Continental Divide Trail – Day 117

September 17, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 21.8 / 2161.3

I was up on the trail about 7:00 this morning knowing I had about 22 miles to get to Chief Joseph Trailhead and then hitch into Darby.

Once again the trail started with a gradual climb that got steeper as I neared the top. There was a campsite at the top of the pass and I found a bikepacker up there packing up for the day. We talked for a few minutes before I started heading down the other side of the pass.

As in the last couple of days the trail was a roller coaster of ups and downs. I made it to Big Hole Pass and then the trail followed the divide the rest of the day. More ups and downs with a few side hill trails to minimize the climbs.

Water on the ridge line is always an issue so I stopped for lunch at a side trail that lead down to a spring. It was barely flowing but I was able to get a liter of water in about 5 minutes.

About 8 miles from Chief Joseph Pass the trail joined a forest road and I walked it all the way to the pass. I reached the highway about 5:00 and started walking toward Darby and hitching along the way.

About 15 minutes later I was picked up by a Missoula firefighter who was traveling home to Hamilton from a weekend trip. He dropped me off at the Traveler’s Rest RV & Motel where I was able to get “a real bed and a roof over my head”.

I showered and headed down to the Big Cat Cafe for some dinner. Nachos sounded good, but weren’t as good as I had hoped for. After eating I headed to Family Dollar and was able to get almost all my resupply there. I headed to the grocery to pick up the few things I missed and get change for the laundry ( the motel had a change machine but only took $1 bills).

Back at the motel I went to start my laundry and discovered the change machine didn’t work and I needed quarters so back to the grocery for more change. Once again I went to start my laundry only to discover the detergent machine was empty. Back down the street to family dollar (grocery was closed now) to get some detergent.

I finally got my laundry started and started packaging my food for my next section to Anaconda as well as a box the send to Benchmark Ranch. I finished the repackaging and my laundry a little before 11:00 and crawled into bed. I was completely exhausted after the long day.

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