Side of the trail(2643.7) to MacDonald Pass(2653.7)
Elevation: 6320 ft
The days are definitely getting noticeably shorter. I think we are losing about two minutes of daylight every day now. The last two nights I have barely gotten dinner cooked before dark. Last night it was completely dark by the time I finished eating and got into my tent. We wanted to get into town early today so we got up early to start hiking. I had to pack up by headlamp. By the time I was ready to go at six o’clock it was barely light enough to hike without the continued use of my headlamp. I remember hiking by six o’clock just last month. At this rate by the time I finish the trail it will be dark by eight o’clock. I’ll probably lose a few miles a day. The temperatures have been temperamental lately. Last night was warmer than any other night over the last week. It also rained for a little bit, so I had to pack up a wet tent.
The temperature continued to drop as we hiked. The weather forecast called for a rainy day. We were very glad to be hiking to town! We made it about four miles before the bad weather descended upon us. It ended up being a very Appalachian Trail kind of morning. We walked through a constant, but light rain for three hours straight. The trail went slightly up and down over rocks and roots. After the first hour the trail became muddy as well. After the second hour I was soaked and chilled to the bone. We reminisced about our time on the AT hiking through the same kind of conditions. Did I mention how glad we were to be going to town? I had my phone stored away to keep it dry, so I don’t have many pictures of today. We hiked the ten miles to the trailhead in just over three hours. Cold rain and town food is one hell of a motivator.
Parallel trail before it began to rain
Wet trail and misty sky just before the pass
I was a little concerned about how long it would take us to get a hitch on the highway. Cars seem to be less likely to stop in the rain to pick up three soaking wet hikers on the side of the road. As soon as we stopped moving we got even colder. Poor Piñata only had on a short sleeved shirt under his rain jacket. I have no idea how he managed it. I had on my base layer thermal top under my rain jacket and I was still cold. The force was with us and we only waited ten minutes before a car pulled over for us. Cynthia was on the way to visit family. She was very nice and very chatty. The sixteen miles to town passed by quickly. We had her drop us off at Starbucks. We used the coffee shop to warm up and to plan out our town stop. Helena is by far the largest town we have gone to on this trail.
While Piñata walked down the street to pick up his shoes that he had ordered online Straws and I figured out how we would get around town to do our chores. We decided the best thing to do was take an Uber to a local cafe for breakfast. We also called and made a reservation at a Super 8 hotel. Piñata was quick picking up his shoes and our Uber dropped us off at a Super Walmart. We weren’t ready to teaupply yet, but it was cheaper to get dropped off there than at the cafe. We walked over to Shirlies cafe and proceeded to order a massive breakfast. The owner of the cafe was putting together care packages for the firefighters that are working so hard to put out all of the fires in the area. We all thought that was nice.
Standard town breakfast burrito
After breakfast we stopped by Walmart to resupply. This next stretch is only 70 miles. Buying food for 2.5 days is tough. I ended up with extra breakfasts and snacks, but I can use those on the next stretch. The motel was only a mile from Walmart so we walked in the rain to get there. Since we got a really good rate we got separate rooms. Straws and Piñata added my laundry to theirs. I sorted my resupply, fixed some gear, showered, and called home. I wanted more time to relax, but we managed to get ahold of a trail angel to give us a ride to get more errands done. Piñata needed to go to Target and we all needed to hit up the outfitter. I bought a new base layer top so that I have one to hike in and one that I can keep dry and clean to wear at night.
Jeff, the trail angel was a really nice guy. He patiently drove us around town in the middle of rush hour. We greatly appreciated his help. It made the afternoon much more manageable. Once back at the motel we ordered Domino’s and hung out. Once back in my own room I did something that I never do, I turned on the tv. The rest of the night was a total waste, but very relaxing to get away from trail and town chores.
The weather should be better tomorrow and I’m looking forward to getting back out there. The fire closure on the cdt north of us has been rescinded. We are all stoked that we don’t have to skip around it. Once again we have lucked out in the fire department.
I forgot to do a 2,300 mile marker. I thought this was a cute idea for one
I keep forgetting to post a link to Straws and Piñatas blog.click here to check it out
"Beauty doesn't need ornaments. Softness can't bear the weight of ornaments."
- Munshi Premchand