Anaconda, MT

Day 112     8/19     0 miles

Took a day off from hiking today and went on a little field trip up to Missoula, Montana. My mom made us breakfast sandwiches in the cabin to start the day before the car ride. QB and I had to take care of a couple errands this morning including resupplying and buying food that we’ll send to ourselves later on at a remote ranch. After getting to the supermarket we checked out the town of Missoula and some friends, BK and Prickly Pear, met us in town for Vietnamese food and ice cream. On our drive back to Wisdom we passed a massive wildfire, the Lolo fire, and it was smoky for miles. The smoke cleared up and we had good views of the Bitterroot valley and the ride up and over Chief Joseph Pass. Back at the cabin Queen B cooked dinner(and I helped) for the rest of us. Prickly Pear and BK, who are traveling to Colorado from Missoula, stopped at the cabin for dinner and tented in the backyard for the night. Drove by the smoky Lolo fireYeah rightthe Wisdom Cabin 

Day 113     8/20     23 miles 

This morning my parents cooked us all a bunch of pancakes for breakfast. I don’t know what got into them but 3 hot breakfasts in a week is a real treat. When I was a kid we might have had ‘Cream of Wheat’ once a month but it was mostly either cold cereal, instant oatmeal or pop tarts. I’m not complaining, I like all that stuff, but hot breakfasts are where it’s at. After breakfast BK and the Pear headed south, first to an eclipse festival in Wyoming, and then down to Colorado. My parents drove me and QB back up to Chief Joseph Pass where we got back on trail and they joined us for a mile before saying our goodbyes. During that mile the 4 of us had a really cool sighting of a red fox that was just chilling out in the woods watching us for awhile. They turned around and are heading up to Helena for the night and will be able to enjoy the eclipse tomorrow before heading back home. It was great seeing them and definitely gave me a boost I needed in getting towards the end of the trail. The rest of the day was relatively easy, a lot of smooth trail through forest and old burn areas. At Chief Joseph Pass this morning we turned away from Idaho for the last time and will be walking through only Montana until we reach Canada. The last state, it better be good. A little after 7 tonight we found a spot to camp in some trees just after a burn and called it a day. Cat and Den Me, B, BK, and the Pear 

Day 114     8/21     27 miles 

Today was pretty awesome, as far as solar eclipses go anyway. I remember when I was in second or third grade and all the teachers brought us out into the parking lot to see the eclipse and told us, “whatever you kids do, don’t look directly at the sun.” Of course everybody looked directly at the sun. This time I was armed with eclipse glasses. We didn’t exactly have a total eclipse here in Montana but it was pretty close. At one point it was just a big thin crescent. The hype didn’t get me too excited before the eclipse but having experienced it I’m definitely saving my glasses for 2024. After this awesome cosmic phenomenon we just hiked the rest of the day. We saw 4 other thru hikers, which is an awful lot for one day on this trail. In the morning we ran into Chardonnay and Kelsey who I met last year on the AT. This afternoon Kibbs caught up and hiked with us for a few hours and then we saw Glider, who I first met in Washington in ’15 (he’s easy to remember because he has a striking resemblance to one of the 7 Dwarves and has told me good stories both time) today he told us a pretty good bear story. The trail was pleasant all day. We walked through a long burn in the morning but luckily the moon provided a little bit of shade to keep us cool and we were up and down the rest of the day before a significant climb up to Pintler Pass in the evening. A couple miles after descending the pass we found a place to camp beside Johnson Lake. There’s only a few times in life when the universe comes together and you’re allowed to look this coolthis was one of those times Definitely a cougar print, maybethe moon was providing a little shade, so that was nicebeautiful and pristine Johnson Lake

Day 115     8/22     28 miles

Today was the day! We had serious climbs one after another all day long. Right away we climbed for a couple miles up to Rainbow Pass then dropped down into a valley for a little bit then right back up another steep climb. Around noon we came across Warren Lake and it was perfect timing for a swim. The cold water was invigorating and exhilarating. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “alpine lakes are good for the soul.” From Warren Lake we had a beefy climb to the top of Cut Away Pass and then dropped way down before climbing to the top of Rainbow Mountain. We dropped way down again then followed switchbacks up to Goat Flats before contouring around a huge mountain to Storm Lake Pass. From here we descended down to Storm Lake and found a place to call home for the night. Up and down all day. Probably the most vertical we covered in a day so far. Up over Rainbow Pass first thing this morningWarren Lake Icy cold water with a view Looking out from Raimbow MountainThe trail work in this section of Montana has been impeccable. Hats off to the Montana Conservation CorpsWalking over Goat Flats Storm Lake Passlooking out over Storm Lake Pass, only one of the coolest passes I’ve ever seenStorm Lake

Day 116     8/23     23 miles 

Today was mostly roadwalking. Relatively dull hiking especially after the day we had yesterday but relaxing. I don’t mind a long road walk on this trail once in awhile. It’s easy, not much elevation gain or loss, rarely any blowdowns, good footing, and hard to get lost (but not impossible). Eventually we were walking down Main Street of Anaconda, MT. This is a big city by Montana standards, only around 9,000 people but still the 9th largest city in the state. It was pretty cool walking down main street, there were lots of places to grab food before getting to the hotel we’re staying at on the far side of town. We ran into Moist, Mac, Appa, and JPeg, and hung out with them for awhile. They filled us in on a little trick awhile ago, the McDonald’s app, and we finally got a chance to use it getting all kinds deals on already cheap food.somebody crashed their truck and just left itpigged out all the way down Main Street there’s so much open land in this state but for whatever reason all the houses in this town are right on top of each othersee what I mean? 

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PS All My Love!!!

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