Leadore, Idaho

Day 99      8/6      30 miles

Yesterday after eating burritos at Mack’s Inn in Island Park we walked a couple miles on the highway before getting to the Sawtell Resort campground. Included with a cheap tent site was full use of their hot tub, pool and showers. Along with a couple southbounders, Magpie and Schweppes, and a pair of section hikers, Margo and Jasper, we soaked in the hot tub for a couple hours. I really hope they change the water in that thing after they let 6 stinky hikers stew in there for hours. After our soak I got a plate of Lo Mein at the Chinese food place across the street and called it a night. This morning we ate breakfast sandwiches then ice cream sandwiches at the little grocery store and began walking. The first ten miles were a dirt road walk that climbed up towards Sawtell Peak. Then we followed what wasn’t much of a trail at all for about 5 miles, more of a bushwhack, through tons of wildflowers next to a creek. At some point during this bushwhack we crossed into Montana for the first time and then walked along the Idaho/Montana border for the rest of the day. Once we got away from the creek the trail climbed through a forest and up on a ridge. We walked into an awesome sunset along the ridge but there was no place to camp up there. Luckily the moon was full and we are so far west that it stays light out until 9:30. Eventually we dropped down but the only decent spot to camp was right on trail. Oh yeah I saw a coyote puppy or maybe even a wolf puppy this afternoon jumping around and stuff, it was at the top of a hill probably about 50 yards away and I really wish I got a better look at this little rascal.Bushwhacking through buku wildflowersas you can tell from these pictures, I walked into an awesome sunset tonight

Day 100     8/7     25 miles

Today was rather uneventful. We got a later start than usual since we hiked late last night. The trail went up on a ridge this morning and then through forest for about a dozen miles before we stopped at Arduous Lake for lunch, not really fit for swimming though. After lunch we walked through a burn for hours and then had a nice climb up to a pass right before Rock Spring where we broke for supper this evening. I don’t want to say it was boring, I enjoyed myself and everything but it might have been the most uneventful day of the whole trail. We did see a couple of big sheep dogs barking at us shortly before we found a spot to camp but other than that didn’t see much wildlife and no other hikers. It has been a good section for birds of prey though, lots of cool hawks.delicious icy cold water at Rock Spring 

Day 101     8/8     16 miles

We pretty much just crushed the trail all morning and into the afternoon to get to Interstate 15 where we got a ride into the town of Lima, Montana. This is a tiny little town and the motel there was full of mostly southbound hikers who are filming a documentary or something. Jan’s Cafe across the street was renting out little cabins so that was cool, we got one of those for the night. In town we finally caught up to 3 hikers who we last saw in Chama, NM and have been just ahead of us for months; Moaglee, Little Spoon, and Kibbs. After we took care of some town chores a bunch of us went out for supper at Peat Cafe where you can cook your own steaks. The place was cool and the concept of cooking your own steak must work out especially nice for them since they don’t have to pay a cook plus nobody sends their food back. We ate our steaks then resupplied for the next section at a gas station. I’ve been eating all crap on trail and that’s what gas stations specialize in.school bus for snow days that way you can’t send your food back 
Day 102     8/9     21 miles

This morning we had breakfast with Moist at Jan’s Cafe next to the cabins. He had been hiking with Mac and Appa when we last saw him down in the boot heel and got off trail in Winter Park but was about to rejoin his buddies. Mac and Appa walked in the restaurant and were shocked to see that their buddy had come back from the proverbial dead. B and I put a beating on breakfast then walked out to the interstate and put our thumbs out. We got the rare big rig to pull over and drive us the 20 miles back to the trail around 12 o’clock. Once back on trail we walked on dirt roads through desert for a couple hours until the trail climbed up on an open ridge. There were electrical storms all over the place so we took an alternate that kept us low for a few more miles and hopefully the T and L would subside. This worked out for us for awhile since we didn’t get struck by lightning but on the bushwhack up to the ridge I had to walk through all kinds of nettles that made my legs itch like whoa. The ridge was a roller coaster of steep ups and downs for about a dozen miles before eventually dropping down into some pines where we could camp. I ran into 3 southbounders today including ‘One of Us’ who I first met in Northern California on the PCT in ’15. On the left is Idaho, on the right Montana. Or the other way aroundThis rainbow started in Idaho and ended in Montana with the trail in the middle

