Right into the Gates of Hell
The Abridged Version
Section 2 kicked off with the most harrowing bridge crossing of my life. The half mile, seemingly never ending, Koocanusa bridge. The longest and tallest in Montana. It sits 270 feet high so I would deem it un-jumpable. The wind absolutely howls across it creating a nice vibration and high pitch sound that gives you confidence in its construction. Peering over the side gave me instant vertigo. The Koocanusa bridge is an astounding engineering marvel and blah blah blah but it has the stupidest name. The first three letters from the Kootenai River, Canada, and USA were all smashed together.
That’s enough description of something that is a man made object. Because of the wildfires we were walking into a gray haze. It sapped all the moisture from our bodies and it continually smelled like we were in a campfire. We were walking through the Purcell Mountains and you might be wondering, well how was it? And I couldn’t really tell ya, barely got to see them. For a nice overview I would direct you to the Pacific Northwest Trail Association’s website. It just felt like we were at the end of a video game map and the rest of the scenery wouldn’t load. Due to the haze we decided to skip the Northwest Peak alternate route, we didn’t see the point when we could barely see over the next ridge line. That was wholly negative so let me offer you some non hiking positives from this section.
Dreaming of Falling Off a Cliff
We are all way too comfortable in our beds at night, there is no thrill or danger. We countered this by spending the night at Mt. Henry’s decommissioned fire lookout tower. The entire structure was shaking all night because of some gale force winds. There were definitely a couple moments of pure fear where I thought we were toppling off the ridge. But still better than pitching a tent up there where we surely would have been carried off. We were rewarded for our bravery with a beautiful sunrise.
That’ll Get You to Dark, Then What?
This iconic and insightful line was delivered to us by a Yaak, MT local as we were packing up our resupply. Our plan was to hike only 5ish miles to a local swim spot with an alleged 40 feet cliff jump. So we packed out two 6-packs for three people. That was when this local delivered that line of infinite wisdom and he was dead on. We ran out of beer later that night right before dark, and then what? We went to bed, there was nothing else to do.
The Best Resort We Couldn’t Stay At
The Feist Creek Resort is truly one of the gems of the PNT. It’s a bar, restaurant and motel but the rooms are only rented to railroad workers. The place is run by Clif and Julie; Clif’s drink of choice is the White Russian and he has forever replaced The Dude when I think of White Russians. When we walked up Julie greeted us outside with a “Hikers aren’t welcome here”, my heart dropped, but she was only kidding. She immediately invited us inside and we sat at the bar and were treated with such friendliness and kindliness that it felt like we had been going there for years. Even if you don’t plan on hiking the PNT you should go visit the Feist Creek Resort.
The Selkirk Mountains await us.
Beard Growth: not great but I still get treated with decent human kindness by strangers
Bears Seen: Still Zero
How far am I behind on these posts: Very
Till next time,
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