* Feet have been mostly dry, spirits are high
* Skies in Montana are beginning to get smokey
* You cannot trust weather reports in Montana
* Headed to Iowa and then Wyoming pretty soon
I left Augusta and promptly started walking lovely high ridges in Montana. This meant that for the first time in a week, I was truly dry and it was glorious! On the second day out of Augusta, I had such a groovy, dry 30-something miles with over 12k feet of ascent that I thought I might not even need a tarp for the evening!
I decided to camp on top of a nice ridge, and checked the weather report: 0% chance of precipitation, no thunder storms. Score! I pulled out my bivy and fell asleep staring at the stars with a lightning show some 80-miles away south of Helena. Around midnight I was awoken to a slight splash of rain. I quickly decided to setup my tarp — but I was too slow. Within 1 minute the slight rain turned into golf ball sized hail as bolts of lightning struck the high points around me, ripping apart the night sky with roaring thunderclaps. An inch of rain dropped on me within 5 minutes. All my gear was completely soaked through by the time my tarp was up, which was just in time for the storm to flutter on by. As the winds dried my tarp, I was forced to curl into a ball of soggy down to await the morning. Never have I been more wet (and tired)
The morning proved to dry me out quickly enough, and I ran into some other hikers to chat with before reaching Dave’s Outfitters in the early afternoon. Dave is a random retiree that decided to turn his wilderness, off-grid home located 0.15 miles off trail into a very well equipped gear shop. The 200 square foot home features more hiking gear than an REI store possesses. It was like hiking into Hiking Gear Narnia, where stacks of expensive ultralight gear threatened to topple down on you if you talked above a whisper.
I stocked up some calories, and decided to get a couple days of resupply to get me to Anaconda so I could avoid a hitch into and out of Helena.
I’m in Anaconda, the hiking has been good, the road walk not terrible, and I hear that the sections to come are splendid.
I’m around town for a while, seeking out laundry and a shower, and will head back down trail sometime later today.
With love and excitement,