Day 103     8/10     29 miles 

For some unexplainable reason I tossed and turned all night and barely got any sleep. Insomnia has been, without a doubt, the most frustrating and difficult obstacle I’ve had to face on this trail so far. I ended up getting a couple hours of sleep and didn’t start hiking until close to 9am. My first half dozen miles were miserable, I was exhausted and dragging ass through tall grass and constantly stepping on fresh cow pies. The trail then steeply climbed a few thousand feet and Queen B and I must have both caught the eye of the tiger or some other rush of adrenaline because we both bolted up that pass. The rest of the day my body felt pretty strong and thankfully the trail wasn’t too fierce. A good amount of dirt road and some long slow climbs and descents with wide open views. After seeing absolutely nobody all day we came across a group of 8 sobo’s all within a quarter mile of each other(rare to see that many people hiking together). Among them was Salt Lick who I met in ’15 in the California desert, it’s got to the point where every time I see a hiker coming my way I wonder if we’ve already met. QB and I walked a few more miles into the sunset and down towards Deadman Lake where we set up for the night just out of reach of a thunderstorm in the distance. Just when I thought this trail couldn’t get any weirder, we come up on all these huge white cliffs

Day 104     8/11     29 miles

I thought I would be pretty sluggish today after another lousy night’s sleep but I got my mojo back right after climbing the steep trail to a pass from Deadman Lake. We then descended and followed the trail onto rolling plains for awhile. This afternoon thunderstorms moved in right before we had to climb up on to an exposed ridge so we found some shelter in a few pines and waited about a half hour. Perfect timing. The clouds moved through and the 3 or 4 miles up on the ridge went smoothly. We saw Moaglee and Little Spoon doing the same thing, chilling out and waiting for the storm to pass. Up on the ridge we had some pretty sweet views and saw a herd of pronghorn bolting past us(I thought these were the same thing as antelope but I guess there’s a difference). We dropped down from the ridge and everything was nice and peaceful for awhile and then out of nowhere we had this super cold rain for a couple hours. Whatever. It cleared up and we found a nice spot to camp in some pines by Morrison Lake. Howling The sky hazy from distant wildfiresAbout 15 super fast pronghorn

Day 105     8/12     25 miles 

Finally some rest. Slept like a rock last night. This morning we got up and just cruised all day. The trail was mostly rolling dirt road up high on an open ridge but there were some good climbs in there. We saw a little red fox jumping around in the grass either playing or looking for mice and stuff. When it saw us it took off into the woods. Too bad because the last time I saw a fox it came right up close to play, probably expecting a frisbee toss or something. Once the trail turned off the dirt road onto actual trail and started up towards Elk Mountain I saw what I thought was a black dog. It wasn’t, it was a little black bear cub following another cub but this one was cinnamon colored and both were following a cinnamon colored sow. At first I thought it was a black bear cub hanging out with his grizzly bear friends, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t happen. After this cool little bear sighting we got up over 10,000 feet on Elk Mountain and then just cruised downhill about 12 miles to Bannock Pass. Sam, the owner of the 4 room Leadore Inn, drove up to the pass and brought us down into Leadore(population 105) for the night. To get here from Bannock Pass we drove down gravel rt 29, the last unpaved highway in the country, supposedly. In town we grabbed some burgers at the town restaurant and then hung out in yard at the inn with Moaglee, Little Spoon, Kibbs and Lux. To see more pictures of this trip feel free to follow my insta @endlesspsummerQB crushing miles

-Endless

PS All My Love!!!

