top of page

Day 117 – Fire Detour

I dislike walking asphalt. The heat radiate off it in a shimmering tail. Cars fly by and the shoulder isn’t fit for an ant. Today I had to walk the roads and they made me appreciate the trails even more so. I was off early, with 11 miles of my planned route ahead of me, then 15 miles of an improvised trail and followed by the remainder of the day on gravel, dirt and asphalt roads. I got two more passes squeezed into the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness before I had to leave the Continental Divide Trail. Although I have heard of people ducking the closure without detection, I could not risk the $5,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. But I had a plan to get more hiking in than most people hiking this trail this year. I walked up to the closure, up to the very tenth of a mile it closed, then took a 15 mile side trail. At the end of this trail was a dirt road leading to a highway and then a dirt road back towards the trail. But, back to the best part of the day: from where I camped it was straight up, to the amazing cliffs and ledges of the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. 9,000’ ledges that offered sightlines of even higher peaks. Grass grew on the flat spots and it was other worldly. It was bittersweet climbing Cutbank Pass. It meant my turn was coming soon. Then I turned off and followed a meandering trail downhill by a guest ranch and through cows before following a dirt road to a highway. With my spirits relatively low, the most unexpected happened. Formidable, a section hiker I had met in the Bob Marshall Wilderness pulled over with her friend in a camper van on the side of the highway and they gave me cherries and a beer! It was the perfect start to a highway walk. I met two hikers on the awful road walk and suspect most people got a ride around. It’s hard to blame them, the shoulder is often nonexistent. Although it’s hard to appreciate road walking for detours, I have lots of it coming my way in the coming days and it does seem to accentuate how amazing the fact there is a trail through heart of this country. It’s all part of the experience and it is an experience I am incredibly lucky to have.

Miles 41

Total miles 3793

bottom of page