Tuesday 12th. By Paul.
Walking along the Donjek river was harder than described in the track notes. We find ourselves stuck at the bottom of a 30m cliff with a major river crossing blocking our progress. The glacier has retreated so that the river has changed course – the toe of the glacier is still 10km across and is massive, though. We scrambled up a gully, through forest and one hour of tough walking later we emerged at the top of the cliff where we started that morning. We finally located an old horsetrail that hikers now use and progress improves…it is hot and sunny, though. After several river crossings where the trail is hard to pick up, we reach the toe of the glacier where we camp in a spot with huge grizzly bear prints moulded into the river clay. We watched the massive Donjek glacier and heard the crash and bang of crevasses giving way from our site.
The next day we kept up the fast progress until the trail disappeared again as we approached the Bighorn river. More bush bashing and then some steep climbs and more tough walking in the middle of the afternoon sun. Ten minutes walking, ten minutes resting. Over and over again. We end up descending down into Chert creek which heads up to the second pass and our only way back to civilization. Wispy, high level clouds can be seen that indicate a change of weather so we push up Chert creek as much as possible towards the pass. We still have not seen anyone since we started the hike.