July 18: Day 30 (1915.5 – 1930.1) 14.6 miles
As soon as we stepped on the trail, it was obvious that overnight activity had been brisk. Deer, horse, wolf/dog and several bears( large and small) had left their prints in the dusty trail.
This section of the trail is quite popular for human travel as well. Mostly humans on mule or horseback trips as evidenced by the width of the trail and the many lanes etched into the dirt. We were able to spy several white canvas tents set up around the edges of the valley floor.
While most people, even on trail, only see the CDT as a one of the “Triple Crown” long distance hiking trails (PCT, AT, CDT), one can not escape the fact that we walk along, over, and through some significant portions of this country. Geographically, culturally, historically, and environmentally. Today on the CDT, the significance of the Continental Divide wherein geographically, water flows either west to the Pacific or east to the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico is demonstrated. It’s like rain water flowing off the top of an A-frame roof. It flows one of two ways, right or left. On the CDT, we would see this phenomenon first hand at Two Ocean Pass and the Parting of the Waters.
To think that water flowing from the Two Ocean Plateau (of which we would ascend to via lengthy switchbacks) into the North Two Ocean Creek would, at random, at the Parting of the Waters, split, and flow in two distinct creeks (Atlantic creek, Pacific Creek) and directions, is amazing.
What is even more amazing, is that if there wasn’t a marker, or you weren’t looking for (or aware of this unique creek), you’d never know of it even though the phenomenon is occuring right before you. You’d probably grouse about having to walk through another icy creek. It made us wonder what other spectacular things were we “missing” or unaware of.
Our switchbacks traversed a steep hillside with stunning views of the valley below, and once again crossed North Two Ocean Creek just below it’s origination from the side of the Two Ocean Plateau.
*The significance of North Two Ocean Creek vs South Two Ocean Creek (that also flows/originates from Two Ocean Plateau) is that the North creek is the only one that actually bifurcates and flows into separate and distinct water basins. Geographically opposite oceans.
Once atop Two Ocean Plateau (10,085 ft.), the wind howled, we had 4G cell reception, and a jaw dropping 360° view of every mountain range we had, or would eventually walk through. We would NOT want to be here during inclimate weather. But today was simply gorgeous.
From the Plateau we descended into another valley where we camped amongst the trees and readied ourselves for the next morning’s entrance into Yellowstone.