Day 23 – 28 Helena to Anaconda

Day 23 Zero in Helena

Today was the laziest day I’ve had in awhile. Thought about leaving Helena today b/c I felt pretty good. Ended up staying, however. And binge watching most of the season of Firefly while drinking scotch.

Thanks to Outburst’s aunt and uncle for letting me crash at their house for a couple days!

Day 24 Leaving Helena

Ending up ambling around Helena for awhile getting food for the section to Anaconda. And jumping out of the way of a truck that didn’t see me. And trying and failing to get a milkshake or a frosty (at 8:30 am) but settled for McDonald’s pancakes.

After navigating Helena’s cool but unusual bus system to the edge of Helena I set out to hitch back to the trail.

..and nothing, for 30 minutes. After no luck for a bit I decided to try Lyft and… it worked immediately, somewhat surprisingly. Though shortly before my ride showed up someone stopped and offered me a ride that I had to decline b/c the lyft ride was imminent. Oh well.

Coming out of town always seems to involve climbing.

Ran into a trio of hikers, Hannah, Brock, and Pierre who I’ve been seeing off and on since the beginning. We all hiked out together, which was nice since it was 10 miles of road walking to start. The re-route around the trail closure is all road walking. I haven’t hiked with anyone for more than a couple minutes since leaving Glacier.

It may not look like it, but this is my luxury first night out of town meal. Deluxe kraft Mac and cheese!

Looking ahead to Anaconda, I’m realizing that I’ll need to zero. Short either heroics or some very lazy hiking I’m getting to Anaconda mid day and will need to wait for the PO to open Monday morning. The drawback of a post office in lieu of a business.

Finally remembered to take a campsite picture!

Day 25

Today was the hard day between Helena and Anaconda. Slightly longer and a similar elevation gain to the other harder days at around 5k. That said, the gradients were a lot more reasonable. And there were some normal looking switchbacks! As opposed to some from north of Helena where there’d be a switchback but it’d be crazy steep anyway.

The tunnel of trees. If this was still Glacier I’d be well above tree line. Which still surprises me.

There were more blowdowns toward the end of the day. Most of the day was pretty clear, though. There’s an active trail crew working in the area now.

I *really* appreciate all of this trail work!

…because it could very well look like this.

Camped in a cute little meadow. Nice spot though it has more mosquitoes than I’ve seen so far on trail. Fortunately, I have a tent for that.

Day 26

Today was a bit of a mission to town day. The goal was to get within a morning hike to Anaconda.


View du jour.

Water du jour. Not shown is my reaction upon seeing the tank and not the hidden flowing (thankfully) pipe concealed behind it.

Ended up stopping with a maybe 18 mile road walk remaining. Any closer, and I wasn’t sure I’d find somewhere to camp. Though I’m guessing something that would have been better will show up on the first few miles tomorrow.

First of many pedestrian cattle grates? Seemingly harder to walk over but just as easy to hop over than a flat grate.

Requirements for long distance hiking, hiking many miles, check. Climbing over a random fence in the middle of the trail, check?

Ended up camped in a field. It’s a tad exposed, hot, and possibly (probably) not legal, but it’ll work for a night.

This wasn’t, knowingly, illegal. Though it’d surprise me not at all if it was.

Looking forward to milkshakes tomorrow. And laundry/shower/etc but it’s important to have priorities. Not looking forward to the road walk buy it’s the price to pay for this alternate route which avoids hitching and cuts off 90 ish miles.

Day 27 Into Anaconda 

I’d describe this as the novelty phase of the road walk.

Hit the trail early this morning as I had intended since it’s a long (18 miles or so) road walk into Anaconda and that’d be a easier before it gets really hot.  Also had unexpected GI issues which I could have done without. Life on the trail isn’t always glamorous.

Lots of comments on Farout (a mapping app for the cdt and other trails) about aggressive dogs here. I just saw this elderly, but very alert and vocal, sheep dog.

And his charges.

The rest of the journey into Anaconda was a march along increasingly busy roads.  The highlight of which was a woman stopping to give me a banana which was pretty amazing.  First trail magic of the trail!

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien 

The long and… not at all winding… road

Eventually made it to Anaconda.  And in time to hit the post office and pick up my new shoes which immediately made my feet feel better.

RIP first pair of shoes. A bit over 400 miles.


Day 28 Anaconda Zero

Lazy day in town.  Got my resupply set and a box set to send down the trail.  And the prior few days GI issues seems to have settled down

Field of tents. There’s a bubble right behind me it seems.

Loud night – there was a wedding near the hiker hut.  Also the parking lot behind the camping yard is apparently the local late night underage drinking / flirting hangout. My tent was near ish the gate and it (with earplugs) sounded like I was about to be runover.  It ended up being fine, though, and I survived. 

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