Aug 9th
Hwy 43/Darby(2227.6)-5mi N of Gibbons Pass(2239.6)
Campsite Elevation: 7,201
I was very happy to sleep in this morning in the motel. I am LOVING the independence and quiet of my own motel room. The plan was to leisurely leave Darby once I got my town chores done. I lounged in bed, finished my emailing, made some calls, and Skyped my sister and nephews(now plural). Then I did my resupply and laundry. My stepmom has recently gotten many care packages from blog followers now that the hike is winding down. Thank you to everyone sending things. My stepmom is doing her best to get them included in my remaining resupplies. With these final packages, more has been sent than I will need to finish out the hike, so she will be sending me all the extras after I return home. Again, thanks so much for everyone’s support. It is especially motivating knowing everyone is out there following along when I’m so close to the end and needing that extra encouragement. For this resupply, I want to thank Heart, Yankee, Dan, Edie, George, Katy, and Chad. THANKS!!!

I saw Bloodbath and Rampage briefly before I left and they u expectedly need to take a zero in Darby today to take care of some personal things and trail chores. They had planned to zero with me in Butte, but are under a time constraint to get certain things done today. I have mentioned my need to start hiking my own hike, and this is the leg that it will start. My goal is to stop pushing so hard and do NOT set an alarm. Just make more of an effort to keep a steady pace without wearing myself out. If that means I have to hike solo, then I’m okay with that. I’ve gotta “do me” and I know my fellow hiker friend Twiggy will be very proud of my decisions. Hi Twiggy! Those of you worried about me going solo(mom), you will be happy to hear that, another hiker showed up that I am now camped with. Who could it be?…

I hitched out of Darby and wanted to drop by the next town of Sula on the way back to the trail. It took two hitches that came quickly and I was there by 3pm. Sula is the other place many hikers resupply. Optimist and Stopwatch messaged me this morning to tell me that the cook at the Sula store followed my journal and would like to meet me. It was on my way, so I decided to drop by. While I was in a car on the way to Sula, I saw Cherry Picker trying to hitch back to the trail. When I got to the Sula store, it was great to meet Lori and Marge who work there. Lori knows almost all the hiker blogs and I was blown away by how much detail she remembered about all the hikers! She made me a sandwich even though they had closed before I got there and then offered to drive me back to the trail. She and Marge are very hiker friendly and do all they can to help hikers with getting back to the trail. As we were walking in, Cherry Picker walked up. He couldn’t get a hitch and walked to the store a few miles. He was able to ride along with me when Lori took me. Here I am with Lori. THANK YOU Lori!!!

Cherry Picker and I hiked together the rest of the day. It was overcast and about and hour and a half into hiking, rumbles were coming from the skies. We were hoping to dodge the rain and unfortunately didn’t. We walked in it until it became more steady. We were fortunately in the woods and found a dry spot under some trees. Then some hail came. It seemed like it might last a bit, so we set up my tent and waited it out in there. From the time we stopped hiking to when we started again was an hour, which wasn’t too bad. I was really glad we waited it out. A front had come through and the temps got much cooler. Had we hiked in the rain, we’d be wet and shivering. We got to hike comfortably dry after the rain passed. We hiked til 8:30pm on the mostly forested trail.

The last hour or so was a large burn area.

We found tent spots in a small area of living trees that were more stable. You can see in the background of picture that we are just about to enter another burn area with a lot of brush. Yes, I realize that we are close to the trail, but it happens sometimes and it was difficult to find a spot.

We were happy to find a pretty good spot to camp. Even with the rain, it was a nice start to this leg. Tomorrow, we enter the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and many southbounders mentioned it as one of the highlights of Montana. I have no alarm set for tomorrow and am very excited about that too!

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