Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Day 145: Leaving Augusta

September 12: I ate breakfast at the restaurant attached to the motel where I ordered pancakes, eggs and sausage patties--all of which were very filling and delicious! Joining me were four other thru-hikers: IB Tat, Jazz Hands, Click and Just Awesome, so we swapped trail stories and generally had a good old time.

Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about hitching a ride back to the trailhead. There was a trail angel in town, Frank, who gave rides to hikers

For breakfast, I stopped at the restaurant attached to the motel. (That big window on the right is the restaurant part.)

He was planning to drive anyone who needed a ride out that morning, but that put me in a bit of a bind since I still needed to drop by the grocery store to resupply. IB Tat also had some tasks to take care of, and Frank said he'd go ahead and give everyone else a ride, then make a second trip later in the morning or early afternoon for me and IB Tat. He had to go back to the trailhead anyhow to pick up hikers that had texted to let him know that they'd be arriving.

So that worked out really well for me. After breakfast, Jazz Hands, Click and Just Awesome got a ride from Frank back to the trail. IB Tat went back to his room to do some work for his YouTube blog, I assume. And I headed over to the grocery store to resupply.

The general store was sufficient for my purposes but hardly a supermarket. It was adequate, though.

Back at the motel and campground, after packing up my pack, IB Tat checked out of his room and we sat around chatting and killing time until Frank returned and gave us a ride back. IB Tat seemed a little confused about exactly where Frank had picked him up to go into town, and Frank told him precisely where he was when he was picked up. It seemed important to IB Tat that his steps stay connected, so I found it a little amusing when he seemed a bit confused about directions.

I, on the other hand, knew exactly where I had walked in from and asked to be dropped off at the junction just past the airfield, which--as it turned out--was exactly where IB Tat needed to be dropped off as well. Frank drove onward, checking two different trailheads where hikers might have come out at and could be waiting. I gave Frank a $20 for his gas and time. He never asked me for any money and I had assumed that he was just offering these rides for free because he was generous and enjoyed the hiking community, although when I talked with someone later, they said that Frank actually required a payment. It wasn't an unreasonable request--this trailhead was a long drive from town and the cost of gas and wear and tear on his vehicle was undoubtedly very real, but it seemed like the type of thing he might have mentioned before giving someone a ride.

Anyway, given how far out of the way it was to drive to this remote trailhead, I felt perfectly happy offering $20 for the lift. Still a lot cheaper than an Uber! It was about 1:00pm when we got dropped off. I lingered for a few minutes to eat a snack. It was lunchtime by now, and I felt a bit peckish. So I ate some snacks for a few minutes, then continued up the gravel road in the direction IB Tat had already started hiking.

A short bit of gravel road to walk before hitting real trails again.

 I followed the gravel road only for a couple of miles, I think, before it reconnected with real trails. All-in-all, it was a pretty easy day of hiking. Very flat, very easy.

The only problem was a bit of sprinkling late in the afternoon--a sprinkle that had not shown up in the weather forecast--but it wasn't so hard that I ever pulled out my umbrella.

And, a couple of hours into my hike, I saw a lone figure hiking in the opposite direction and quickly realized... I knew that person! It was Foxy! Who I had last seen after hiking into Pinedale, WY, together. I knew she had planned to flip-flop to the Canadian border and start hiking southbound, but I was surprised to see her so far north. I had expected our paths would have crossed a week or two earlier, and assumed that maybe they had but that we had taken different routes or managed to miss each other in a trail town somewhere. Particularly on that Super Butte Cutoff, we could have easily have taken two entirely different routes and passed each other without even knowing it. So I was a bit surprised to find her still so far to the north.

She told me that flip-flopping with Prince had probably been a mistake. It took a lot longer to get to the Canadian border than she had expected, she had trouble getting a permit for Glacier NP, and soon after, Prince wound up quitting the trail so now she was hiking alone and still had the better part of a month to hike before reconnect with where she had gotten off the trail to flip flop, but that she was still determined to finish the trail this year no matter what. I believed her, too!

We only chatted for a few minutes, though. Foxy was anxious to get into Augusta to resupply. She said she passed IB Tat not long before me--not a bit surprise there since we had gotten a ride to the trailhead together--but that he reported having seen a baby bear on the trail somewhere nearby and that he hadn't see the mama bear but wanted to make sure to get well away from the area before mama returned. 

Crossing paths with a familiar face--Foxy!

With that report, I kept my eyes particularly alert for bears--babies or otherwise--but never saw any. I guess IB Tat scared them off.

By about 6:00pm, I was ready to quit for the day. I had only covered about 13 miles, but with the dark, menacing clouds lurking overhead, the light was getting tough to take photos and I liked the idea of setting up camp before any real rain might start.

It happened to be where IB Tat had already set up his tent. There was plenty of room nearby for other hikers, but before setting up my own camp, I asked if he'd mind if I set up nearby. He said it wasn't a problem, and I quickly set up my tarp for the night.

He spent most of the night working on his YouTube video for the day. I'm still amazed that he puts out a YouTube video every single day on the trail--and even does the editing for the videos each evening in his tent. It's all I can do just to write in my journals on a reliable basis. I gave up trying to actually write blog posts while on the trail. But he manages to do a YouTube post for every single day of the trail. It sounded awful, truth be told.

We did chat for a bit and he did admit that it was exhausting at times, and he often didn't want to do it. But it was a relatively easy way to make a few bucks that allowed him to do hikes like this in the first place, which made it worthwhile. I could definitely understand that sentiment.

Having stopped so early in the evening, that gave me plenty of time to watch some Netflix videos on my phone and read my Kindle. Living the good life! And, of course, writing the days adventure in my journal so I could still post reliably about it a year after the fact. =)

IB Tat by his tent for the night.

More evidence that the seasons are changing....

I think a bear did this? I'm not sure what the tree did to piss off  the bear so much that it would attack the tree, though! (Just kidding... probably getting to the sap or insects under the bark or something. I don't really know, though.)

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