Starting my Triple Crown Trail – the Continental Divide

This morning we were up early in Tonya‘s RV and got everything packed up to head to the train station. Today we’re going to get a train from West Glacier to East Glacier so that we can leave a resupply boxes at East glacier, and then start the trail. We said goodbye to Tonya/Monarch at the train station and thanked her for everything. She has been so incredibly helpful and accommodating these last couple of days.

Then we waited for the train on the platform outside. This morning was freezing cold. It was a bit of a wake up call for all of us. I’m so glad that I got a pair of pants at the gear shop last night. The weather the first couple of days in the park was fantastic. But it’s looking like we’re going to be getting some rough weather this next week. My ultralight kit certainly doesn’t have everything that I need for a snowstorm. That’s something I didn’t see coming.

We boarded the train and the ride was surprisingly scenic. We followed along the same river which we drove along through the park the other day. I was pretty tired but excited to get to East glacier and begin our trip. I stared out the window for a while and then rested my eyes for a little bit. The train ride wound up being about an hour long and before we knew it we were in East glacier.

The first CDT marker I’ve seen on trail! Right by the Looking Glass Hostel in East Glacier.

We got off at the train platform and were surprised to see a bunch of other CDT hikers! Then about 7 of us walked over to Looking Glass Hostel together. This hostel has been operating for a few years and is very accommodating to hikers. Originally, we had planned to stay here one night. But because of permits we wound up staying in West glacier for another night. So instead of staying here today, we’re just going to leave our food resupply to pick up in approximately six days. Then we’ve arranged a shuttle to pick us up at the hostel and take us to chief mountain where we can tag the Canadian border and start the continental divide trail.

The hiker board at Looking Glass Hostel. So few SOBOs have started!

The family that runs the Looking Glass hostel was incredibly nice. Their young son runs the tour around the property and was eccentric and adorable. It was a very welcoming and pleasant environment. It made me sad that we weren’t able to stay there. But maybe we’ll wind up staying here when we walk through East glacier in about a week. Once we checked in and spoke to the people we paid five dollars per bag to leave two bags of food at the hostel. That way when we get back to East glacier hiking thru we won’t have to pay a bunch of money to resupply at the local grocery store.

Nine Lives giving some permit advice to a hiker at the Looking Glass Hostel.

After we got all that settled we walked down the street to a pizza place to get some lunch. Then our shuttle came at noon to take us to the Canadian border. Our shuttle driver was incredibly sweet and very knowledgeable about the area and its tribal history. She told us about the tribe and the circumstances surrounding the land being taken from the Blackfoot people 100+ years ago. The ride to chief Mountain trailhead was beautiful, and we drove through the reservation along the way. Then, as we made our way up to the mountain, we got exceptional views of the mountain itself in the distance.

My CDT hiker tag on my palante pack.

When we got dropped off at the parking lot we walked over to the monument by the border and were able to walk from the US side to the Canadian side. It was so funny being back at the Canadian border once again, this time in a completely different part of the country. But both times I’ve stood at the Canadian border I’ve done so with plans to walk across the country. Last year, finishing the Appalachian Trail was an exciting experience, but it wasn’t a very emotional one for me. But when I finally made it to the Canadian border and crossed from Maine into New Brunswick , that was a very emotional experience. Now here I am again in a different state crossing into Canada briefly. Rather than hiking there for a couple of months, I’m going to begin my journey to Mexico.

Back at the Canadian border once again on foot! This time headed south to Mexico.

Our shuttle driver took some photos of us at the monument which was very nice of her. Then we all took turns taking photos of one another at the monument. Monument photos are pretty iconic thing in the hiking community. So all of us wanted to get a good one. When I went up to have my photo taken, my hat flew off my head and went about 20 feet down a hill behind the monument. I had to climb down through thorny bushes to get my hat, before even starting the trail. That was hilarious and Tripod even got a picture of me when the hat flew off my head.

Starting my triple crown trail, the continental divide!

