As I was still in my sleeping bag and sipping my coffee I looked up to see two hikers on the trail, Day Man and La La (I had met them breifly a few weeks ago as they were going into Lima and I was returning to the trail). They were on a mission to get to Helena, so we chatted for just a minute and they took off.
Packed up and hiking, I soon came to the water source I had been counting on as I had finished the last dregs at breakfast. All I saw were scuzzy mud puddles. No matter, there was a spring in another mile or so, so I kept on hiking. When I realized I should have arrived at the spring I looked at my phone to see that I was apparently on a new section of trail that wasn’t reflected on Guthook’s app. The spring was back on what must be the old trail, or an old road. Since i had no idea if this new trail had any water sources I backtracked and started down the road. Shoot! The spring was another muddy puddle. I scooped up just a little bit of water to drink in an emergency, and set off for the next water source, three miles down the trail.
There was more new trail, but if the water was going to be this iffy I decided to follow the data on Guthook so I would be sure of my mileage and water sources. I’m sure it’s very nice trail, but I had also heard there was a bit of misleading signage in this area, so didn’t want to risk hiking it.
The next source was a spring fed water tank and I had some nice cool water at last. I would have to start being conservative again if some of the sources weren’t drinkable.
Most of the morning followed the old roads and I climbed and descended gentle grades. I took lunch in a shaded spot near the trail and while I was napping heard approaching steps for the second time today. Two new northbounders! Sam and Splint (???not sure I got his name right). They too looked like they were on a mission to get to Helena, and I wondered if I was the only one not really concerned with time or milage…maybe it’s just that I’ve had a lot of time off lately.
They continued on and I packed up for my afternoon of hiking. I didn’t end up seeing any of the 4 hikers again, so I guess they made some good progress today.
Lots of tree-bound hiking this afternoon, a few sub-par water sources, and when I passed a nice cold trickle I decided to fill up to capacity just in case of what I might find ahead. I listened to more of my audio book and just bumbled along at my own pace.
I walked until almost 7:30 tonight, which is later than usual for me, but I was not enamored with the camping options, so kept going. As it is I’m settled in a uniform forest of pine trees, what I must imagine is an old burn area, all the trees the same size and densly spaced, crowding out eachother and ensuring none will get big or thrive.
I ate a huge helping of dinner, washed down with some gummies. I’m full and getting sleepy. I’ll get in another chapter or two of my ebook, The Goldfinch, and then close my eyes to another day.