[Note: the videos included below are mostly from earlier when we were in Glacier…it just took me a while to load them to YouTube]
As I sit here in the Hearst Free Library in downtown Anaconda, I’m feeling genuinely excitement for tomorrow’s 26 or so mile walk as a local trail angel (Jerry) has agreed to pick me up early from town and drop me at Storm Lake Pass, from which I’ll then “slackpack” (hike with a greatly minimized pack) northbound back into Anaconda and get to stay here one more night. It’s easy to understand why hikers seem to universally rave about this town- very friendly people, rich cultural and historical heritage, reasonable prices, everything you need to resupply, surrounded by beautiful mountains.
I was thinking during this section how many of the questions I get begin with “Why?” Why hike? Why such a long distance? Why such a remote trail? Why do this at my age? Well, in my case the answers are relatively clear, if not exactly simple. To quote Yusuf Islam,
“Well I left my happy home, to see what I could find out(Cat Stevens, “On the Road to Find Out“)
I left my folk and friends, with the aim to clear my mind out.”
There’s not much more to it than that. Hiking for me is simply wandering with a purpose and my purpose mostly seems to be “to clear my mind out” and hopefully set a course for the next phase of life. I’m someone that feeds on having a specific goal in mind, an objective to meet, a challenge to best, a concrete vision for the future. The hike itself satisfies some of that, but its more about pondering what comes next in life than simply seeing beautiful landscapes or socializing with other hikers.
As of tomorrow I’ll be walking alone again. T-Pain left the trail to visit a sick friend in Texas, Hammer is temporarily speeding ahead in anticipation of time off trail when Melissa comes to visit him soon, Chickenfat skipped resupplying in Helena and is therefore a day or so ahead and MAV recently contracted shin splints and will be staying here in Anaconda for some days to keep his leg iced and elevated.
One of these days I’ll need to compute it exactly but per the following map I’m getting close to halfway done on this hike. Barring any show-stoppers, I’ll keep moving southward for the remainder of the trail, skipping the “Great Basin” section in Wyoming that I completed in May with Impala, and wrapping up at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
Meanwhile, life on the trail goes on. Lots of heavy rain and hail during this past section. We’ve been doing more climbing lately than what we saw in New Mexico or Wyoming so that’s been challenging and my legs have been responding pretty well overall.
I’m hoping to reconnect with MAV, Hammer, etc. soon and there are also a lot of other hikers in this area right now, so hopefully I’ll continue to be graced with good hiking companions. Had spaghetti for dinner again. the only meal I’ve consistently craved while on the trail so far.
I’ve got to a few more to dos on the list today (resupply through to Darby, try to fix my rain pants again as the last attempt did not hold, get ready for tomorrow’s slackpacking adventure, and (time permitting) MAV and I may even take in a movie at the local cinema- which we hear is a very cool old art deco style theatre.
Thanks again for your interest in my indulgent little blog. I apologize that the narrative has been so thin but I’ve been consistently tired every time I show up at a library recently- and today is no exception. And three cheers for one of my favorite hiker towns, Anaconda! Max