Next on the Continental Divide Trail was a four day hike from Lincoln, MT to McDonald Pass and nearby Helena, MT. On this section is trail my hiking companion was Elevated, a hiker from Australia.
Most of the trail follows the Continental Divide through Helena National Forest. Hiking is often along ridges above the tree line with wonderful scenic views.
On the second day we dropped down off the Divide on the Nevada Creek Trail to find water as storm clouds started to roll in. We decided to camp early in the relative shelter of a small valley as the winds blew, rain and later hail started to fall, along with loud thunder and lightning. I was very glad not to be on the ridgeline in all the weather. The next morning was a clear but cold and the weather had been good since.
On the third day we reached Dana Spring and had a chance to visit with our first Montana cows at the water trough there. These are the first cows I’ve seen since New Mexico. They seem somehow friendlier up here and very comfortable around hikers. The cows didn’t seem to mind sharing the water trough, but they didn’t move out of the way either.
We reached McDonald Pass and easily found a ride into Helena and checked into the hiker favorite Budget Inn Express motel. I will be taking a zero day here to rest, buy new shoes, and resupply.