Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day 27: Pipestone Pass to Off the Map

Smooth trail through cool pine forest and over flat ridge tops crowned with interesting rock formations made for wonderful hiking this morning. With the tread of numerous knobby tires imprinted into the soft dirt trail, we sped around each corner dreaming of mountain biking. If we had access to bikes here, it would be difficult to resist the lure of a mountain biking zero day. 

We walked off the map around midday, continuing our hike on a new section of the CDT that has not yet been added to our GPS track or maps. Fortunately, the trail is well marked with CDT signs, and was easy to follow. 

We discovered a single, bright red raspberry on a bush next to the trail. It exploded in my mouth in a burst of sweet, juicy flavor. 

A rich, chocolate brown mother moose nudged her small, tan calf up the trail. 

Dark clouds gathered and the wind whipped into a frenzy. Thunder rippled across the sky, and we trudged on into a steady rain.

The enormous white statue of Our Lady of the Rockies, the third largest statue in the United States, sits perched on top of the mountains, standing guard protectively over the valley below. We caught glimpses of her throughout the afternoon, working our way ever closer. 

The clouds opened up again just as we stopped to set up camp. We set up the tent quickly, in a driving rain, then threw our sodden gear inside. 

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