Once all of us took an incredibly large number of photos we are ready to start walking. We walked from the monument back to the parking lot and then got on the continental divide trail. This is the chief mountain alternate, and isn’t technically the original redline. But even still, this is a recognized route by the continental divide conservancy and was a blazed trail. In years with high snowfall, it’s very common that hikers have to take the chief mountain alternate rather than entering and beginning the continental divide somewhere around Waterton. I had gotten permits a couple of months ago and we planned to enter around Waterton. But the snow conditions were too dangerous there for us to begin our hike from there. Maybe one day if I hike the CDT again I’ll begin my hike at Waterton so I can do the CDT red line route. But for now I’m just happy to be starting the trail! I didn’t want to wait a couple weeks for the trail conditions to clear, personally.

At the US/Canadian monument by chief mountain in Montana.

Tripod, Nine Lives, and myself at the Canadian monument.

We were hiking by 1:30pm and it felt so good to be on trail. It’s a little bit hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m going to be walking across the country once again. For some reason all of those emotions seem to always be the same. It doesn’t matter how many times you start a thru hike apparently. The trail was incredibly well manicured to start and we were walking through a beautiful pine forest. The air smelt fantastic and the weather was perfect.

There were beautiful views almost as soon as I step foot onto the CDT.

Within the first couple of miles we were walking past crystal clear rivers and lakes. I was shocked at how incredible the views were right at the start of the trail. We walked past gorgeous lakes with mountains in the distance. All the mountains were white on top from snow and looked so beautiful, even though they are going to be one of our greatest obstacles on this trail. The trail was lined with lush green grass and filled with wildflowers. It seems like everything is just starting to bloom. What perfect timing for us.

A gorgeous river weaving through a lush green valley.

There were small climbs here and there along the trail, but generally it was a very mild first day. We didn’t have any significant elevation gain, and won’t be doing our first mountain pass until tomorrow morning. That meant we could take our time, enjoy ourselves, and take lots of photos. But the hiking felt comfortable and easy so all of us just wanted to keep going.

The first few miles on the trail reminded me a lot of the PCT in Washington state.

Before we knew it we gone about 6 mile. Along the way we ran into a couple other hikers but sadly they were just doing a two day trip. When we got to the trail junction to their campsite we said goodbye to our new friends and continued along. About a mile or so before we got to our campsite we passed another incredible view. We had been walking along our a narrow ridge line following along a river. At this point in time we were up above the river with an epic mountain across from the distance.

Today felt like an absolute dream after hiking for ~1,700 miles across flat ground in Alabama and Florida only 5 months ago.

One of the things that has surprised me the most so far on this trail is the color of the mountains. The one in front of us at this very moment was bright orange and sandy looking. I’ve never seen a mountain like that in this type of environment before. It just wasn’t what I was expecting to see. In the far distance for most of the day we saw those classic gray snowcapped mountains. That’s more so what I was imagining.

The gorgeous sandy mountain which beckoned us to stop and take a break right before our camp site.

All of us wound up sitting above this river across from the sandy mountain for quite some time. It was a perfect place to take a quick break and have a snack before getting to camp. We knew that some of our friends were already at the campsite, so eventually, we continue along. It wasn’t long before we got to the junction for the Lake Elizabeth campground. The way that the campgrounds are set up here in glacier is that there are different designated zones within the campsite. When you first walk in, there’s a sitting and eating area. You’re supposed to get all of your scented items out of your bag in this area and then put them either in a box or hang them from designated lines. But you’re not supposed to take any of those scent items to the tenting area. That strategy to help prevent grizzly bear encounters at the campsites.

A questionable bridge that we crossed about 7 miles into the day.

This bridge was so incredibly shakey and certainly unsafe for more than one hiker at a time.

When we arrived in the eating area of the campsite, there were a bunch of hikers there already. Gas Monkey and Nana Man were already there. It was so nice to see them again! The last time I saw Gas Monkey was down on the Florida trail after I finished the ECT last year. And the last time I saw Nana Man was about a month ago at trail days down in Virginia. We hung out there with everyone and got all the scented items out of our bags. I went through a bunch of different bags containing first aid, personal care items, as well as my fanny pack and any other areas. I really didn’t want to forget anything and accidentally take scented items to the tenting are. Then we walked to pick out a campsite.

This was the nicest campsite that I’ve ever stayed at before. I think even during my entire hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and my entire time spent driving my vehicle around the country for two years, I’ve never stayed at a nicer campsite.

The layout of the Lake Elizabeth camp site.

