Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 29 - Leaving Anaconda

Another beautiful day in Anaconda. Really a lovely small town. Sad to see Hiccups go, he successfully hitched to Helena in the afternoon, and picked up his car. A great companion for this stretch, hope he enjoyed his time out on the CDT.

As Gangles and I were waiting for packages to come in, the Sobohobos decided to make today a nearo. We would aim for a campground ~12mi out of town, so we could spend most of the day in town wrapping up errands.

Gangles and I had ordered a few things from Amazon, and spent the morning running them down. Apparently, for our items, they were broken up into 3 different carriers: UPS, USPS and FedEX. At the outskirts of town, I saw the UPS truck, and ran up. After chatting with the driver, I convinced him to give me my package on the spot. It was both convenient and somewhat worrying that I was able to do that without ID. The other two packages proved more elusive.

We tracked the FedEX package down at the Marcus Daly hotel, which was run by a very sweet woman named Fay. She's been in Anaconda for 35+ years, and loves the area. We had planned on staying at her hotel, but they were booked up, since one of the largest softball tournaments in the country was in town for the weekend. And Monday night, there was a major U.S. Amateur golf tournament being held at the local Jack Nicklaus designed course. He filled the sand traps with black sand, which comes from the slag leftover from the local copper mining.

The final packages was supposed to be at the post office, but the letter carrier had some miscommunication, and had taken off with it. It should be forwarded to Sula, where we will arrive on Friday. Fingers crossed.

Apparently, Sula is a very small town. It's so small that when mentioning it to locals in Anaconda, most people respond with "You mean 'Missoula'?". I looked Sula up on wikipedia: population 37, area 3 sq mi. By arriving in Sula en masse, we will be vaulting the population up into the 40s. We also hear alluring rumors that there may be a Conoco, which means a cold soda to us. Very exciting. (Have to celebrate the small joys in life).

After leaving the PO, we went to the next rally point in town, the local Dairy Queen. This was a Dairy Queen Brazier, the complete package, serving both hot and cold foods. Of course, we hoboed the place up, loitering in the corner of the courtyard, eating tremendous quantities of food and finalizing our packs to leave town for the next stretch. I swapped out my disintegrating pack for the new version I picked up in town. I walked to the nearby dumpster to dispose of the box and the pack, feeling like a true 10 on the hobo scale--rummaging around in trash near a fast food restaurant.

On the way back to the Dairy Queen, I was waylaid by a woman in a purple hat, wearing a red shirt. She was one of a gaggle of similarly dressed women who were in a different corner of the DQ courtyard, each nibbling on a Strawberry Cheesequake. She said she had been chatting with one of my companions, and heard about our trip. She wished us luck, and hoped we would enjoy our time in her home state of Colorado. She spontaneously hugged me, which I hope was okay for her. On the plus side, I had showered and laundered my clothes. On the downside, I was just rummaging in a dumpster. She then got in her car, and drove off.

I keep saying it, but I'll say it again--people here are exceptionally nice. While very few people seem to know what the CDT is (which is a departure from my AT and PCT experiences), most people are so friendly and interested in our trip. I really feel as though I'm in the Midwest: unaffected niceness, and the common colloquial use of the phrase "you betcha!". Montana really is a great place.

Mileage: 12mi from Anaconda (East end of town) to Springhill campground

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