CDT Day 87 (ID/MT – Leadore to Darby)

Delightful Darby and Wonderful Wardrobe

  • CDT Miles: 2,349.9-2,358.3 (8.4)
  • Total Hiked: 1,479.2 miles
  • Elevation Range: 7,015-7,900 feet

The morning had a sort of subdued feel to it. We got going right at 6am again and it seemed like it was pretty dark for a bit. Not much talking among the group. I was quite chilled as well and wore my fleece longer than what’s been typical. The general trend of our trail today was a short steep downhill, then a climb that mellowed out near the top, finishing with a longer downhill to Highway 43. For a while, it was a dirt road walk and I didn’t take all that many pictures.

Looking out to our left, it was quite pretty and to me, seemed like the air was clearer than we’ve seen in a while.

It was town day and we were pretty excited for it! I think we made it down to the road around 10:30am or so. After a quick snack, we decided there wasn’t much car traffic, so started trekking down a mile further off the CDT to Highway 93, which had a direct route to the town of Darby, Montana.

We hitched down at this corner…

Always right at the border (but maybe not for much longer)…

It was maybe 20 minutes before a car stopped and picked all three of us up. Lori and Mike were super friendly locals that told us a great deal about the area. Turns out they’re filming Kevin Costner’s show “Yellowstone” here, so that seems to have been the big news the last few years. Sounds like it’s a bit of unwanted attention.

Also on the way, they pulled over so we could get a good view of Trapper Peak, the highest point in the Bitterroot Mountains.

Our drivers dropped us off at the Montana Cafe and after thanking them profusely, once again getting denied when offering gas money, we parted ways. Of the sobo hikers we talked to this last section, about 99.9% told us to visit this restaurant. So I was pretty excited. Huge portion sizes and cheap, was the word on trail… just the way we hikers like it.

Showing up right around noon and it being a small, yet popular restaurant, there was a good wait before we could get a table. While hanging, we met some southbounders including Mayor, Fire Ant, and Walkie Talkie and her dad. Also started getting caught up on phone things.

I’d heard tales of a burger at this place, if you can even call it a burger. Well, I went for it…

That’s right folks, the “Trapper” is two grilled cheese sandwiches with two burger patties in between and all the fixings. Pretty extreme. I got one bite out of it normal burger style, but otherwise used knife and fork to chisel away at the sides. Only ate half in the first sitting. The salad as opposed to fries or onions rings was my attempt to be civilized still, bahaha. Cheer’s pancake was indeed quite massive, but she got it done. Overall, a fun and delicious experience complete with some ice cream dessert (I opted for Monster Cookie flavor). Couldn’t pass up a $1 cone.

After breakfast/lunch/dessert, we made our way over to the post office where I picked up a package I’d been looking forward to. My home team trail angels, “Super Strider” Sheryl and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Abram had teamed up to send me new shoes (woohoo!), my meds, and some unexpected extra goodies too!

I think the red pool ball number 3’s will work just fine! Snickers is now the only one left with raggedy torn shoes. He almost switched to the pair I’d been wearing (that Cheer previously was wearing), but they were a bit too narrow for him.

Usually this is the point during our resupply town visit where we try to check in to a motel or hostel or campground. Here in Darby, however, we were lucky enough to get the chance to stay with a friend. I met a CDT hiker named Wardrobe way back in New Mexico near Doc Campbell’s Post and the Gila River. She was sectioning and mentioned if ever I made it up this way, to reach out. We’d been texting some, coordinating plans, and so… after making a trip to Family Dollar for our first resupply run, I texted her we were ready and Wardrobe came and picked us up.

Since Darby is pretty small, Wardrobe took us to the next town away, Hamilton where she patiently chauffeured us around to the laundromat, grocery store, and even a Walgreens to look for some more specific items. The grocery store was a big hit with our group having a wonderful selection of organic treats and gluten free options for Cheer and some of the best priced bars I’ve seen anywhere. It was tough to say no to some of the deals and so after the combined Family Dollar trip, resupply package goodies, and the Super 1 Foods in Hamilton my food supplies were immense.

Before leaving town to head to Wardrobe’s place we even bit the jackpot by finding an adapter for Cheer and Snickers’ iphones so that they can once again have headphones. Then, we wound our way up the dirt roads and into the foothills. It was such a beautiful area… easy to see why Wardrobe and her husband Jeff moved here. They’re in the middle of building on their land and still invited us as well as some other friends of theirs, John and his son Lucas, to stay.

As we got settled in, Wardrobe and Jeff somehow pulled off both hosting and making dinner. It was so great and so fun. Lots of stories were told, I got a glimpse into the vision for their property, and just overall it was super nice getting to get to know everyone. One of my favorite parts of the evening was going on a walk up to a favorite lookout/view point of theirs to watch the end of the sunset…

Dinner was ready when we got back and we all ate together in lawn chairs and Adirondack chairs outside. It was pretty dark at this point, but my oh my was it worth the wait! As a hiker herself, Wardrobe knew exactly what we were craving and somehow managed our dietary restrictions as well. A fresh salad, some sort of mushroom risotto, and garlicy toast. Plus, Jeff has some tasty beers he offered me. And, being the owner of a brewery, he knew how to pick some good ones. Really enjoyed hearing about his brewery in Oregon and also how important the date stamp on beers is apparently. Also enjoyed the last story of the night by young Lucas who has been scheming with his friend to undercut the snack machines at their middle school by stocking and selling out of their lockers to fellow students.

I’ve mentioned a few times during this CDT trek and for sure during my PCT adventures that it’s the people you meet along the way that make these journeys what they are. This was such a wonderful day and the three of us so much appreciated how at home Wardrobe and Jeff (and their dog Harry) made us feel! Trail angels of the year!!!

2 thoughts on “CDT Day 87 (ID/MT – Leadore to Darby)

    1. Apparently yes that’s the general idea. but I guess depends on the type of beer and also you don’t want some to be too fresh haha. He was very thorough. A good sign is just that it’s nice and visible though, that means they care about it and willing to show it 🤷

      Liked by 1 person

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