Miles Hiked: 19.5
Total Milage: 2310.2
This morning I woke up a little later than usual. My tent was wet but not too bad considering how much it rained and stormed last night. It was a cold morning as I packed up all my things and hit the trail. I was hiking before 7am. I followed a dirt road back up to the trail which was also a trail. It was very foggy out and giant cold clouds were rolling through the area I was hiking in. I was hoping the sun would come out. All of my layers were on. Gloves, hoodie, puffy jacket, pants. I got water at a spring and it was the last water I saw for the rest of the day. I can’t believe how dry it is around here.
After getting water, I went up a long 2k foot climb. I was going so slow because my legs are so sore. It’s frustrating that I feel like I have no stamina even though I’ve hiked so far. I think part of it is just that my body is so tired from months and months of pushing it. Eventually the sun came out a little bit and I took a lunch break with Melon and 12 pack. Next we hiked across a cool ridge but it had lots of ups and downs and my legs were still so so sore. The clouds looked like it could rain and it made me nervous. It ended up being fine. When the sun actually came out and we got warm, I sat down to take a break and enjoy it. We ran into Hummingbird on the trail today, she was hiking with a guy named “Day Pack”. I was so happy to see her out here again and on a great pace! We ended up passing her when she had to go back into town for a phone issue. She took the Anaconda route allowing her to make up some lost time which is awesome.
Around 4pm we arrived at the outfitter called High Divide Outfitters. It was our camp destination for the night and I’ve been looking forward to it all day. I heard they sell a lot of Ultra light gear that you can only buy online. I took cash out of the ATM in Helena anticipating being able to buy a new pack if they had something I wanted. I don’t like my old pack at all, not to mention it’s falling apart pretty badly despite the repairs I’ve tried to make. I didn’t like my pack from the start but I thought I might get used to it. I did get used to it but I still didn’t like it. I hate the way I have to pack it to carry it somewhat comfortably. I have my food on the bottom which is so annoying. The pockets on the outside are also unbalanced which drives me nuts and I carry my tent on the outside which I don’t like much either. The hip belt is now too large and my back and shoulders are constantly killing me and causing me to take lots of extra breaks.
The gear shop was the coolest outfitter I’ve ever been to. They did carry so many brands that are not available to buy in person. The place was packed with ultra light gear. This is the kind of stuff you can’t buy from REI or any major retailer. Most of it is made to order from small cottage companies and takes multiple weeks to receive. Lead times on making a lot of gear is only increasing as the demand for it increases as well. I’ve even looked at buying some of this gear used and it’s nowhere to be found. They had so many packs I was interested in. I ultimately ended up getting the ULA circuit pack. It’s slightly smaller than the one I have now but the suspension system uses a hoop instead of two metal stays that a lot of other packs use. Dave, the store owner helped me adjust the pack to fit me and I even got to pack all my things in it before purchasing it. I ended up getting a great deal on the pack. He had it for sale less than it sells for online and I didn’t have to pay sales tax ( Montana laws). I also got to ship my old pack home and I got a new stuff sack for my tent because I can pack it on the inside of my pack now! I plan on using this pack for the PCat next year and I’m so excited!
I got some snacks from the store as well and I hung out with everyone for the rest of the night. I cowboy camped because I couldn’t get my tent stakes in the hard ground.