My ankle has improved. Resting before starting the section, using K tape early on and taking a tonne of Advil seems to have helped a lot. Sometimes I slip and pull something in it, but I can keep that from getting bad with the above.
One person in front helps fend off people when Toothless naps. You can go like 20m ahead and chat and say he’s asleep and that tends to keep people from waking him. Natasha usually just blurts “baby is asleep” but I usually say hi first.
The section between Pinto Lake and Cataract Pass can get confusing and needs to get cleared up. The trail is braided, has old blazes and new trail with flagging tape. It’s easy to follow a new trail that does not go where you need it (but it follows close for a bit), or straight up lose the trail for a bit. It’s just unfortunately much worse trail than the rest of the section. We took a wrong turn both in 2018 and this year. It’s not fun to hike if you have to follow a blue dot on your phone.
There are two horse camps that seem to be abandoned between Pinto Lake and the Cataract Creek ford. These are not marked on the GPS but are along the GDT track. They have potential to fill some voids in the campground availability – Pinto Lake is very popular and after that there aren’t a lot of options that can accomodate many hikers until after Cataract Pass.
My shoes failed in A but my new shoes with preemptive shoe goo are holding up better. They were doing great until we had to hike in frozen shoes; now I see some minor cracks.
It’s hard not carrying Toothless for the first few days. I really wish we had shorter food carries so I could spent more time with him in those days. We make it up in other ways and I carry him plenty once we eat some of the food so Natasha and I can swap gear/ food but I just love carrying him.
The pictograms are pretty cool. Very glad we took a better look this time.
I still love Cataract Pass. It’s a different experience in the snow, but it’s amazing.
I love Jasper.
Malign Valley is not that bad. It’s wet. Sometimes frustrating but not nearly as bad as the Ameswki. It does feel close to a point where it’s getting overgrown enough that people are avoiding the route, or sometimes braiding sections. Some light trail work with hand tools would have a huge benefit.
My pack is failing. I will need a new one after this hike. So far the frame system has failed in two locations. Honestly I’m kinda done with it. I could repair it but it might be worthwhile to buy a new one or make my own.
The umbrella is great for snow and hail! It also blocks wind really well.
We sometimes make bad decisions. Thankfully we were still safe enough and got through but I think, for example, we should not have hiked the Notch in the snow. It’s obvious in retrospect but we put too much weight on the weather forecast predicting the snow would let off by the time we got up to th ridge. This was incorrect so being on the ridge was much less safe than it should have been.
A week and a half of snow and rain is highlighting that our gear keeps us (and Toothless) safe, warm and dry but not necessarily comfortable or happy under sustained poor, wet weather. For us to be happier, and for Toothless to get in his wiggle time that he needs, we need to have warmer gear and some extra clothes that can keep our sleep baselayers separate from our daytime clothing. Usually they are separate but our current system relies on some overlap between the two in periodic extreme weather.
Our diaper system doesn’t work great in sustained wet weather. They just don’t dry.
Going into Section F, we have looked at the weather forecast and instead of heading to Blueberry Lake we decided to finish at Moose River. This will allow us to avoid snow and wet weather at the end of the section and gives us a more balanced weather forecast, which should be more fun for Toothless. It shortens the section to be only 5 days total. We have also purchased some warmer gear (including boots for Toothless) and have more redundancy in our clothing. We also decided to carry disposable diapers to ensure he has dry diapers. While not as light as carrying cloth diapers, for a 5 day section it’s doable and less stressful. To offset some of the new gear weight, we have left some items in Jasper to pick up when we finish.
Looking myself while sitting here in Jasper, I have realized that I have gotten much thinner than I have ever been in recent memory. I am thinner now than I was at the end of our 2018 GDT thru. We have really been at a calorie deficit on this thru.