Archives for August 2015

Continental Divide Trail #22: Glacier to CANADA!!

Our final section of the CDT started at the Two Medicine Ranger’s Station in Glacier National Park where the Ranger said “Guys, you’re screwed!” (or words to that effect). The Reynolds fire still burning and the Thompson fire exploding to 15,000 acres, on two sides of the CDT, cut off their final piece of the trail toward Canada.

Porter and Problem Bear studied alternate routes and applied for Glacier camping permits with full confidence that a solution would present Herself.

2And so she did! Thru-hikers weren’t allowed to walk through the burned areas, but could be driven. Driving through the burnt forest was eerie. So here we are–Problem Bear, Gail, Porter, and Maverick, in 40 degrees and sleeting rain at Logan Pass.


They hiked their new route toward Canada on the Highline Trail, a spectacularly scenic trail blasted out of the side of a rock cliff.

Unfortunately, they were told by Rangers at their Granite Park campsite that due to a new fire on the west side of Waterton Lake they couldn’t enter Canada on the CDT.

Undeterred, they decided to take a much longer, steeper route to the Canadian border at Chief Mountain. By this time, Beacon, Problem Bear, and Maverick had given Porter his trail-name: OG!

However, with three big fires now burning in Glacier National Park, they were intercepted partway to Chief Mountain by Rangers sent out to look for them. They were personally escorted by Park Service Trail Crew to Goat Haunt, where they were forced to take a boat that night to Waterton.

Congratulations, Porter “OG” Storey, for making it from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada! We’re looking forward to next summer’s completion of the Colorado section impassable last spring because of snowpack.

Here we are under the Canadian flag at Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. We’re deeply grateful.  Thank you all for your encouragement and support!


Continental Divide Trail #21: Trail Angel Gail

My job as Porter’s trail angel–support and resupply person on his 3,100-mile hike of the Continental Divide Trail, calls for me to be driver, travel agent, computer geek, luggage handler, and social butterfly. I’ve never felt so self-actualized in my life!

Each new segment of my tasks begins with driving Porter to a remote trailhead, where he sets his satellite tracker so I can track his latitude and longitude.

I drive back out and to the next town where I get ready for his next resupply. I unload fourteen of our sixteen pieces of luggage from the car–for Porter: five bags of food resupplies, suitcase of town clothes, computer bag, and for me: suitcase, fitness bag (yoga mat, bolster, block, etc.), household bag (vitamins, medicinals, thermos, etc.), food, laundry bag, car bag (rain gear, water, snacks), and traveling office (laptop, maps, CDT guides, reservation info., reading). The fifteenth bag contains copies of my book, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, that I sell or give away on the road. And the sixteenth piece of luggage is Porter’s backpack, which he’s carrying, thank heaven.

Over the last five months, I’ve unloaded and reloaded the car for twenty-five different lodgings–hotels, motels, cottages, and cabins. I spend a chunk of my time in town poring over maps of the route ahead, reading lodging reviews online, making reservations, and changing reservations umpteen times for the constant changes in our schedule. More often than not, Porter is ahead of schedule because he’s hiking increasingly faster and from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., so it’s all good.

Each day, I go on a hike of my own, here at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. I also practice yoga and meditate. If there are no hiking trails nearby, I walk all over the town to learn about it and get to know the people.

One of the most important parts of being Porter’s support person is following his progress through pings sent from his satellite tracker to my laptop. I call it “following his dots,” because each dot represents a successive latitude and longitude. If his dots aren’t moving up the trail, he could be injured or his tracker could be lying at the bottom of a river he forded. As long as he has his tracker, though, he can push the SOS button to call Search and Rescue if he’s seriously hurt. In any case, when someone asks “Do you know where your husband is?” I can say with impunity, “Yes!”

Porter also uses his satellite communicator to send me a brief message regarding the day and approximate time of his arrival at the next remote trailhead for pick-up. I set off into the wild blue yonder to look for him. I’ve learned to use the Guthooks app that CDT hikers use to let them know whether they’re anywhere near the imaginary route called the Continental Divide Trail. It’s not the line on a map, I’ll tell you that.

I drive for hours on farm and ranch roads without seeing anyone but cows. They slow my progress on bumpy dirt roads from ten miles an hour to one.

But as Amber says, “The trail angels must go through.”

We retrieve Porter from the wilderness and bring him to his next resupply town, here East Glacier Park, Montana, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. We celebrate with other CDT hikers, including Maverick, Beacon, and Problem Bear.

Continental Divide Trail #20: Bob Marshall Wilderness, MT

Porter has been looking forward to the long stretch of the Scapegoat Wilderness and Bob Marshall Wilderness all through New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. It proved to be as magnificent and wild as anticipated. He saw three grizzly bears–a mother and her cubs. Porter and his hiking buddy stayed at a respectful distance of fifty yards while the mother grizzly hustled her cubs up the mountainside.

Porter looks from the Scapegoat toward the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Mountain in the Scapegoat at sunrise.

Porter hikes beneath the Bob Marshall’s 1000-foot tall, 40-mile long Chinese Wall.

Meanwhile, Gail summited Montana’s Mount Helena.

As for Amber, she sat in bed in her hotel room and ordered room service. Asked how many glasses she would like with her two bottles of bubbly, she said “One, please.”

Continental Divide Trail #19: Susie Lindau’s Fitness Challenge!

Amber and I accepted Susie Lindau’s Wild Rider Fitness Challenge to get fit through outdoor adventure! Readers of my book, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, know that I lost 22 pounds on 7,000 calories a day while hiking the PCT. But as trail angels supporting my husband Porter’s hike of the Continental Divide Trail, 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, we gotta have our own adventures while driving hours from trail-town to town and partying on the road.
We hiked in the Wind River Range of Wyoming!

Because hotel breakfasts.

We swam in hotel pools in Colorado.

cBecause margaritas in New Mexico!

We practiced yoga overlooking a river in Idaho.

Because hot fudge sundaes everywhere!

We climbed high passes for this view of the Tetons.

Because chocolate!

Amber and I recovered from our adventures in hot springs from New Mexico to Montana. Thanks, Susie! Fitness is a tough job but someone’s got to do it!