This post was written in my sleeping bag at the end of a long day. Please excuse any errors.
We leave Anaconda later than we mean to. I’m antsy, sitting in the motel room bouncing my legs, waiting for everyone to do their last minute stuff. The closer I get to the border, the more I want to just fly.
We’re on dirt roads, and, like so much of Montana has been, we’re walking up and down rolling golden hills, the distant peaks obscured by smoke. I’m a little bored by anything not spectacular at this point in my hike, and I’m wondering if I’ll even have any thing to blog about this time The trail leads us in and out of forest, and on the second day out of town, I’m ahead of the guys. I think about how much this reminds me of the PCT and how safe and comforted I feel under these pines. No sooner have I finished thinking this and I round the corner and see it. Brown fur flies down the hillside towards the trail. It’s moving fast, but I can still make out the hump and the shorter, square face. Grizzly bear! It reaches the trail, turns and takes a few fast steps towards me. For half a second, I think I’m being charged. HEY! I yell. It stops, maybe 50 ft away and stands up on its hind legs, looking at me. Before, I would have said it was a small bear, but on its back legs, it is taller than me. Suddenly, I remember that I have bear spray and pull it out. I yell again and it drops to all fours, turns and runs, before turning back and hopping back onto two legs to check me out again, curious about this strange, dirty, smelly woman. I retreat back down the trail to wait for a friend. My legs are shaking from adrenaline, but I am strangely calm and unafraid. It takes almost five minutes for Wild Land to catch up and I almost start back up the trail without him I’m so impatient, although my common sense gets the better of me. The rest of the day is uneventful. We lose Thatch, and we lose the trail, but find both again before it gets dark. In the morning, we hike fast. It’s only 20 miles to the pass, for a total of 75 miles hiked in just over 48 hours. Wild Land’s parents meet us at the pass, enveloping me in huge hugs and handing me Tupperware full of blueberries.