Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mon, 12Aug - Goldstone Pass and the Bitterroot Mtns

First half of the day was a gentle shaded hike through the forest.  A few miles from Goldstone Pass I broke out into the sun on open ridgeline with great views and rocky piles of rocks steeply knife edging the divide.  Grand views of the Bitterroot Valley below and mountains around me on the miles on both sides of the pass.

At the pass I chose the brand new CDT trail option finished in 2012 that climbed the divide ridgeline and was in fantastic shape.  The new trail had some amazing trail work including many winding switchbacks built into the rocky terrain.  The original route stays low and avoids the climb and rocky terrain.

While on the ridge the sky darkened and thunder crackled constantly so I hurried to descend the switchbacks but only got a light sprinkle and the lightning never seemed to reach the ground.  The storm passed as I ascended the next ridge and I was happy to miss the rain.  At the end of the day, descending to the valley below and water, I found the ground saturated with puddles and vegetation soaked.  It must have poured rain in the valley.  Camping by a little stream a mile or so from where the new route meets the old.

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