Continental Divide Trail – Day 35 & 36

Day 35

Zero Day
When I woke up this morning I was almost afraid to get out of bed. I knew it was going to hurt, I just didn’t know how bad. I swung my legs out and tentatively put my full weight down as I stood up off the bed. Sharp pains from stiff muscles and tendons shot up through the bottoms and tops of my feet, as well as my ankles. I couldn’t flex anything for a couple minutes, so I was walking like the Tin Man. As they began to warm up while I hobbled around the room, the pain faded. I managed to walk fairly normally across the street to subway (although still with a light limp) and enjoy a breakfast sub. 

Next order of business was to reserve my room for another day. This was truly the nicest room I’ve stayed in on a thru hike and I was in love with it. I planned to lay on all the furniture and roll around in the king size bed, as well as the floor; I was going to soak it in. 

So I went to the front office to pay the lady, but to my immense disappointment she had already reserved it for someone today and I had to be out at noon. This wasn’t reserved in advance, but reserved this morning while I was still in there. I don’t know what traditional motel/hotel policy is, but I feel like they should check with the person in the room to see if they’re going to stay another night before they book their room out from under them. Oh well, I wasn’t cross, only disappointed. It kind of put a dent in my “best zero ever.”

So I made use of the jacuzzi bathtub then set out to find a new motel. I managed to snag the last room at a different place a couple hundred yards down the road. On my way back to get my things I ran into Stomper and Funny Bone outside a McDonalds. I still had more than an hour left in the room, so I invited both of them to use my shower since they weren’t planning on staying the night in town, only passing through. 

They were blown away by the room as well, and even did their laundry in the sink and tub. Might as well live it up while ya can!

My feet felt better as the day went on while I walked here and there about the town grocery shopping and eating, but they were quite tender on the bottoms . Jacob, the awesome guy who rescued Katana and I from the side of the road when we were trying to get into Great Falls had made a food recommendation for when I got to Anaconda. He said not to miss the restaurant called “Barclays.”  Since I tend to follow local advice on most things, I was excited to give this place a try. 

I showed up at Barclays around 7pm in my super short Jolly Roger pirate shorts and a white T-shirt with a dirt stain across the chest. I looked like I’d just rolled in from Trashville. To my surprise and somewhat amusement, Barclays was an incredibly fancy restaurant/lounge. It was one of the finest establishments ever established for fine eating that I’ve ever been in. White table cloths, fancy glasses, chandeliers, coat racks at the entrance, real candles on the tables, leather bound seats, actual salad forks and dinner forks, and well dressed waiters/ waitresses. I stuck out like a turd in a punch bowl. Was this going to deter me? Not on your life. 

When I first walked in, I’m sure the hostess thought I was lost. She seemed to be tripping over her tongue when I asked if they had a booth I could sit at. No booths. If they thought I would leave after seeing how formal this place was, then I’m sure they were positive I would leave once I saw the prices on the menu. They neglected my presence for about ten mins, most likely waiting for me to get up and leave after I folded my menu and put it back on the table (ready to order). Not a chance. I knew they had me stereotyped when I walked in, but I was determined to change some perspectives today… 

“Did you want to order something?” The waitress said before even asking what I’d have to drink. “Yes ma’am, I’ll have a water and the 22oz porterhouse with a loaded bake potato, medium rare, charred on the outside please.” “We can’t charr our steaks” was her response. “Medium rare however you guys do it will be perfectly fine then,” I said with a smile. I also ordered a bowl of sauteed button mushrooms. 

So my order ended up automatically coming with appetizers of baby cocktail shrimp, breadsticks, spaghetti, salad, various other vegetables, and a platter of dressings and toppings; it was all delicious!

My steak finally arrived and my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. Holy Guacamole was it good (and huge!). I managed to eat everything in front of me but the small plate of spaghetti. Then, to make a point (and hopefully a good impression); I paid in cash and left a 50% tip on top of the already exorbitant bill. Honestly, it was worth every penny, and once the employees had warmed up to me, their service was excellent. The day’s lesson was…looks can be deceiving. I can only hope the next lowly thru hiker to wander in there will be met with open arms instead of trepid skepticism. I get it, I really do. 

I spent the rest of the evening editing photos and my blog. I almost have to take a zero day or a half day off if I want to upload stuff. The entire process is very time consuming from my phone, but I treat it like my second job. The plan is to leave out tomorrow around noon or so. I still have another 20 miles or so of road walking, so I want my feet to have as much time to heal as possible.

Day 36

Zero Day 
So I ended up taking a double zero. My feet felt almost normal when I woke up, but when I walked down the road there was still some residual tenderness. I don’t want to take the chance of retarding the healing process by pounding them on pavement for another 20 miles, so I made the executive decision to take another day off. 

I always feel restless on zero days, like I’m being a slacker; especially when I’m by myself. If I don’t have anyone to pass the time and share the bounties of town with, then I get the itch to move. I combatted that itch by sleeping for most of the afternoon. 

It was a very relaxing day, but tomorrow it’s back to the grind. I want 30s as often as I can get em. I spoke to Schweppes and he said the terrain after Anaconda is unlike anything we’ve seen to date. Now I’m anxious to see what it’s all about, as well as what kind of miles I can put in through it all. I’m looking forward to sharing the struggles with y’all… 


  1. I look forward to your every blog edition. You write beautifully and seem to be a man of high character. Thank you for keeping us all wanting more and living our dream.

  2. You write very well. I can clearly hear your voice and you bring the trail to life for all of us following. You have an awesome story and life, thanks for sharing.

  3. Just finished lost on the AT….felt like I’ve hiked the trail…also keeping up with Dixie…got my husband hooked watching her vlogs….saw that you were there …ya’ll make a great couple!! Can’t wait for the next update on both trails… Safe travels!!

  4. Enjoy your double zero! I’m glad you didn’t let the fancy ambiance or the restaurant and the preconceived responses of the waiters put you Off. I’m with you that would have been a total challenge to me also to change their perspectives. Anytime you can get someone to look beyond he cover is a win. 🙌

  5. your description of arriving at the restaurant gave me the best laugh i’ve had all week! got up and walked away and was still laughing a minute later

  6. I echo Nancy! I’m also glad you have a second job. Thanks for the descriptive posts, and I hope your feet feel well enough for you to get big miles on them. Happy trails!

  7. I’m so glad that this is your second job. I really look forward to your posts. I feel like I am a “section reader” of your CDT book! Prayers for travel safety.

  8. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying your hiking updates…the ups, the downs the descriptions,etc etc. Thanks!

  9. Good luck dude!! I know that zero day feeling. If I don’t have something planned for my zero day I often end up doing something stupid and get hurt somehow!! Go figure. But keep it up!!

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