Miles: 7

My CDT mile: 1734.1

The morning was exceptionally chilly, condensation on the inside of my tent and on my sleeping quilt. I knew it was a short hike to the highway, so I let myself snooze in my cozy cocoon for an extra hour. Oh, the luxury! My food bag was still where I left it-in a tree, so I had to add the extra work of taking it down and coiling up my rope. I suppose it will become more routine as it is the new daily habit I must adopt for the rest of the trail. I truly hope I get better at hanging it.

The walk today was all on a gravel road, a detour for a local forest fire. It is a forest service road closed to public traffic, so I had it to myself. My new thing is hiking with my podcasts playing out loud-no headphones. This is one way I can let the bears know I’m there. Seeing signs that warn not to hike alone was a bit unsettling…I’m going to put extra effort into finding someone to hike with now. I’ve had my solitude, I’ve tasted lonliness and I really think there is a lot to enjoy in the company of others. I guess I like people after all…not that I don’t like them, I just really like being alone too!

The views were pretty cool, crazy mountain rock formations in the distance. Half desert/half mountain terrain. Yellowstone is next, so I expect some cool surprises to come. Everything is new to me here and I like that.

When I got to the highway I was thrilled to have a phone signal. I texted friends both at home and on trail, my mom and turning on the Internet, my phone nearly exploded. Ah, I am not a fan of always being connected, but boy does it feel good to receive news from somewhere other than my own brain. I guess I really am lonely now, which is good. I wanted to know the feeling.

A Jeep pulled over and Limey was in the front seat. He had taken a different alternate so came out at a different spot on the highway. He was going all of the way to Dubois, but my stop was much closer at a roadside lodge. They dropped me off and Limey and I made loose plans to team up for a bit while the grizzly danger is high. We will reconnect tomorrow. Yellowstone is referred to as “The Grizzly Gauntlet.” I know attacks are rare…but I’m just a little thing and my fear is legitimate  (and sane!). I think I would be crazy to not be a little scared!

Anyway, the lodge is cool. I sprung for a room as it was early and I need a decompression zone. I had dinner at the restaurant…a club sandwich made with brisket and a hot fudge brownie sundae. First time in ages that I ate so much I thought I might puke. It was kind of painful! I drew a bath and digested in the hot water…lamenting the fact that I am too skinny to sit comfortably in the bathtub. Man, that’s a drag. I’m a big fan of baths and now I need to find a spine pillow if I want to enjoy them. A hotel towel did the trick if I didn’t move much.

Now it is Olympics and a big soft bed to myself. I probably won’t sleep, but at least I’m comfortable!