8/20, day 116, 9580′, 24.8 mi.
The sound of hooves on the trail woke me. I both heard and felt them through the earth. My second impression was that I smelled smoke from the Salmon, ID forest fire. Maybe that was what made the sky so dark yesterday evening.
We spent all morning strolling through the forest with gentle ups and downs. We couldn’t see any landmarks so we had to be careful of our route. At one point we both stopped looking for blazes and wandered down a 2 track road. We came to our senses and backtracked to blazes.
At lunch on a high ridge MT looked cloudy and ID was hazy. We had sprinkles this afternoon.
Late this afternoon we came upon a disturbing sign at a road crossing. It said the area ahead has been closed due to fire danger. Our options were to turn left into Idaho on a deadend road; turn right into Montana into the closed area, turn around and hike back on the CDT, follow non-CDT trails over the divide into Idaho that were to steep to navigate, or follow the CDT into the closed area. We chose the latter.
We followed the trail steeply down from the divide toward Cowbone Lake. This route involved bushwhacking to the lake. Since the lake was closed we had our choice of campsites.