Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day 31: Bison Mountain to MacDonald Pass (Helena, MT)

Rain pounded the tent all night. We donned wet clothing, packed up sodden gear, and headed back out into the storm. We squished and sloshed our way down the trail, an endless string of mud and deep puddles. 

A grouse, perfectly camouflaged against the rusty pine needles carpeting the ground, eyed us suspiciously, then continued to peck at the ground as though we weren't there. A few miles down the trail, we followed suit, bending low to the ground to forage for wild strawberries. 

The rain stopped by late morning. We hung the tent up to dry at lunch.  Some of the excess water slowly dripped from the tent, but thick, gray storm clouds still blocked the sun, keeping the tent from drying completely. Worse still, I noticed that the large hole at the top of my pack (where the fabric had worn through due to excessive use and prolonged sun exposure) was growing, allowing rain to drip into my pack. 

With a long, slow rumble, the sky opened. We scrambled for cover under the nearest trees while we put on raingear.  Unfortunately, the trees we selected were bare, and provided no respite from the torrents of rain now pouring from above. And even the raingear did not stop the rain from seeping into our shoes, leaving our feet wrinkled up like raisins. 

The rain stopped before we reached MacDonald Pass, where we quickly got a ride to Helena, the capitol of Montana. 

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