Let it Be, Leaving Darby
- CDT Miles: 2,358.3-2,367.7 (9.4)
- Total Hiked: 1,488.6 miles
- Elevation Range: 6,840-7,620 feet
After a wonderful sleep in the truck camper, I awoke around 6:45am and went inside the garage. The chairs from last night were still set out and so sat in one of them and began perusing on the phone. Snickers joined soon and then John as well and it was good conversation among the three of us before the others emerged. Wardrobe and Jeff came out with a pot of coffee and I happily accepted a pour. Garage doors open, rested, relaxed… It was a great start to the day.
When Cheer joined, we each began our own packing process of stuffing all our newly acquired food inside our packs. Oye. I’d gathered what felt like way too much. I didn’t even fit it all in, but instead kept a gallon Ziploc full of snacks out in hopes I might eat some before hiking again today.
After many many thank you’s and a few group photos, we said some goodbyes and the three of us hikers got in the car with Wardrobe to head into town.
We planned to go for breakfast before anything else, hoping to try a place our local hitchhiking drivers yesterday had suggested, the Blue Joint. Sadly, they were closed. Not sadly, back to the Montana Cafe we went!
There, we bumped into Mayor and Fire Ant again and all six of us sat together 🙂 Over good chatting and story telling, we devoured some wonderfully tasty food. The pancakes had a bit of crispyness to them and some melted butter stuff that was spectacular. I got a ridiculously large blueberry one and Cheer went for chocolate chip again. They were massive people!
It made me quite happy that as a team we managed to finish all our food. I’m talking “scraped the plates” clean. And there had been so much! I recruited Snickers to help with my pancake, but then ended up eating the last bit of Cheers egg scramble after Mayor had made a good dent in it. It was very much a team effort and I loved it. May sound silly to y’all though.
Here’s before the carnage (if taken afterwards, we’d all have dazed food coma looks going on).
A lot of the restaurants or motels in resupply towns have logbooks for hikers. It’s a nice way for us to see who’s ahead of us…
It was already nearing noon by the time we finished breakfast (we’d originally thought of getting back on trail in the morning) and it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful host, Wardrobe. This whole visit to the Darby-Hamilton-the Bitterroot Valley area was such a joy thanks to her and Jeff. It is the people you meet along the way and we now continue on with truly rejuvenated spirits thanks to this dynamic duo.
After parting ways, we headed over to the post office since Snickers hoped to bump some stuff up to a town ahead. I wanted to add some of my extra food too, but frustratingly, we found out they only do pickups on Saturdays. So no shipping for us. There was nothing to do, but pack it in and then get on the road for hitching.
After a half hour or so, we had someone stop that said she could take us part of the way to Camp Sula. We decided to go for it since not having much luck. She was super nice disclosing to us her plans to make some grain silos into Airbnb tiny home rentals. There was still about 15 miles to go where we got dropped off, but there was a gas station and campground.
At Camp Sula, Cheer talked to another hiker that had been trying for hours to get a ride to the trail. Didn’t look promising. She also managed to chat with the cook of the small restaurant there who was working on cleaning up. Once finished, she said she would bring us up to the trailhead and if we helped, it’d go quicker. I was all on board and so went back to offer my kitchen cleaning services. I guess she was joking about that part, but our new friend, Thea, did follow through and brought all four of us back to trail in her awesome black pickup truck!
Today was a little exercise in just letting things be. Sometimes you just don’t have control over how long an epic breakfast feast takes or when you’ll get a ride to the trail, so you embrace the variation and go with it. Not my strong point, but today, after such a wonderful “town” stay,” I was content with whatever. We thought we’d be getting on trail late morning or something, but went for the old 3:33pm start today.
We were greeted back to trail by some forested tunnels. It was peaceful. Some chit chatting for the first hour and a half, then solo silent walking. I listened and could hear the wind in the trees, footsteps on the ground, a few birds but not many, and some squeaking of my pack..
Starting out, the trail followed what appeared to be cross-country ski trails…
Around 6:30pm, we made it to Gibbons Pass. There was a sign there telling us about it and I was left feeling like this was a pretty good example of how history can be whitewashed. The sign did explain that the Nez Perce were retreating, “Leaving War Behind,” is what the header says, and then calmly mentions that Colonel Gibbon planned a surprise attack, and leaves it at that. Maybe there’s more to it, but the sign made me question why we name a Pass after the guy.
Slowly and steadily, we hiked uphill to camp. A hiker with the name of “lilian” has been leaving lots of comments on our app lately and at one point I didn’t agree with something she wrote. It’s sort of become a joke that I have a big grudge against her. For this section though, she (or he or they) mentioned campsites at a certain mileage and came through! So now we’re friends.
7:30pm we made camp, quickly set up, and then had dinner. So much food!
I treated myself to a fancy Mountain House meal (beef stroganoff) thanks to the fam! These dinners are a tad pricey, but they are delicious.
Big news for today is that we’re finally moving on from the Idaho-Montana border! After doing a big arc to the west and then north, were now making our way back east before the final northern push through Montana.
Of other importance… I’ve developed a toothache. Not sure when it started or if I’ve mentioned it already before, but I think today’s when I started taking ibuprofen regularly for the pain and decided to try and see a dentist in the next town.
Apart from that, awesome day today!