There’s not really much to be said here. I got up at 6, put on my camp shoes, and walked to the gas station to get microwaveable breakfast for myself. Jacob had the rest of his burrito. After breakfast, I packed up all my food to hike, but determined the internet in the room was far too lousy to handle uploads and downloads for this blog, so we left the room at 10 to seek better service.
On the way out the door, I realized my pack was completely busted where the right hip belt and strap meet the pack, which makes it very difficult to put on, but luckily doesn’t affect how it wears once put on at all. However, it’s the kind of thing that could further deteriorate into a complete breakdown and can’t be repaired at all.
Anyway, after a brief stop at the convenience store (this time primarily for headphones as I had forgot to remove the last pair before washing my shirt), Jacob and I relocated to the lodge. We found a decent cell signal in the back corner, and I even went out to sit on the deck. I was soon joined by one of the hikers who I’d camped with in the park, and soon Jacob came to say he was hungry. Around this time, the other host revealed that the other members of his party were washing clothes at the laundromat. Jacob wanted to wash some clothes to wear until he got home, and it turned out the laundromat was adjacent to Brownies, the deli, pizza joint, bakery and hostel, which would take care of the hunger problem. So we relocated again.
We had to wait a while for a table to come available at Brownies. Indeed, Jacob’s clothes were nearly washed and our pizza nearly finished baking by the time someone left. But once I sat down at that table, we remained camped there for the rest of the afternoon. My only activity besides eating and drinking was workin#sesg on this blog. And believe me, I was eager to get back on the trail. It was already apparent that I wouldn’t be able to make it to Marias Pass by nightfall long before I had gotten everything posted. And Jacob, bless his heart, stuck it out with me, sitting right there at the table with nothing much to do once his clothes were dry.
I got everything done just before 6, and Jacob was ready to head off too since his train left at 6:45. We parted ways finally in the street across from where we sat. I went back to the trail with locals worriedly (or patronizingly) telling me there were grizzlies out there.
I got back on the dirt road that led out the back side of town. Then it got grassy and muddy as it became Blackfeet conservation land ($100 fine for any use without a permit…definitely a fair price to pay to avoid the effort of getting a permit), then more of a firm if overgrown dirt track with plenty of bridges and water diversion work that you expect of national park trails as soon as it reentered the park.
It was also mosquito hell. Just tons of overgrown vegetation, small streams, creeks, and a surfeit of standing water. Perfect breeding ground for the mozzies. I was hardly into the woods at the very beginning of the section before I had swapped my hat for my headnet.
There wasn’t much to see on the section. Just a couple of spots that had views. Mostly a green tunnel. I took one break two hours in, then hiked on until there was almost no twilight left. I spotted a dirt patch on a closed sidetrack just long enough for my tent, the first such spot I had seen since starting hiking for the day. So of course I took advantage of it.
It was around 10:30 by the time I was in my tent with the mosquitos still buzzing around outside (except for the one that made it in somehow) and I was asleep by 11:30.
Given the hassle of all the uploading and posting I had spent most of the day on, I was happy to have gotten any hiking in at all, even if it meant making an illegal camp in the national park. But this amount was actually pretty good:
Trail miles: 7.9
Distance to Benchmark: 125.1 miles