Island Park, ID

Day 92     7/30     0 miles

Took a zero today in Dubois. We’ve got some logistical limitations coming up due to permits in Yellowstone so it made sense to spend another night in town. Plus I didn’t sleep well on the floor of the church hostel last night so I could really use a night in a bed. This morning QB and I went to breakfast then to the laundromat with 3 cyclists riding their bikes across the country. JJ, Luke, and Isabella filled us in on their adventure and it sounded really awesome. Bike touring and thru hiking seem to be very similar in many ways and also have some key differences. I’ve never done any long distance biking but definitely would like to get into it. After laundry we parted ways with them as they headed west towards Jackson and eventually to the Oregon Coast. QB and I ate some more food and then found a room at the Black Bear Inn. This place was cool, they give thru hikers a break on the price(the owner’s son recently paddled the entirety of the Mississippi River, so they’re familiar with our lifestyle) and also have a nightly campfire beside the Wind River where they  serve up all the fixings for s’mores. As I was sitting at the campfire two women came down, Deb and Cynthia, and I immediately recognized their familiar accents. These are my people. They’re from Ipswich, MA a half hour north of me and are out this way for a wedding and to explore the state. Since I’m from Lynn, Cynthia asked me if I knew her ski husband Lou(not her real husband just the guy she skis with). Yeah, I do know Lou, my parents are good friends with Lou and his actual wife Margie. Then I find out Cynthia knows both of my parents and has skied with them too since they’re all Sunday River regulars. Small world, but this stuff happens to me all the time. Some kind of mining operation in Dubois

Day 93     7/31     20 miles

After two really lousy nights of minimal sleep, I finally got some solid rest last night. This morning Queen B and I were making our way to Daytime Donuts for breakfast when we ran into Mac and then Appa, two guys who we met way down in the boot heel of New Mexico and haven’t seen since Silver City. It was fun catching up these two and were surprised to see them. While thru hiking you can get an idea of where people are if they’re ahead of you by seeing names in trail registers but it’s much harder to figure out what’s going on behind you. After eating a bunch of donuts we put our thumbs out and quickly got picked up by Andrew from Rhode Island, who’s taking a road trip cross country and checking out all kinds of national parks and cool places. He dropped us off at Togwotee Pass and at the same time Treeman was getting out of a car back on trail also. We haven’t seen this gigantic German since Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. Back on trail we hiked with him for awhile until he stopped to pick up a box at Brooks Lake Ranch and we carried on for a very pleasant 20 mile day. TreeMan a German giant at Brooks Lake Ranch

Day 94     8/1     30 miles

Shortly after breaking camp this morning we saw a mother moose with a baby in tow. I thought I saw another one a little later but turned out to be just a boring horse. It was a handful of horses actually with a couple of forest service workers at the Nawlin Cabin who were up there clearing trail. The trail today was pleasant and relaxing again with very few people on it. We heard about an awesome waterfall from a little kid on horseback(he wasn’t alone, out with his parents on a weeklong trip). The waterfall ended up being a great place to swim and eat lunch. Shortly after lunch we passed Two Ocean Creek and ‘the Parting of the Waters.’ This river flows right along the Divide and splits in half with one side emptying into the Pacific and the other to the Atlantic. I couldn’t decide which way to pee. Treeman leapfrogged us a handful of times today and this afternoon we saw him go the wrong way for the third or fourth time. This time he was too far ahead to get his attention and correct him so hopefully he realized his mistake sooner than later but we still haven’t seen him. Tonight we got just shy of the Yellowstone NP border and since we don’t have a permit to stay inside the park, have to camp here. Tomorrow the plan is to go 27 miles then hitch into Grant Village where we’ll stay at a pay campground before meeting with a ranger to get our permit situation taken care of. Moose! Boring horses 

