GDT kms: 30.5
We woke up in the dark again (I’m sensing a theme for the rest of the trail) and grudgingly packed up. It was still pretty dim when we hit the trail and started the gentle climb up Moose Pass. We were trying to be speedy as we had the potentially difficult ford of Smoky River 13km ahead and we wanted to reach it early in the day. For the first time in this section, the trail seemed to be on our side and we were able to make it to the ford by 10:30am.
We scoped out the river a bit and decided the marked crossing looked good, tucked our electronics in ziplock bags up high just in case and stepped into the water. It was actually a pretty chill crossing, only knee deep and not too fast, but I could see how it could be dicey in the late afternoon or early in the season.
The trail continued to be on our side and we zipped along to another ford of a river that had its bridge removed. Again it was more chill than the notes would indicate, only shin deep. The trail then brought us back towards the Smoky River floodplain. Unfortunately, we discovered the floodplain had indeed flooded and taken our trail along with it.
We tried for a little bit to see if we could just stick to the floodplain, but quickly realized we would at some point get stuck and need to cross very deep (although likely still or very slow) water. So we cut inland and uphill a bit and made our way the 600m or so to where the trail cut inland more at the Wolverine Campground. Thankfully the forest inland wasn’t too dense or covered in blowdown to cause us significant trouble. We popped out at the campground to discover that it too was flooded, but shallow enough to walk through. It’s pretty unfortunate as it seems like it would have been a nice spot to camp and like it had recently been maintained – there was a new sign at the bear hang facilities and the sign pointing to the toilet looked new too, although getting to the toilet now would require a ford.
Happy to be back on a trail, we continued towards another missing bridge. This one was a bit more exciting, crotch deep, but only moderately fast.
To cap off our day on a high note, we got to see a young-ish bull moose! We were just about to step into a meadow the trail crossed when he casually trotted across the meadow right in front of us – too fast for me to pull my phone out to grab pictures unfortunately though.
We even managed to make it to camp at 6pm – much more reasonable than last night and we went further than planned on our itinerary which gives us a nice bit of buffer for the next few days.