CDT Day 33: just north of Hwy 43 to Darby – Surprise 30 Camp to Curtis’s house
Miles hiked: 2.6
Total miles: 528.8
We sure timed our first 30 mile day perfectly. With a day in town awaiting, the hobbling was kept to a minimum as my feet protested against me for yesterday’s abuse. Just a couple of miles to town, then a day of leisure with one of the greatest trail angel’s yet. Darby, a good stop.
SpiceRack and I got a late start knowing that we only had a mile and a half to the road, but I was also in need of the extra rest. The sun was fully up by the time we joined it, looking at camp for the first time in daylight. It was disorienting to wake up in a place of which I had no memory.
I felt surprisingly good when we got moving, which isn’t saying a whole lot. I expected to feel pretty rough, so even my slow shuffle was reason for celebration. My feet suffered from a new blister or two, but my legs felt strong. Once my feet warmed up, I felt no worse than any other morning out here. Spice reported pretty much the same thing. Looks like we pulled it off.
We made it to the trailhead without drama, thankful for our phones to help us navigate the confusing latticework of dirt roads. We each took advantage of the toilet then loaded up once more for the mile walk down Hwy 43 to the busier Hwy 93 to find a ride to Darby.
At the intersection we were excited to see a sign welcoming us to Idaho. We made it to the next state! We waited for a family to take their Christmas card photo in front of the sign, then mimicked them before walking back into Montana to hitchhike.
Our best moves had no effect on the passing traffic, but eventually we caught a ride in a minivan from a pleasant couple heading to a family reunion. Probably the first people from Kansas I’ve ever met! I felt too dirty and smelly to be in that car, but they turned up the AC and didn’t complain if they noticed the stench. The ride to Darby was 30 miles so our conversation covered a lot of ground, from what we’re up to, to how many children you need to work a farm in Kansas. The Bitterroot range scrolled by as we descended along a river into a wide valley. Hitchhiking offers some of the best time on trail to learn something new. It’s like a blind date with someone you have nothing in common with. No distractions, just conversation.
On account of it being Sunday, just about nothing was open in town when we unloaded at around 11:30am. There isn’t much in Darby to begin with, although there is a surprising variety of hippie tourist stuff like yoga, reiki, and a natural foods store. One restaurant was open, just finishing up a breakfast buffet, and the kind chef let us go nuts on the leftovers. I had a couple slices of cantaloupe, Spice gorged on pastries and french toast.
Before we could sit down for lunch, Curtis, a local trail angel collected us and brought us to his home a block away. He typically hosts cyclists passing through, but has expanded his hospitality to us hikers as well. Our own bedroom, shower, laundry, and a kitchen. We couldn’t have asked for more. Rooster, Crunchberry, and Pine Stick showed up a bit later to complete the hikertrash contingent. We chatted with Curtis about cycling for a while, then headed out into the heat to take care of town chores.
I finally bought Spice the birthday lunch I owed her from last year then we resupplied at the People’s Market. A lot of Clif bars and ramen for the next section. A lot of bananas, beans, chips, salsa, spinach, toast, and cucumber for town. Back to Curtis’s home where the afternoon disappeared in conversation and snacking. Spaghetti with marinara for dinner might be the highlight of the entire CDT so far. Then to bed. A big comfy bed. With sheets. This is why we hike.