Continental Divide Trail – Day 119
September 19, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 24.4 / 2200.6
It started out cold this morning and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag. I did get around and was on the trail a little after 7:00.
The trail continued through burned forest for most of the morning. It followed the ridge line again and I had some good views, but mostly of burnt forest. There were a few areas that the fire must have skipped over and left the forest intact.
About 11:30 I was walking through one of these unburned areas when I heard a big crash just to my left. I looked over and there was a grizzly bear in the woods about 20’ from me. I ran a few steps then remembered I wasn’t supposed to run and turned around to face the bear while walking backwards away from it and got my bear spray out.
Fortunately he really didn’t seem to care what I did and just stood there and looked at me. Once I was a safe distance away, I got out my phone and took some video of the bear. By then he had climbed up on a log and was sniffing the air. He probably smelled me and didn’t like what he smelled or he was telling me to get away. He stepped down off the log in my direction and I backed away even more, finally turning and walking away using my phone as a rear view mirror to make sure he didn’t follow me.
The trail dropped down off the mountain top and after about 2 miles I stopped to eat lunch. After eating I ran into a couple of elk hunters near a stream and stopped and talked with them for awhile.
Back on the trail it continued the ups and downs through the burned forest. I came through one area that had a huge amount of dead trees laying across the trail. I had to climb over and around about 100 trees over the next 3 miles.
The trail finally got better with just the occasional down tree across to be trail. Due to to large amount of burned trees both down and still standing I had a hard time finding a place to camp. I eventually found a spot and setup just as it was getting dark.