CDT MT Section 5

Day 81: Bozeman

Several times throughout the night, there were brief little sprinkles of rain which made the sleeping ever so nice. I had hoped maybe there would be a good solid shower to knock the smoke down, but didn’t really actually think it would happen. It wasn’t even predicted to rain the amount that it did.

I woke up at 4 and got myself going just to make sure I wasn’t late. There was enough moonlight and city glow around that I didn’t need to turn on my headlamp until I actually hiked out at 5am.

On average, the trail ahead was mostly downhill. As the light waxed toward 6am, I could begin to see that the smoke blanket was just as thick as before. I took one half-hour snack break at 7, and then, just before I reached the highway at 8:30, I passed a cooler labeled “for thirsty hikers.” There were some empty soda cans inside, but there were also some unopened bags of chips. I took a bag of Doritos to eat while hiking the last half mile.

Across the interstate overpass was a small trailhead parking area with an abandoned black sedan and an occupied camper van (the sleeping occupant’s foot was clearly visible in the window). I sat on a rock next to the sedan and texted Sarah a description of my position.

Another car pulled into the lot and an old man got out and just walked up to me with a McDonald’s breakfast burrito. He was just driving up here in hopes of finding hikers to give away food to. And then he gave me a couple of small cans of Coke as well and chatted with me for the half-hour until Sarah arrived. Two trail magics in one day!

Sarah was super nice even though the way I was able to get in touch and arrange a ride with her was incredibly convoluted involving at least 4 degrees of separation from me on social networks, she treated me like a friend right off the bat. We had a solid hour to chat on the way into Bozeman and she had plenty of interesting things to say about life in Montana, fires, and sites along the way, though I’m sure I could not remember most of it now.

She left me right in the driveway of Brad’s Bozeman home. He wasn’t home but I had the garage code. When I confirmed the code worked, I gave Sarah some gas money and my thanks.

I immediately started on my laundry and shower, and then I just laid around looking at the internet while my clothes dried. By the time I could be presentable and go out, I was absolutely starving. So I set out down Main Street in search of a salad bar.

This little grocery store called the Co-Op not only had a salad bar, it had a soup bar and a hot bar. None of it was all-you-can-eat unfortunately; the salad and hot bars were pay by the pound. The stuff on the hot bar didn’t turn out to be that hot or that good (aside from the lemon dill green beans, which were the latter at least), but the salad bar had everything that anyone could want on a salad. I was able to put together the perfect salad, working my way around the whole bar and adding a bit of everything like a kid in a fro-yo shop.

I was pretty full after all that, but it didn’t stop me from walking over to Bozeman Brewing Company, sitting down at the bar with a bowl of dill pretzels and trying a couple of amazing flights of sours, IPAs, and more. The whole time I was chatting with this guy Paul Irby (of the Buckhead Irbys) from Senoia, GA. An hour or two later, he bought both my flights and the pretzels and left. Trail magic number 3! In one day!

I bought a bottle of Peachadelic (peach Brett sour) to take back to Brad’s house (I should probably count the free use of the house, shower, laundry as trail magic number four) and sip while I sat on the couch and caught up on my shows. I had already uploaded all my blog posts over dinner, so I finally truly relax.

And so it was that I stayed there on the couch until midnight when I finally sleepily dragged myself to the guest bedroom and went to sleep.

Trail miles: 7.9

No regular posts for the next few days because those would correspond to days I was wayyy off-trail. I’ll try to find something to put here in the meantime, but I will likely leave most of the events of this break off the blog as irrelevant. Back as soon as I can!

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