July 4th – July 6th
In the early morn of Independence Day we spoke to the Pizzos on the phone. Dee reported that the “thought for the day” at their church was “Is it better to be independent or work together?” Classic, eh? Well, we’d certainly enjoyed the free 4th of July BBQ in Helena the day before.
We hitched back to the trail….. along with many other thru-hikers who had caught up to us during our second 0 day in Helena. So far on the CDT every single time I’ve hitchhiked, I’ve gotten a ride in the back of a pick-up truck. Sometimes it’s just been 2 or 3 of us, other times as many as 7 of us have squeezed in. Often the bed of the truck isn’t empty either. We often end up wedged between old tires, random bits of metal and rusty machinery and tool boxes. We even got a hitch from a truck carrying a trailer with a Caterpillar digger on it.
Riding in the back of a pick-up is a great way to see the countryside but with the wind it’s CHILLY and if you’re sitting up high (on top of all the random bits and bobs in the back) at all it can be rather frightful, especially on the curvy mountain roads. But so far so good!
For the next few days hiking through the Helena National Forest we had periods where we were the “Dirty Dozen” – DnA, Kombucha, Hawkeye, Joker, Rock Steady, Mike with a Y, Rolling Thunder, Don’t Panic, Wing It, Lost and Found (Jack). It was incredible, especially considering there’s only about thirty 2010 South-bound (SoBo) thru-hikers total and other CDT thru-hikers we’ve talked to hiked entire states without seeing a single other thru-hiker. At Four Corners, at an off ramp of an interstate highway, Naomi (Mike’s wife) met us with food and refreshments and we enjoyed a delightful picnic before saying good-bye to Team Naomi as they headed to Butte to resupply. We, on the other hand, were hiking onward to Homestake Ranch where we’d mailed food earlier.