Day 130: Zero in Helena
Sunday, September 11, 2022 10:52 pm
Location: MacDonald Pass / Helena / Bill & Terry’s House (1925.8 miles)

An unplanned zero at the home of Stumblebee’s friends prepared the way for the remainder of our hike to Canada.

A Hazy Day in Helena
A Hazy Day in Helena
  • Our hotel had a decent breakfast buffet. Dino, Fuck-It, and I certainly ate our share of food.

  • Shortly before noon, Stumblebee arrived with her friend Terry. Stumblebee met Terry and her husband Bill while hiking the Camino de Santiago in 2017. They took Fuck-It and me to Terry’s house, about three-quarters of the way between Helena and MacDonald Pass. (Dino had planned a zero in town, and was staying a second night at the hotel.) I hadn’t been planing a zero today, but given the opportunity to stay with the rest of the group, and that I hadn’t yet gotten my resupply, I let laziness got the better of me and joined them.

  • At Terry’s house, the rest of the group — Bass, Sprouts, Wild Man, and Recon — had already gathered.

  • I got to listen to Fuck-It recount his adventure to the group. His re-telling (with their reactions) made listening to it for a second time even better. (A more thorough detailing of his adventure, with more commentary, can be found on Fuck-It’s blog, in French.)

  • We had a discussion regarding what to do about the weather: whether to keep going north, or flip up to Glacier and head south. We all had several different concerns, but no one really wanted to flip north. Wild Man was especially emphatic about continuing northbound. Taking into consideration the weather (the forecast was much improved over the next week and a half) we decided to continue northbound, and re-evaluate as we go. Though, because there’s only three more towns between here and Canada — Lincoln, Augusta, and East Glacier Park, not flipping here probably means we’ll have to keep going north, since transportation logistics will be difficult further north.

  • We’re anticipating making it to Canada on September 30, if everything works out. This might involve taking a few shortcuts, which there seems to be plenty of opportunity for.

  • The next two towns are Lincoln and Augusta. About a day before Lincoln, there’s an on-trail outfitter that also has a selection of food. My plan is to get three days of food in Helena, and if the food available at the outfitter is what I need, resupply there, skipping Lincoln entirely. Otherwise, Lincoln is a fallback plan, but it’s a bit off trail, so I’d prefer skipping the town if I can.

  • We went back to town for resupply, stopping first at an outfitter. I got a fuel can, and a new pair of socks to replace a pair with holes I threw out yesterday. Given the colder temperatures and snow, I also got a packet of hand warmers and and a pair of Smartwool pants to use as an base layer to stay warm, rather than a sleeping bag bag liner. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t find a new water filter to replace my Platypus gravity filter.

  • We stopped at a supermarket on the way back to Bill and Terry’s place. Once back, I repacked my food.

  • Bill and Terry cooked us an excellent dinner, salmon that Bill had fished last week while in Alaska.

  • The smoke in the air continued to thicken, making the moon blood-red.

  • Recon’s 30th birthday is in a few days; as a surprise, his friends Flame and Waves came to visit. They were driven here by The Austrian, whom I last saw retreating from a mountain in Colorado due to knee injury. He had gotten off trail, gone home (to Austria), gotten bored, and come back to the CDT to do shorter hikes and hang out with hikers.

Helena is the last major city along the trail in Montana. After Lincoln and Agusta, the trail goes through the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness, and finally, Glacier National Park. It finally feels like the end is in sight.

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