Friday, June 19, 2009

16 June 2009 - NW of Polebridge, Montana (road 114)

Due to our early departure date coinciding with unmelted snow on the "official" PNT, we were forced to improvise our first few days. After talking with some locals in the area, it looks like we will have to continue our improvisation of the PNT. Today we hiked about 18 miles NW of Polebridge. We are currently camped in what appears to be an old logging camp. I believe this is federal land, and I hope nobody stumbles upon us. Tomorrow we will also have to hike along some rural roads and camp in a secluded area which isn't private property.

As with all trips, the higlight has so far been the people. Last night we stayed in teh tiny town of Polebridge. By morning, we knew everyone at the three business and knew some of the local gossip. Our favorit person in town was the hostel owner Oliver. He is from Germany, but upon visiting the area decades ago realized that he had to immigrate. He operates a very laid back, rustic hostel with gas lights, colorful outhyouses, a huge greenhouse, and tepees. When we arrived he wasn't there but had left a note to make yourself at home. If you used any of his amenities, he asked to leave some money in a bowl by a door. When he finally arrived he was incredibly gung-ho about our trip, giving lots of practical advice. This morning we said our goodbyes, and after we had gone a few miles down the road, he caught up to us on his bike, I had left my flashlight and he figured it'd be important to us.

While we were walking, a man came running after us, excited to see some hikers. He is 59 and works odd jobs between long hikes. He had walked many of the major US trails and was gearing up to walk the continental divide. He wanted to talk all day, but we had to get going.

During the day we saw four bikers. Bruce stopped to talk to us. Apparently 41 bikers were racing from Banff to some place in Mexico. We were on their route. He was another great person to talk to, but he had to leave us and continue on his race.

I could give a short bio of another dozen amazing people that we have already met, but I am being eaten alive by mosquitoes. The morale is that there are tons of cool people out there living their life each day just as they want, with no regrets. I'm happy to be doing the same and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. These people prove it is possible.

Finding alternate uses for our trekking poles.

We were really excited to enter the National Forest. Little did we know we would enter and exit national forests over 100 times in the next two months.

Oliver, the hostel owner in Polebridge. Me sitting.

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