A new day, a clean slate. I was going to relax this new day away without a care in the world. Started things off by walking across town to the “Montana Cafe” for breakfast. I immediately ran into Stomper and Funny Bone at the cafe and joined them. They had both gotten into town around 2pm yesterday, about 8 hours ahead of me. I’d closed the gap considerably from their nearly day and a half start on me out of Anaconda.
The Montana Cafe in Darby has made the list of my favorite restaurants of all the long trails. Huge portions, cheap prices, and incredibly delicious; a winning combination that can never fail. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but a thru hike to me is 50% about the hike and 50% about the people, towns, food, and experiences. I LIVE to discover good food in new places, and long distance hiking has helped me to pursue that passion in epic fashion. By the time I’m done with this trail, I’ll be able to recommend a fantastic place to eat, visit, hike, or see in every corner of this country and anywhere in between. My extensive road tripping combined with my extensive foot travel to remote places has built quite a repertoire of whatever you could possibly want or need out of life, neatly catalogued away in my mind. It’s honestly all I’ve ever wanted out of life(although I haven’t always known it); to be able to roam at will, get in on adventure, meet new people, discover new places and be able to share what I learn or know with my fellow man. It’s my dream to reach a point in my life where I can meet anyone from anywhere and be able to relate or find common ground with them in a capacity that instantly breaks down any and all barriers that may exist between us; even if that barrier is simply unfamiliarity. Whether you’ve visited their country, their city, their state, been exposed to their culture, or been to the same foreign/local place at different times; anything! The more you travel and the more you explore, the more common ground you’ll find with more people, which leads to more connections, as well as learning even more new things. It’s intoxicating.
After breakfast I offered Stomper and Funny Bone another free shower and place to stay at my room if they wanted it. They happily thanked me and said they were on the fence about heading back out today, but still needed to run some errands. I told them the name of where I was staying, the room number, and let them know the door would be unlocked anytime they stopped by, and to let themselves in. They thanked me.
After some napping, I went back to the Montana Cafe and ran into the two of them again enroute; we all had a late lunch together. Afterwards they decided to take me up on the offer of the room and moved in. It was actually nice to have “roommates” for once. One of the great things about the long distance hiking community is that many of the individuals you meet can be very introspective, philosophical, well traveled, aware and in tune with their own personal growth and usually easy to talk to. Having spent countless days in nature’s solitude, many long distance hikers have developed an “outside looking in” mentality when it comes to society, as well as deeper/alternative perspectives on many aspects of life and living. The conversations we have with each other out here are unlike anything I’ve encountered anywhere else. Therein lies another facet to the addiction of this lifestyle.
There are more fires springing up, and there are rumors of the trail being closed just ahead of where I left off. I can’t seem to find any reliable or definite information, but I suppose I’ll find out for sure tomorrow.