Day 82: BZM->CHA
I couldn’t help waking up fairly early with all the alarms, but I intentionally slept through them. I had gotten to bed late and wanted to sleep in as much as possible.
Eventually, I got myself dressed and headed out to get breakfast at the Western Cafe. The place was a very cute diner, but very popular on a Thursday morning and packed to the brim. I had myself a nice cinnamon roll French toast breakfast with eggs and bacon and potatoes.
I returned to Brad’s house to clean up a bit and get ready for the trip, then realized I was super thirsty. I walked down main to find some place selling drinks. The co-op wasn’t open but the Ace hardware was. So I took advantage of the opportunity to grab a tube of Steelstik as well.
Back at the house, I spent the remaining time making a new nose bridge for my sunglasses with the Steelstik and sewing up the side of my money pouch. Soon, it was certainly time to be heading down to the airport, but just as I was about to call an Uber, Brad came in the door with his dog Piper.
He had just come in from Nashville, but said he would drive back to the airport with me just as soon as he finished eating lunch. So I grabbed my bag and played with the dog until we left.
I got through security with a little time to spare. It wasn’t too packed. So I bought a little snack and drink from the one shop selling food and ate at the gate.
From here, I flew to ATL, where I got supper from the only takeout counter that stayed open past eight, a Chinese food place, and I had to wait in line an hour just to get that. Then I caught my connection to CHA where my sister picked me up and drove me to her place. What with how late she picked me up and how excited her dog was to have a guest, it was well past midnight Eastern by the time I got to sleep.
Days 82-85: Interlude with Wedding
The next two days were pretty chill. I drove to Knoxville in a borrowed van, checked into a hotel, then drove to a pre-wedding meet and greet with dinner and games. The next morning I got hotel breakfast, cleaned up and got some clothes ready, got someone to give me a jumpstart so I could drive to get some lunch, then chilled with online friends until it was time to go to the wedding at the same venue as the night before. Quick wedding, long reception, then after-dinner beers at a brewpub with my oldest remaining friend.
The next morning was hotel breakfast again, checkout at 11, drive to Chattanooga in the rain, lunch at Olive Garden, then back to the airport in time to check my new backpack with the replacement knife in it and still have more than an hour to wait for the plane, which I spent watching TV shows with an online friend. Then followed a short hop to ATL, dinner from McDonald’s, one of the two open restaurants in concourse E, and a couple more hours of watching Netflix with online friend. On the flight back to Bozeman, I polished off the remainder of the season we had been watching. Brad (along with Piper) was waiting at the airport when I arrived, even though i hadn’t asked him to. We returned to his house, I dropped my stuff, brushed my teeth, went straight to bed.
Day 86: Leaving Bozeman
I slept in a bit again, but when Brad got up there was no denying it was time to get going. After a shower, I returned to Western Cafe for breakfast, but this time for the country fried steak breakfast with eggs and potatoes and toast and an extra side of French toast. My last chance to put on a little extra weight for the trail.
I also tried to find some place down main where I could buy some candy, but nothing like that was open, so I returned to the house to unpack my pack. At 9, Brad drove me to REI to return my old broken pack and buy a few essentials to continue with.
That done, I walked to the grocery store across the street and grabbed a couple of items of food, such as aforementioned candy. I knew Brad was getting on a call for work at a coffee shop at this time, so I sent him a text I would be at Starbucks waiting and walked over there.
After an hour there, I realized I didn’t get any limes, so I walked back to the grocery store. Brad was driving by in front of it at that moment looking for me. Turned out he didn’t have his phone with him and had no idea where I was. But he waited while I grabbed the limes and took me back to his house.
Once there, I put the knife I borrowed from Caroline in an envelope addressed to her in the mailbox then began putting all my stuff and food in the new pack and generally preparing to hike.
The weather was showing flash flood warning for the Bozeman area and it started raining finally as I packed up. The forecast showed scattered showers until the evening, at which point there would be one big shower.
Finally, I had my boots on and my pack packed and in the truck. Brad and Piper and me started driving west on I-90.
It took longer than expected because of a huge accident that reduced the traffic to single file for maybe 15 miles, but eventually we could move out again. We also went through one of those scattered showers, but as we got close to the Continental Divide, things cleared up enough we could see some pockets of blue sky and distant mountains. There was almost no smoke now for the first time in weeks. Along the way I ate a barbecue chicken sandwich on hard baguette sandwich Brad had made for lunch.
We pulled into Homestake, and I put my pack together (putting on my Packa rain cover) while Brad let Piper out to run and fetch in the parking lot. By 1:45 I was ready to walk and Brad needed to get to a place with wifi, presumably in Butte by 2 for his afternoon call, so we parted in somewhat of a hurry.
I called my mom then. We spoke for a few minutes during the first mile. Then it was airplane mode time. I put in my earbuds and podcasted my way up the hill.
After about two hours, I stopped under an overhanging rock and the rain started, sprinkling at first. There was a bit of thunder, but only fit a moment. When I started climbing again, a thick fog rolled in to accompany the rain. I continued in that fashion and weather, getting only mildly damp in my rain gear due to unknown leaks.
Roundabout dinner time, I ran into a section hiker going north and we chatted maybe 15 to 30 minutes about what the trail was like, as he’d done substantial sections in his own fashion. By the time we hiked on it was definitely dinner time, so I stopped at the next reasonably flat area and made camp and dinner. By this time, the rain had let up, so all my stuff stayed pretty dry and I cooked and ate outside on a rock. I wasn’t ready to blog until nearly 9, and wasn’t ready for sleep until well after 10. All the staying up late over my trail vacation meant I wasn’t really sleepy until then either. No problem though. I could sleep in a little bit in the morning.
Trail miles: 7.3
Distance to I-15: 27.4 mi