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!


59 comments on “Continental Divide Trail #22: Glacier to CANADA!!

  1. WELL DONE !! What troupers. Glad you got through the Bitterroot when you did..dispite the drenching. We are suffocating in smoke from fires in all directions. At one point today I had only a mIle or so visability.
    Get Amber an ice cream cone at that little shop in Waterton.

    • Barbara, yes, we’re sorry about the fires in the Bitterroot, so lucky to have made it through there before those. We’re on our three-day drive home and it was quite smoky in Montana and even Wyoming.

  2. Bravo!! Bravissimo! Hooray and Huzzah! So glad Porter “OG” and Problem Bear made it safely into Canada. Nothing quite so dramatic as having a marine escort! (it’s sad to hear though that the west side of Waterton lake is threatened or already on fire.) So happy for all of you; you must be ‘high’ as a kite.

    Thanks for posting! Mary

    • Thanks so much, Mary! Yes, and Waterton was on alert to evacuate, but didn’t have to since the fire was eventually under control, and we hope it stays that way.

  3. Wow! Congratulations to all of you. It’s wonderful to see the smiles in this post, and despite the fires you made the best of it. What an adventure and accomplishment. It’s good to connect with rangers so they keep an eye out for the hikers.

    What does OG stand for? Oh Greatest, maybe.

    Much love!

    • Sue, thank you, and for the explanation of Porter’s trail name OG, see my reply to Ina Sue Fox. I’ve also been given a trail name: Her Gloriousness. LOL!

    • Porter’s hiking partner from Yellowstone to Canada, Problem Bear, proved to be very well known to other thru-hikers they met on the trail, since Problem Bear has hiked the International AT (from Key West to Nova Scotia), PCT, and now CDT. They soon became referred to by thru-hikers as “Problem Bear and the Other Guy.” Beacon, the author of the invaluable CDT Data Book that everyone uses for mileage and water calculations, told me over breakfast with Porter, Problem Bear, and Maverick, that they’d given Porter the trail name of the Other Guy, shortened to OG. Porter grunted in approval, “Me OG!” It suits him so well I’ve taken to calling him OG myself!

      • Gail–I’m finally getting back to re-read your final post which I read again with my jaw on thr keyboard! 😉 OG and his fellow hikers were a force not to be stopped!! Thanks for the great back story on Porter’s trail name.

        Just got news today that FROST–who left Grand Lake on a frosty morning there — has decided to wrap up his CDT hike when he gets to Rawlins, WY after weighing many variables and pondering it all. He too will now have the rest of the CDT to look forward to hiking next year.

        Congratulations again to all 3 of you intrepid adventurers! May you enjoy restful and relaxing times upon arriving home with many grand memories made over the past 5 months!

        • Ina Sue, great to have this news about FROST. By the way, I did pass along his greetings to Problem Bear, who was glad to receive them and remembered him well!

  4. Congratulations you two!!!! I’m elated for you both! I was hanging on to that last report, detail by detail. Holy cow!!! What faith and trust and beautiful display of in-the-moment brilliance.

    Hope you get to sit on a couch, get massages, and sleep alot for a little while!

    • Molly, thank you so much! I especially appreciate your writerly response to my post, since I was putting it together after a long day of driving and before dinner at 9 pm! Can hardly wait for your forthcoming book, Learning to Walk in India!

  5. Congratulations! Just goes to prove that when one plan doesn’t work another is just around the corner. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Puts the average traffic jam in perspective.

  6. There just aren’t words to express my admiration for your both ( er…three)! Deep peace to you. And rest well for a bit now, huh?!?! Lots of love, patti

    • Patti, yes, we need rest desperately! It’s a three-day drive home from Canada to Boulder but we’re on our way after dropping off Maverick on day 1 and Problem Bear on day 2. Someday I’ll catch you for more leg-wrestling, LOL!

  7. Congratulations to Porter and his indefatigable support team of one wonderful wife and one small unflappable doll. Like so many of your friends — on-line and real-life — I’ve loved sharing your journey. Can’t wait to see you when you’ve returned to Boulder.

