GDT Day 1 – Slow, then fast

GDT Mileage: 6.0 km
Daily Mileage: 12.0 km

The reality of the trail started set in last night as we spent a long (for hikers) evening chatting with Alastair and Jacqueline, who just hiked part of section A, and Lowell and Jeanette, who were sharing our ride down to Waterton. It was interesting to hear there was a real bubble of hikers this year as A and J saw a ton of other hikers – totally unlike our experience in 2018.

We begged off to bed a bit earlier than everyone else since we needed to get Toothless settled, tried to finish up our last few prep tasks and tucked into bed. It was a very comfy and restful sleep.

We were all awoken shortly after 6am by Toothless, but had a bit of a lazy morning as Alannah planned to serve breakfast at 9am. Kyle made himself some coffee and we finished packing up our gear. At breakfast we were greeted by another two hikers one woman hiking from Waterton until Field, and the other just joining her on Section B.

After breakfast, the other hikers were heading to town with Alannah to get last minute shopping done. We finished up our last few tasks and then parked ourselves on the patio to wait and let Toothless explore. He loved crawling around and even stood without holding onto anything for a few seconds – the longest he’s done up until now!

Then it was time for lunch, and finally after lunch it was time for us to leave. We got Toothless strapped in the borrowed carseat and then somehow managed to fit 6 adults, 1 carseat and baby, and 4 fully loaded packs in an SUV for the drive to Waterton.

It was very cozy, and unfortunately Toothless wasn’t too happy on the second half of the trip and made sure everyone knew it! Another brief hold up with construction on the way in, and we finally got to Waterton at 3pm and thus started the fast portion of the day.

We had to:

  • Pick up our backcountry permit
  • Check-in at the frontcountry campground and setup our tent
  • Hike the 6km to tag the border and then back again
  • Eat dinner
  • Somehow get Toothless down to bed at a reasonable time

Needless to say, we were slightly more successful at some of these tasks than others. The hike was straightforward and we knew what to expect since we’ve done it several times before, but it still took us 3.5 hours round trip including a brief stop for photos at the border. This meant we were returning to town around 7:30pm and still needed to get dinner and put Toothless to bed (normally he goes to sleep around 7:00pm).

A speedy walk to the block with the restaurants and we found our options were quickly dwindling with several places already starting to close for the night. A very overpriced pair of burgers and beer later and we hustled back to camp as the wind started to pickup and raindrops intermittently fell.

We finally got everybody tucked into bed around 10pm, well past everyone’s usual hiking bedtimes. Hoping for cool weather tomorrow as we have a big climb out of town to start the day.

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