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The Story Behind One “Holy Shit Day”

Whenever #MaryBadass settles in for the night on the Continental Divide Trail, she sends out a satellite message to let folks know she has made it to camp and whether the day has been easy, rough, or in-between. For eight days ending next Monday, June 28, as she hikes across Glacier Park in Montana, her only contact is likely to be via satellite.

The messages, which are limited to 160 characters, are delivered by email to those followers who have signed up to receive them. The device, a Garmin Mini, is difficult to type on, so for the sake of expediency, Mary has three preset messages. None are very informative. Yesterday's message read: “holy shit day. stopping while I'm still intact. can find me here or read blogs at"

I usually get at least one additional message that goes into somewhat more detail. This morning, I got ten.

Mary’s last message to me the day before had anticipated snow and storms: “Some trepidation,” it read. “Long 15 miles tomorrow with one of harder snowier passes. Heavy pack as just resupplied. And thunderstorms in forecast.” So it was with some trepidation of my own that I began reading her report of what had happened since. The first series of messages was sent out at 11:42 pm Mountain Time on Thursday June 24.

Started at 530 first time stopping all day at 330freezing soaked starving made it but holy shit

Mary left her campsite at 5:30 a.m. to begin a 15-mile hike to the next campsite. Her backcountry camping permit is site-specific; failing to reach the designated site and camping in the wrong place could result in being ordered by a ranger to leave the park. It took her 10 hours of nonstop hiking to reach her destination.

holyshitday=last night have get out of tent cUse baby moose tripped,overitAt 4AM i fell in campground on pavement and took skin off hand. Not too bad but ouch

The “holy shit” day began well before dawn, when a baby moose tripped over Mary’s tent, causing her to exit. She herself later tripped and fell on some pavement in the campground and skinned her hand.

Then charged by moose 3 times on trail. Twice had hugemrack coming at me.then river crossing up to crotch running somfast couldnt plant poles crossed barefoot

"Hugemrack" means the charging moose had a big set of antlers. Like I said, the Garmin keypad is awkward. I've learned that an “m” often sneaks in where a word space belongs.

Actually the scenery was stunning. Did have bear spray ready when moose charging me.stuck 20 mins on trail cause moose
All in thunder +lightning. Still no lunch then hail size of marbles few inches pour rain more hail...finally made camp. Great day!!! Waiting for feet warm up
Feet so cold hurt for half hour.then hours in snowhourshours. One self arrest needed postholed steep long climb more H2o crossing then ton really bad blowdowns

“Blowdowns” are trees that have fallen in windstorms. Hikers have to crawl over or under them, sometimes for miles, with a heavy pack. Mary encountered 100 blowdowns in a single day while hiking the CDT a couple of weeks ago in Wyoming. Those were bad enough. These blowdowns, however, came after a moose charge, a lightning storm with hail and rain, several icy river crossings (one barefoot), and a long, steep climb on a snowcovered slope where Mary postholed (sank down into deep snow and had to climb out) and used her ice ax to keep from sliding down the mountain (the “self arrest”). All on the same day.

Need to eat and get warm really couldnt stop,all day dont you wish u were here?Hail makes great sound when crunch through inches of it for mile. Really goo day

Really good day? I think this is sarcasm, but I wouldn't swear to it.

12:03 a.m. Maybe you should post some of holymshit day as people are asking.

At midnight, Mary was getting responses from people who got the preset message. Naturally, they were wondering what her "holy shit day" entailed.

3:16 a.m. Over 30 mosquitoes IN. Y ten

"Over 30 mosquitoes [in my tent tonight]." And those were just the ones she had managed to swat. Message sent at 3:16 am.


Let Mary Know That You’re Following Her

Send Mary a message that she will receive later today. The link takes you to her Garmin Inreach account, where you can enter your email address and a message of up to 160 characters:


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