Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 28 - Outskirts of town

Big news on the trail front! Dave has finally acquired a trail name. (Floggings to any who call him 'Dave'). His self-explanatory trail name is 'Hiccups'. Sad to be losing him here in Anaconda, but so glad that he was able to experience the sampler platter of the CDT: fair and inclement weather, wildlife sightings, trail and road walking, climbing up scary sounding mountain passes (Thunderbolt!). He's made some noises about meeting us in New Mexico with KK, which would be great.

Today, we had 23mi to get to Anacconda. We had initially planned on stopping at Uncle Buck's in Warm Springs, but it is closed on Sundays. The fast and tough part of today is that the trail is almost entirely road walking, either on forest service road, or along a frontage road to a highway. So, fast because the terrain is smooth and graded. Tough because the repetitive terrain causes overuse injuries, generally lacks tree cover, and because I don't want to get hit by a car.

The long snaking dirt road out of camp felt like a country road, and I found myself humming that John Denver song. And imagining myself as one of the Dukes of Hazzard, straightening the curves as the road gently undulated around the hills.

As we exited the forest, we emerged onto a working farm. Grinder and I were walking together, and we (mostly me) were baa-ing at the talkative sheep. Apparently, my sheep is rusty, and they skittered away as we drew near. A dark blue pick-up truck came around the corner, and Grinder and I moved over to the shoulder. The truck slowed as it approached, and the passenger door popped open. A tow-headed blonde boy, riding with his younger brother and his father, asked us how we were doing, and offered us water. We were fine on water, and they all wished us a good trip. Such decent, hospitable people in Montana--feels like Midwest niceness in mountain scenery, really a nice blend.

Grinder and I caught up with the pack of the Sobohobos down the road, and I realized that my phone worked. We were close enough to civilization that my phone worked. Goodbye GPS and J. Ley maps, I navigated us to Anaconda using Google Maps on my phone. A first on the CDT so far.

During the next 5mi stretch, we ran into two other local Montanans, one a farmer who moved from St. Louis 30 yrs ago, and an older gent on a vintage BMW motorcycle going for a ride. Both were friendly and chatty, and offered us water. Small town hospitality.

We made it to Buck's for lunch, and sat in the shade of nearby trees to eat the last of our camp food for this stretch. We learned with great and weary excitement that the nearest gas station was a mere 8.2 mi away. We set on down the frontage road with dreams of soda in our heads. One of the strange things about thruhiking is that we crave things we never consume in regular life, and we are overwhelmed with cravings for junk food. Soda, ice cream, chips, fried foods. Our bodies crave and need the sugar, salt, fat.

While I would never daydream of loitering in front of gas stations in regular life, doing so is a veritable fantasy (see photo for quality hobo-ing). We decided to do a restaurant crawl and wait for everyone to come in. And hit the local Chinese place for dinner--nice to eat something other than a hamburger. Glad we're all in town, and in good spirits.

Resupply, waiting for packages, and then headed out late tomorrow.

Mileage: ~23mi from non-existent ranger station past Four Corners, to Anaconda

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