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This week, we’re featuring a stunning series of landscapes captured in Glacier National Park from film photographer Jill Bridgeman. Here is more from Jill about her time hiking a portion of the Continental Divide Trail…
Backpacking the full CDT through Montana has been a dream of mine since moving here, but the demands of life and the difficulties of securing backcountry permits in Glacier motivated my husband and I to tackle the trail in sections instead. Our first attempt was a 40+ mile stretch through the southeast corner of Glacier in August 2019.
Montana weather can be volatile. In the three summers I’ve lived here, summers have ranged anywhere from hot and smoky, to wet and rainy, to something a little in between. But we couldn’t have asked for better weather on this trip. Conditions were light and dry, and it was just cool enough to keep us from overheating during the day.
All of the vegetation was green and lush, which was no surprise given the wet summer we’ve had in the Montana Rockies this year. Fireweed, purple asters, and paintbrush ranging from bright orange to fuchsia dotted the landscape. And there were so many huckleberries. YUM. Big fuzzy black caterpillars munched on leaves. Dragonflies and butterflies floated about. The black flies and horse flies were brutally annoying. On the first night of the trip, a horse fly bit the top of my foot. A small price to pay, I guess, for spending some time in the backcountry. Plus, there was no harm done besides my foot being sore and itchy AF for a few days.
Every time I spend a few days in the wilderness, I always learn something new. One of the most unexpected things I learned on this trip was that I actually could enjoy jumping into an ice cold alpine lake at the end of a long hiking day. Cheers to more adventures and more CDT trekking in the future!