Anaconda-Pintlers

7/11 – A low cloud in the valley hiding a herd of elk lifted as we trotted down through sage brush to a spring at Home Ranch.

Hundreds of swallows darted about the old barn in the morning light. The snowy Anaconda Pintler’s loomed large on the horizon.  By 7/12 we were up amongst the stunning alpine peaks doing an incredible ridge walk which involved scrambling and rock climbing up to Kurt and Fish Peaks at around 10,000 feet.

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Anaconda

The Anaconda-Pintler Mountains

7/10 We headed into Anaconda for the day to resupply. The town is very depressing, packed with little run down houses with only a sliver of dirt between them. The main “attraction” is a 600 foot tall smelter – a tower used to smelt the copper they dug from the surrounding hills that was in service from the early 1900s till 1980. There are some grand old buildings – the City Hall and Post Office – but they look out of place surrounded by such poverty and shabbiness.  We hoped to do a quick in and out – hitch in, buy food, take a shower and hitch back out – but town chores are never that easy. Not spending the night meant we had no place to store our stuff while we did chores and the town was fairly spread out as well.  Plus there were periodic downpours and t-storms throughout the day and so we spent a  good deal of time huddled under the awning of buildings trying to stay dry. In addition, the RV park owner was very rude to Dan. We got permission to take a shopping cart around to help lighten our load, but I’m sure the locals are still talking about the crazy girl who was running down the street with a shopping cart in the middle of a torrential downpour.  In the evening as we walked to the edge of town to get a hitch, every other car that drove by yelled something at us…… such as, “Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?” to things much less friendly.

I won’t even talk about our hitchhike back to the trail…..let’s just say it was a massive relief to finally arrive there in one piece. And the Anaconda-Pintler mountains greeted us with a lovely alpine glow, seeming to say that even though they shared the same name, they wouldn’t share in the cruelty of their namesake town.