So, After getting out of The Bob, I sat at the side of the gravel road waiting for a car to pass. and there I waited………
It took around 6hour for one vehicle to pass. This is a dead end road, just a small carpark at the end of a 30mile stretch of gravel more likely to be used on weekends, and today was Tuesday. I was beginning to think no one would be leaving that day (there were 3 cars parked up, likely on camping trips for multiple days) when a lovely couple pulled out the car park, offered me a beer and let me join them to Augusta, they were in their 40’s and had given up the desk jobs to tour the country. I stopped the night in a RV park, got breakfast in a small cheap cafe for a few dollars, and decided to hitch to Missoula then Spokane as there would be more to do while my feet heel and I could have a proper catch up with Tribhu. I walked to the roadside at the end of the town and before I had even turned around an old F150 pickup pulls over, and a nice old man says ‘hop in’, he was a carpenter on the way to finish a house. He agrees to take me to the crossroad 20 miles further down where I would continue my hitch in a different direction. The second hitch took about 10 minutes. A shiny new 4×4 drove past before swinging onto a dirty side road and coming back for me, the driver was an ex-police chief, on his way to a wedding. He dropped me in Lincoln 30 miles further down. From Lincoln I had one small ride of about 10 miles west followed by the rest of the way to Missoula with a guy going to see a music act that night, I honesty wasn’t going to consider the car for a lift, I could see in the distance the front wing had been ripped off in an accident and I slowly lowered my hand trying to make myself less noticeable, but he pulled in and asked ‘Missoula?’. Taking that as a good sign I took the ride. Before letting me leave he insisted I take a 4 pack of beers for the road and wished me well, as he passed me the pack of beers he hesitantly asked ‘actually, would you mind if I took one for the road?’. Safely presuming due to the conversation we previously had he was high and myself not really interesting in the beers anyway i happily obliged. Oh America you never surprise.
The satisfaction of covering a decent amount of miles from the generosity of others is one everybody should experience, a great way to see the states and meet the locals.
In Missoula I would relax for the day and look around before heading to Spokane to see a good friend. I asked around for a good coffee/pastry shop and planned on sitting down with a little food and finding accommodation. When I arrived at the coffee shop, the staff enquired if I was on holiday. I said I’m hiking the CDT and taking a couple of days off. After buying a pastry the girl behind the counter said ‘take a seat and relax here for a while’. So I did, minutes later for her to come over and introduce herself. She was called Sarah and had cycled the CDT two years previous with her husband Josh, she said they received a lot of generosity from people along the way and they would like to return the favor. So arranged for me to come down after the coffee shop closed and I could have a lift to their house. I met the husband Josh who had just got back from a mountain bike competition finishing quite well. The thing that always surprises me in life is just how much other people want to help. After a nice evening and a good breakfast of pastry and coffee the next morning Josh gave me a ride to the Greyhound Station to catch my Spokane bus.
I have been in Spokane for most the past week now stopping at my friends. My mangled up feet nearly good to go apart from one scabbed up blister that has decided to remain. So tonight I will head back to trail by catching the Amtrak back to Glacier and hitching back to where i left off. I have adjusted my pack to be as light as possible to accommodate better digital equipment for better photos, footage, and blogs. Here’s hoping i don’t need an umbrella, bear spray, ice axe, crampons, spare socks, wood burning stove, spare boxers or more than a 2 season sleeping bag.
On this trip so far I can count 9 hitches, 3 offers of accommodation overnight, free beer during the hitch, a nice pack of beers after another hitch, new friends to hike with, 2 grizzly bears, 3 black bears, moose, lots of deer, prairie dogs, mice, marmots, chipmunks, snow bridges, many river crossings, and probably a lot I have forgotten already. All good things. While this has been a slow trip to start I am looking forward to the next couple of months.