Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 75 – Is this the CDT?

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We got so ridiculously lucky with weather today, it’s not even funny. Any later, we would have been hammered by storms south of Targhee Pass, and earlier, we would have gotten hammered around Lionshead Mountain. But we got Baby Bear’s weather, just right.

We slept just late enough that it was a little bit of a scramble for Scott to get some work done and to get packed up by the 10am checkout time. Not stressful, but we definitely had an eye on the clock. We pulled our bikes out of the cabin at 10:01. A quick trip to the post office sent our bounce box off, a not so quick trip to Running Bear had us filled with breakfast.


And just like that, we bade West Yellowstone good-bye and headed north on the highway for a mile before turning off on a nice dirt road towards Reas Pass where six miles later, we rejoined the CDT.

Dear CDT, I missed you.


It was a warm welcome back, beautifully constructed trail through the woods, focused but not impossible climbing, and the descent down to Targhee, oh the descent. It was some of the nicest trail we’ve ridden this trip. Not a rock to be seen anywhere.

From Targhee, Scott said, “Up.”


But it was well constructed, machine built trail. Nice switchbacks, perfect climbing grade. We broke free of the trees and admired the view. We could see West Yellowstone far down the valley, we could see the exit cliffs of Yellowstone National Park, we could see a giant storm bearing down on us.


Nothing to do but keep going and hope it missed us.


Fighting a bonk, we stopped in a field to eat, reasoning that if we were going to get wet, we were going to get wet. Might as well not be bonking when we got wet. We listened to the rumbles of thunder as we ate, the wind picked up, sprinkles came down.

And then it disappeared. Or went west of us. I’m not sure, but I wasn’t going to argue. We kept climbing the ridge towards Lionshead, blown away by the views, by the still perfectly ridable trail. Is this real? Is this really the CDT? There are switchbacks…the CDT doesn’t believe in switchbacks.


A rumbling storm sat on the Lionshead summit as we approached…and then it too moved west just as we started climbing the higher reaches of it in earnest. We could still hear the thunder, but it had passed and was moving rapidly away from us. Winning!

The trail mercifully missed the summit, going only as high as needed to clear the shoulder and drop down into the next valley. Endless switchbacks. Ridable switchbacks. We giggled and giggled and giggled.


Was that for real?

We found some water at the bottom in a giant valley and made our way to a ridge to set up camp. The sky is clearing, the sun came out and lit up some of the peaks. I think it’s going to be a beautiful day of bikepacking tomorrow.


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