July 29, 2019
Today ended up being a really cool day in more ways than a couple.
Of course there was eating, relaxing, chores, writing, conversating, blog updating, and what have you. Normal town/zero-day type stuff. Also, Jetpack and Quiet Man got in early this morning.
Firstly, I attended to my new shoes. Stripped the speed lock laces off my old shoes and gave them to another hiker. Stripped the new laces off my new shoes and laced them up with new speed lock laces. Took some comparison photos and disposed of the old shoes. But wait! There’s more!
I didn’t just dispose of the old shoes. They have two “shoe tree/totem poles” at the motel here in Lima. There’s probably over a hundred old shoes hanging between the two of them. A real novelty sight. Well, I got new shoes here back in 2017 too, and I hung the old ones in the shoe tree. I went looking for them this morning and found them right away – right where I left them. I hung the new old ones next to the old old ones. Truth be told… the pair from 2017 looked to be in better shape than the pair from this year – even after hanging in a tree for two Montana winters. If I hadn’t just got new shoes, I would have swapped my worn out 2019 shoes for my worn out 2017 shoes and kept on hiking.
Anyways, I hung the new pair of old shoes next to the old pair of old shoes and it was really cool and bittersweet. They’re both the exact same color (black and yellow), except the 2017 pair are Altra Lonepeak 3.0’s while the 2019 pair are Altra Lonepeak 3.5’s. Ah, take me back.
Nextly, probably 8 new southbound thru-hikers came in today, and I knew 3 of them from the AT in 2014. Their names are Bamboo, Ungerwear, and Neon – all male hikers. I’d hiked and camped around them early-on in North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as up in Pennsylvania and New England. They were all eager to know where Katana was and how she was doing.
We all had dinner at the only diner in town with half a dozen other thru- hikers. What a trip down memory lane! So many stories and names of past hikers I’d forgotten or hadn’t thought about in years. In fact, if you’ve read my AT book, “Lost on the Appalachian Trail,” then you’ll remember this one. In Pennsylvania, Katana once disobeyed me (big surprise) and ran all the way back down a side trail to a shelter, jumped inside and stole another hiker’s instant mash potatoes. Well, that hiker was Ungerwear. We had a great laugh about it over dinner tonight, as well as about a hundred other things with everyone else.
It really is remarkable how multiple people can meet in the most remote and faraway places, and then meet again years later, in other remote and faraway places. The universe continues to bring familiar faces back together in the most unfamiliar places – sort of.
Tomorrow morning I’ll hit the trail again and be out of Montana for good. So this is my last night as a Montanian. Wyoming looms on the horizon, but not for a few more days
You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com