  8. Congratulations to you both. The end was harrowing but it makes a great story showing your undaunted spirit to succeed in spite of all natural obstacles!

  9. Wow! Congratulations! By way of Chief Mountain! That is really a detour, but you may have been walking the path used by native peoples moving south to populate the American continents. I have searched for dinosaur bones in that general area and found chipping grounds of early people. Your accomplishment as a team and Porter as an OG is fantastic. . . and the Logan Pass weather looked wicked. Kudos to the Kiddos on your akkomplishment! And hope to see you on the Colorado Trail/ continental Divide Trail here next year! I am impressed! Pat

    WAY TO GO!

  11. Clearly, they weren’t screwed — just slightly tickled — because they made it one way or another. Congrats all around. And you, Gail, must have thought to supply the Canadian flag.

  12. Clearly- with all respect- “our god” and our/his gloriousness! A triumphant finish. Can’t wait for what’s up next!??? Lots of love AND lol!

  13. What a triumphant experience! Your great photography helped us travel along. Now I can hardly wait to read your new book, sequel to I PROMISE NOT TO SUFFER. Congratulations, OG, Amber, and (of course) Trail Angel.

  14. Congratulations Porter and Gail! Your perseverance, persistance and positivity pulled you through all of the trials and tribulations. So glad to hear that you made it safely, and how ironic that the final journey included a boat trip across the water to Canada! Over thirty years ago I too covered much the same territory. With a windsurfer on top of my station wagon, my boyfriend and I journeyed up to Glacier and then over to Kalispell to cross the boarder to the Loser
    Arrow, and Upper Arrow lakes in the Canadian Rockies. We visited friends there, and then proceed to follow HWY 1 across their Western plains through “Camloops” and over to Vancouver, down to Seattle and Oregon and then back home to Colorado. What magnificent examples of Mother Nature at her finest! I loved the picture of the Highline trail. What a brave man you are Porter, and how lucky you are to have an equally strong, independent and supportive wife such as Gail. Cheers to you both and we look forward to seeing you back in Colorado soon. Love, Andrea and all of your pool buddies at East Bldr. Rec.

    • Andrea, what an adventure you had in Glacier and the Canadian Rockies, along with the other adventures in your life! Thanks for all your interest and encouragement, we really appreciate it!

  15. Well HURRAH!. I have so enjoyed following this trip thru Gail’s blog. It is so different from anything in my life and fun to keep peaking into yours. I hope you have a sense of elation, even with the disruption of the fires. How do you follow up on this?

    • Susan, yes, we’re elated and keep pinching ourselves that we succeeded! We’re so glad we still have the Colorado section to look forward to next summer, since the snowpack made it impassable when we came through in May.

  16. What a team!!! Through hell fires and high waters, with never a waver!

    I’m loving the smiles of accomplishment & relief and that so sweet “at peace” picture of you two at the International Peace Park. I’m going with “Oh Greatest” and “Her Gloriousness”—perfect!!!

    (Know that Chief Mountain is an incredibly sacred place.)

    Huge Congrats & XxxOoo

    And . . . exactly WHAT now are the rest of us to do for our daily rock & roll?

  17. Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures! What a great way to spend the initial part of your retirement, Porter! And, what good support you’ve had from Gail!
    John, my 82 yr old mother and I walked a bit along the CDT above Turquoise Lake in Leadville. So beautiful and relaxing to be out in nature. Aaaah. I’m wondering if it takes some adjustment to get back to regular living?

    • Rae Ann, yes, we had a three-day drive home (21 hours of driving from Canada), including slight detours to drop off two other hikers along the way, and are beginning to unpack and do all the other things to readjust. ;-D

  18. Yay! Way to go. Porter you’re an inspiration. I was hoping to meet you on The Colorado Trail section of the CDT. Great work you two.

  19. Wow! Ken and I were breathless reading about the adventure!! How much did Porter’s pack weigh this time???

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