When you left the eating and food storage portion of the campsite you had to walk a few hundred feet. Then you got to multiple campsites. The first few campsites were all taken because we arrived after everybody. Nana Man, Gas Monkey, and their friends were set up at the first sight. We wound up walking to the fourth side which was the furthest away from the food storage. But none of us were mad about that. And all of the campsites were only about 20 yards away from Lake Elizabeth.

Views from Lake Elizabeth, right by our tent site.

The site that we wound up setting up at was the perfect size for three times. Plus Nine Lives and I both have one person tents so there’s plenty of space. The three of us all got our tents set up and then we walked down by the lake. The views were unbelievable and I truly couldn’t believe that we were going to be setting up here for the night to camp. The lake was surrounded by stunning cliffs on both sides.

Once all of us got set up we walked back to the cooking area to hang out with everybody. I knew that Nana Man and Gas Monkey were going to be here, but I really didn’t expect so many other hikers to be here tonight. It was so so nice to eat dinner and hang out with a bunch of hikers.

I’m carrying so much food so I decided to eat something big for dinner. I wasn’t sure if I was going be able to take down a whole knorr side dish, so I wound up making a sandwich instead. I packed out a whole avocado, sourdough bread, mayo, and mustard packets. I haven’t eaten a tuna packet since my shakedown hike for the PCT in 2022. The last time I ate a tuna packet, I threw it up down the side of a mountain. Last year on the entire ECT I never had one tuna packet. I mostly ate pastries and hostess items for majority of the year. This year I’m trying to go back to some of my hiking food roots and eat more nutritious food.

I made the most perfect sandwich and somehow managed to eat the entire thing without dropping it all over the place. I was extra cautious because we’re so close to our campsite and we’re in grizzly country now. After I ate I cleaned up and put the rest of my food into the bear box. Then all of us hung out talking and goofing off until around 8pm. Apparently there is supposed to be some rain tomorrow in the late afternoon so we’re all going to try to have an early start to beat the weather. Everybody had a pretty early night.

A beautiful waterfall that we passed right before getting to camp. None of us saw it listed on the map so it was a complete surprise!

A double rainbow right next to the waterfall. Everything about today was absolutely perfect.

Back in my tent I did my stretching routine and went through some of the photos from today. I did a small bit of writing before calling it a night. It wound up being one of the most comfortable and relaxing nights in my tent that I’ve ever had.

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Comments 9

  • Jenny : Jun 29th

    Glad you are back on trail and bringing us along. Glacier is one of the most beautiful parks – you will hike and take pictures constantly! Enjoy.

  • Alex : Jun 29th


    Thanks for the post. I am so glad that you are hiking again so I can get my Peg-Legg fix. I love your writing. Enjoy each and every day.

    Take care and keep on trucking.


  • David O. : Jun 29th

    Hi and bye, Peg. I valued your posts from Bama to Baxter and beyond. I love the country you’ll be going through now, the US Rockies being my old stomping grounds, but has gotten downright abusive with intrusive ads and I can’t put up with that. You’ve great adventure and new horizons ahead. Go well!

    • Holly : Jun 30th

      You are so right. Trek is now the most annoying thing I ever look at online. I went from looking at it daily to looking at it maybe once a week. It’s a shame. I call them seizure ads, popping up all over my screen, blocking my view, flashing on and off, they really are despicable and shame on Trek.

  • David Odell : Jun 29th

    Good luck on your CDT hike and finishing your Triple Crown. David Odell AT71 PCT72 CDT77

  • Lin : Jun 30th

    Great to have you back! Following yet another epic journey of yours. Be safe out there. ❤

  • GKLott : Jun 30th

    Great start, text, and images. Wish you to have great miles ahead.

  • Yam : Jun 30th

    Bueno, I am going to add you to my top 10 of all hikers I have followed. Great writing, wonderful, gorgeous pictures. Thanks for doing what you do. So happy to be following you vicariously. Being selfish but I do home the Hayduke is on your radar for some day in the future.

  • Dee : Jun 30th

    What an adventure you are about to embark on. You and Ranger (Beer in Beautiful Places) were the two I followed on the Trek last year, and although work prevents a thru hiker for me, your postings encouraged me to do a LASH of the AT starting on Sept. 6th. See you are a great influence on others.


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