Day 95     8/2     27 miles 

Today was quite pleasant. We immediately crossed the border into Yellowstone NP and this morning was rather crisp. Shortly after entering the park we had to cross the Snake River and it was SO COLD!! Plus it wasn’t an easy crossing, in order to avoid going up to our waists we had to walk diagonally through the river where the shallower parts were. My feet thawed after an hour or so and the rest of the morning we spent walking alongside the Snake River and then the Heart River. Treeman caught up to us after lunch and we walked together for a few miles while he told us about his misadventures walking the wrong way yesterday. Queen B and I stopped at Heart Lake to swim this afternoon and shortly afterwards ran into HoHo and Chicory who are hiking south. I’ve been on the same trails as these two for the last couple years but didn’t meet them until CDT Days in April this year. We’re starting to come across a fair amount of southbound hikers(sobos) and I would say they’ve got the right idea. If I was to hike this trail again I would probably hike south. After Heart Lake the trail turns right past a geyser field. All this geothermal activity doesn’t make much sense to me but it sure is cool to see. QB listened to a podcast about it once and told me how Yellowstone is an active super volcano and we’re walking right through the caldera.Crazy! We got to Grant Village this evening and since we didn’t have backcountry permits for tonight had to use the hiker walk in site at the campground here.the Snake RiverQB bathing in Heart Lake silly elk walked right into our campsite 

Day 96     8/3     24 miles 

I figured we wouldn’t have a problem getting permits to camp where we wanted for tonight so after breakfast we went into the ranger office to get that taken care of. Boy was I mistaken! We encountered a mean scary park ranger and she was not very accommodating for thru hikers. Now we had to figure out a way to hike through Yellowstone on our own terms without breaking any rules. So we hitchhiked north to Old Faithful Village and got a great ride from Tom and Kathleen, then walked south for 24 miles back to the Heart Lake trailhead where Colt and his family stuffed us into their car and brought us back to Grant Village. We ran into Mac and Appa at the restaurant and camped with them at the hiker walk in site. We were lucky the trail today was flat and easy because we didn’t get started until almost 11 and still had to walk a bunch of miles. There were barely any people in the backcountry and we came across an awesome geyser field just north of Shoshone Lake and had it all to ourselves. Tomorrow we’ll hitch again to OFV and rejoin the trail, hiking north and out of the park. Had a geyser field to ourselvesI crossed this river and it only went up to my ankles, QB decided to go her own wayShoshone Lake

Day 97     8/4     20 miles

This morning we broke camp and got two quick hitches back to where we got on trail yesterday but this time we’ll be heading north again. After about a mile we reached Old Faithful Village and saw the famous geyser erupt in the distance as we crossed the parking lot. We joined Bears, Flip Flop, and Tree Man at the buffet breakfast then went outside with the crowds to watch another Old Faithful eruption. QB and I did a minor resupply then checked out the museum in the lodge and watched a short film about geysers. When we left the lodge we were just in time for another eruption of the main attraction. 3 times in one day! I didn’t realize it until getting here but there is way cooler stuff besides O.F. here. Yellowstone is home to 2/3’s of the planet’s geysers(I learned this in the short film), and we walked along a bunch of them as well as these wicked cool looking hot springs. Check out my pictures below. The trail followed boardwalks around a lot these springs and geysers and after a few miles it cut left and we climbed up out of the caldera of the Yellowstone super volcano. Immediately after turning left we were alone. After seeing hundreds of people this morning at the village we saw a total of 6 others the rest of the day and that included 2 rangers on horseback. We stopped at Summit Lake for a swim this afternoon then walked through a wide open burn area before leaving Wyoming and crossing into Idaho. I loved Wyoming! The trail was diverse and incredible, the people were super friendly, and the towns unique and interesting. One of my favorite states I’ve ever walked through, I’ll be back for sure. The trail follows along the Idaho/Montana border for the next few hundred miles so I’ll be back and forth between these two states before leaving Idaho and heading the rest of the way to Canada through just Montana. We don’t have a permit for camping in Yellowstone tonight so after we crossed into Idaho we still had to go 3 more miles to get outside the Western Boundary of the park and that’s where we set up for the night. Old Faithful doing its thingwalked to Idaho, nbd 

Day 98     8/5     19 miles so far

We got up this morning and have just been walking all day getting into the small resort town of Island Park, ID shortly before 2. Today consisted of a lot of road walking and although it’s not the most exciting I’m ok with some flat easy miles. We’ve got a few chores to do while in town and I heard there’s a good Mexican restaurant but the plan is not to stay here and to just carry on a few more miles this evening. First Idaho Sunset 

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Until next time,

Endless

PS All My Love!!!