up with this group in the first place?

One of them I meet and hiked on and off with on the AT last year. We kept in touch and over the winter she asked what I planned to do this summer. When I told her I was thinking of doing part of the CDT and half jokingly asked if she'd want to come along, she immediately said yes.

Then I saw another woman post a "partner wanted" on trailforums to do this same section and time frame, so I responded and told her she was welcome to join us and after some discussion, she agreed to. Eventually, another woman responded to the partner wanted post and who was I to say no to another in the group? Anyway, it rounded it out to an even 4.

Then, without too much time left before the trip, a 3d woman asked to join the group. There was some question in my mind if this was advisable, but she really, really wanted to come along. So what the heck, lets make it a party. But I think that was my down fall and this last one to join turned out to be the least compatable with me. Let this be a leason to those looking for partners via the internet forums!

Even though it didn't work out very well, I'm still really glad I went and at least gave it a try.

07-16-2012, 18:08
This is the treason 10-K is the only person I will hike with. And he hikes alone.


Once the feet failed, I think I would have found a place to camp alone for a few days and still enjoy the park, since I was already there. But I know that can be hard in a regulated area.

07-16-2012, 18:10
This is the treason 10-K is the only person I will hike with. And he hikes alone.


Once the feet failed, I think I would have found a place to camp alone for a few days and still enjoy the park, since I was already there. But I know that can be hard in a regulated area.

OK "treason" instead on "reason" really was a Freudian slip.

07-16-2012, 18:14
Ive made those decisions before. it stinks, but its better than pushing yourself to the point of injury.
by the way, you brough up an excellent point regarding footwear. todays shoes have very little or no break-in period.try boots on later in the day, never first thing in the morning as yor feet swell. and if they dont feel comfortable out of the box, they will not "break in".
shoes that feel broken in are usually at the end of their useful life.

07-16-2012, 21:33
Once the feet failed, I think I would have found a place to camp alone for a few days and still enjoy the park, since I was already there. But I know that can be hard in a regulated area.

Yeah, once the girls left, I stayed a few more days in the park to check out areas we didn't pass through, like the west side by taking the going-to-the-sun road shuttle. Man, what a ride that is - glad I got to do that too. If you ever get out that way, taking the trip across the park on that road and over Logan pass should not be missed. I really should have spent a little more time there, but that park has a way of eating money like you have an infinate supply of it.

07-17-2012, 08:37
Thanks for sharing your story with us.... sorry it didn't work out for you. It makes me want to go someday... sounds beautiful!!

07-17-2012, 09:54
This is the treason 10-K is the only person I will hike with. And he hikes alone.


Ah now... I don't mind hiking with somebody for a few days as long as we're moving along. I've hiked with a couple of WB'ers and had a fine time.

I would have a hard time hiking with a group of 4 for any length of time for sure but having met Slo-go'en before I know he's got me beat in the people-person department. :)

07-17-2012, 10:36
You are a very brave man.
First of all, to go with 4 women on a hiking trip.
And then to tell us about your bailing out due to physical problems (mostly)
I might have done what you did, but not sure I would be telling everyone, that would be a bit too much of a downer for my ego.

Now, Glacier is beautiful for sure. My favorite NP.
But the "Bob" is pretty awesome too. It would be tough to have gone all that way and then not see it.

But, foot problems, too much gear, and no resupply in the Bob SOBO for a loooooooooooonnnnnnnnng time............

It's certainly no fun hiking with people you don't know or like.
2's a good number. (1 is better)
3's a crowd. (someone always feels left out)
More is a disaster for a long hike unless you are ALL on the same page. (and good friends)

07-22-2012, 11:26
I am glad you told everyone. Very helpful.

07-23-2012, 13:56
Wow, tough choice. I had the benefit of hiking the CDT with a partner and a group before I hiked much of Montana solo. It's an awesome state to hike in. If at all possible try to regroup and give it another go someday. Make sure to add in plenty of days for resupply. Montana/Idaho has a few little towns that are worth spending a day or two in for r, r and r.

07-24-2012, 02:41
I hike solo in Montana. I think Montana is perfect for solo hiking, every turn in the trail is another adventure. In my experience, every new landscape scene is beautiful to behold.

I carry extra food, because I don't want to leave the mountains for town. ;)

It is worth learning how to read maps and find your way around without signs on the trails. Many are often wrong anyway. There is a perverse pleasure of moving the signs, that do exist, around. I would not rely on trail signs.

If not confident, then the GPS marked trails should be adequate, supplemented by a larger view for alternate exits from the 7.5 minute series topographic print maps. I print my maps from the National Geographic TOPO! 24,000 scale state map CD.

All that and have a trail guide for U.S. Post Office and the services available in the reasonably nearby towns (not really, some are quite far from the trail).

Sly, What towns, would you say?

07-27-2012, 21:36
I have also hiked solo in northern MT, from Waterton to Rogers Pass. I loved it.
It was just me and the bears in the Bob (never even saw one, although might have heard a couple).

Each additional person added raises the chance of not finishing due to potential problems, IMO.
At least you were able to separate without much trouble.