CDT Day 28: along Hwy 48 to Anaconda Hiker Hut – A Juniper Bush Short of a Sandwich Camp to Scooch Closer 2.0 Camp
Miles hiked: 15
Total miles: 431.2
Today we somehow managed to have what felt like a full town day, but also hike 15 miles. That feels pretty sweet. It must be the magic of road walking, not my favorite way to hike, but the speed is undeniable. Restful and productive. A good day.
SpiceRack and I were up and hiking by 6:30am to try and beat the heat in the low valley. We probably should have started sooner, but sleeping just felt too good. And we needed it. No real rush today anyway. Some high cloud cover kept us shady initially, but blew through, though the temperature was still cool with the direct morning sun at our backs.
The highway was busy at this time of the morning. With no shoulder to occupy, Spice and I had to put more trust than I was comfortable with in the alertness of oncoming drivers. Some pulled way out, crossing the rumble strips to the other lane while others seemed morally opposed to putting rubber to any painted line, giving us just a foot or two of clearance. I don’t think they appreciated how truly vulnerable we felt. I was scared, but tried pushing the bad thoughts of a gruesome end out of my mind. As this trail grows in popularity, something will need to change here.
Spice left me in her dust. I couldn’t keep up no matter how hard I tried, losing ground slowly, but consistently for the four miles to the junction of Hwy 1. There she waited for me, where there was now a shoulder for us to walk along. We scooted the last four miles into Anaconda past massive slag heaps left from the good ol mining days. The door chime jingled as we stepped into Subway, ready to eat all the things. 9:30am.
Albertsons was the next stop, just a parking lot away, then the post office to pick up our resupply boxes, then the coffee shop to chill. With the caffeine flowing in our veins, we made the final push through town to the hiker hut in the park, set up by the good people of Anaconda to give us dirty folk a place to be dirty while in town. Within 10 minutes, two local Anacondanites made sure we knew how to find it. And it is a cool place. Basic, but with everything we need.
Spice and I each showered at the public pool next door, packed up our food for the next section, then doubled up on the provided bicycle to get back to downtown. A little bit of thrift shopping, then library work for me. I picked up a pair of baby blue Crocs, about three sizes too small, and couldn’t be happier to have camp shoes again. I don’t know what I was thinking leaving mine at home.
At 7:30pm, we reconvened at the hut where Spice fed me some asparagus, sprouts, and hummus tacos for dinner. Amazing. Then it was time to hike again. We had ten more miles of road walking out of Anaconda before reaching trail once more, so we decided to knock off as much of that as we could this evening before hitching back to the hut. A smart way to get a head start on tomorrow.
The slackpack was pleasant walking along mostly dirt roads, but occasionally along the paved highway again. The sun was behind the ridge so the temperature was perfect for cruising. After six miles we decided to call it, knowing it would be hard to catch a ride if it got any darker.
The first truck to pass gave us a ride. Soon we were back in town, covering the distance it took us two hours to hike in just fifteen minutes. What a world. We ate some microwaveable things back at the hut, before setting up to cowboy camp on the lawn. Good town, good day. I feel rested and happy to be alive. Fifteen miles never felt so relaxing.