CDT MT Section 10

Day 94: West Yellowstone

Despite the severe pain along my spine from sleeping, both in the usual place at my lower back and in the new place between my shoulder blades, I tried to roll over and sleep in a bit. With only a two mile hike to the road to catch a hitch, and nothing to gain by being in town before 7, I had little reason to be hiking down before sunrise. As it was, I emerged from my tent just after sunrise.

An hour’s mostly downhill road walk later, I was at the highway. I crossed the road and stuck out my thumb. An SUV that had been parked there immediately turned around and picked me up to drive me to town. Zero wait hitch achieved.

The driver was Paige, a young Uber driver living in both Bozeman and Idaho Falls, switching locations every Sunday. It wasn’t Sunday, but this time she was headed to Idaho Falls to get a lift kit and several other things put on her car. She had left Bozeman so early she’d had to stop at Targhee Pass for a short nap to have enough energy to get to get destination, yet she seemed quite full of energy now, happily chatting right up to the front of the Running Bear Pancake House where I asked to be dropped. Thanks Paige!

I was able to get a table as soon as I walked in despite the restaurant being fairly busy and popular, and I was fortunately seated right next to a post outlet. After placing my order, my watch ticked over to 8am, and I immediately called the just-opened Yellowstone Backcountry Permit Office. A very friendly and helpful ranger picked up on the third ring and fifteen minutes later I had a permit in my email. Far more painless a process than I was expecting.

After breakfast, I called Mama while I walked to the laundromat/shower across from my motel. I couldn’t check into my cabin until 3:30, so I paid for a coin-op shower before running my laundry. After two loads (because even my backup clothes smelled sour after being exposed to all the dampness on that last leg) and nearly 20 dollars in quarters, I had used up most of the morning. That included a trip to the convenience store to get some toothpaste and earbuds to watch TV while I waited on my clothes to dry (and some root beer and pickled carrots–why not?).

So I packed up and went to the supermarket next. There were two in town. The first one I went to was small and had limited selection, so I ended up going to both. If I had known about the other to begin with, I could have saved a trip. At the second, I also bought a bunch of pastries and ate them on the bench outside while packing up the last of my resupply.

But that didn’t mean I was full. Oh no, it was lunch time, and there was a barbecue joint down the street. I sat down and spent the early afternoon working on a half rack of ribs with cole slaw, toast, housemade BBQ chips and a couple of microbrews from the area.

Even after all that, it wasn’t even 3pm yet. But I didn’t know what else to do, so I just went the motel and sat outside the lobby whittling until the manager arrived and checked me in a little early (just after 3).

Finally, I could spend a few hours just chilling (and then warming up once I turned the wall heater on) in my room, trying to work up an appetite for dinner and making one other important phone call.

Finally, I figured it was time to get supper, but in the crowds of this bustling tourist town, I didn’t want to wait for a table at any of the restaurants, so I called a pizza place down the street and ordered a pizza and side salad to go.

Half an hour later, I walked siren to the convenience store to buy a 6 pack of 2 Towns Cosmic Crisp Cider (and some Watermelon Wiley Wallaby to nibble as I walked through town) and then to the pizza place to pick up my order. I carried all this back to my cabin and ate the pizza and drank a cider on the front porch.

Actually, I should have ordered a personal pizza. After a day full of eating, I ran out of room for pizza after eating 3/4 of the small 10″ pizza I had purchased. Then again, the cider was bubbly, and I made room for the last few pieces just by burping.

It would be another couple of hours before I made room for the salad. But I did it. And then I stayed up to midnight watching videos, chatting, and doing work on the blog, getting through another couple of ciders along the way.

Even on the mattress, my back still hurt, but I eventually found a comfortable position and hoped I would be able to sleep in until 6, given how late I was getting to sleep compared to a usual day.

Trail miles: 1.8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *