CDT Day 27 — July 22
Anaconda Alternate Junction to along Hwy 48
Afternoon Camp to A Juniper Bush Short of a Sandwich Camp
Miles hiked: 17.5
Total miles: 416.2
Gosh, so freaking tired. How was this possible after making it to camp at 6:30pm last night? The alarm came and went. A reasonable snoozing period came and went. Too soon it was 8am somehow, though I couldn’t remember falling asleep again. The shocking lateness of the hour finally did get us moving, though I didn’t have too much enthusiasm for the smell of my socks. I was back on the road and walking a little bit after SpiceRack, just before 9am. Wow, that’s late!
The dirt road took me down and west, out of the hills and away from the Divide. Easy walking the whole way. I was a bit groggy, maybe dehydrated, so I chugged all the water I had, then raced to catch Spice. I found her taking a break along the nasty cow creek. Not too nasty to fill our bottles though.
The miles flew by from there, passing through meadows before dipping next to a shaded creek. We each used our umbrellas for a while against the hot sun, but started twirling them instead to pass the time. We also worked on walking with our eyes closed. I really don’t like that.
We finally made it out and into the plains. Low, flat, hot. Some cool mountains across the valley held my interest, but mostly Spice and I had to entertain ourselves by mooing at cows and breaking out in impromptu dance sessions. We took a deserved lunch break next to a shady creek, enjoying one last soak before striking out to traverse the valley. Our pleasure was shared as we soaked our burning feet.
We turned south for five more miles of dirt road, paralleling Hwy 90. It was hot. It was humid. My thermometer showed close to 90F and the sweat was not evaporating. Virga hung like drapes below dark clouds, but we never felt the cool drops. A large agricultural sprinkler did provide some relief as it swept a huge arch of water to the road. I made sure I was in the way. It was like sitting in the splash zone at a Shamu show. Totally soaked.
We turned under the highway, then followed the frontage road to Hwy 48. We will follow this paved road nearly all the way to Anaconda, but not today. The heat was miserable and we were walking directly into the setting sun. Lame conditions to be dodging traffic moving at the ridiculous Montana speed limit. We considered hitching into town, returning in the morning to finish the road walk, but instead decided to camp in a wide meadow, one hundred yards or so from the road. Our cravings for a Subway sandwich will have to wait.
We set up to cowboy camp in the hot sun, waiting for it to dip behind the high cloud on the horizon. Our camp looked hilariously close to a pile of trash. Then the sun went down and the bugs came out. The tent went up and the hikers came in. No cowboy camping yet on the CDT. Hmpf.
The sunset colored the sky a fantastic smear of purple and orange. I fell asleep thinking of that sandwich tomorrow. Subway opens at 7am. I doubt I’ll make it by then, but it’s nice to have the option.