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Posts Tagged ‘Polebridge’


In Polebridge, we immediately hit the fruit stand for something fresh. We quickly realized that the town guide did not lie when saying this town was off the grid. We decided we needed food and beer first, so we went to the singular restaurant to discover pizza night. Unclean with boxes and packs, we found a table farther outside and promptly ordered some beer.

Part way through, Mosey wandered over. He had hiked the AT in 2014 and was now booking the Montana section of the divide with his daughter-in-law. After chatting with us he asked us if we’d had much trail magic yet. We hadn’t, but we were only four days in. When we went to pay, the waitress said Mosey had taken care of it. Now that’s doing amazing first trail magic for the PNT!

We wandered over to the Merc, bought some beers, and were trying to take a picture of us in front of the Merc, when another guy came over. He said he’d hiked the AT in 1991 and his trail name was Bare Necessities.

We found both of them at they hostel where we camped and grabbed showers from Oliver. Oliver turned the electricity from either solar panels or a generator on for brief wifi. We escaped the mosquitoes in the screened in porch for awhile as we tracked down Crosby’s hiking poles which he had left in the restaurant. We were getting mixed responses and apparently someone named Steven took them back to where he was camping.

In the morning, we lazily lingered to dry the dew off of our sleeping bags then went back to the Merc. We found Coyote there chowing down on various foods. She was trying to find a computer to use then possibly stay the night.

We thought she would just follow us after getting some email done. Without electricity and no way to charge things, we knew we had to start heading toward Eureka and conserve phones and external batteries. We did, however, find a free library on the side of the road from which we extracted a place based romance novel to take turns reading out load. Heading out of Polebridge, we had a decently long road walk of which, we decided to do a minor cut through the woods.

After walking for awhile jamming to music from Karma’s phone amplified through a frisbee, we found a shady spot to eat lunch. We figured if we took some breaks, Coyote would catch up. A few miles later, she did. We got through a bit of the ultra light romance novel while walking the road which seemed to like the word “illegitimate” a little too much. The novel has several other instances that lack vocabulary variety and obscure details completely unnecessary to the plot as well.

When Coyote caught us, the songs started. She knows more songs than anyone can shake a stick at and sings well too.

We plugged away at the mix of dirt roads, smashing mosquitoes, and found a spot to camp on a bridge over the creek coming out of Hay Lake. We read another riveting chapter of the book out loud to fall asleep to.

The morning brought condensation, but not as much as expected and we hiked on to a water source. The four of us reached the source according to Gaia and our maps, but the trail seemed to fizzle out. We cooed for Coyote who appeared about three hundred yards above us. She didn’t seem to want to move, so eventually, we came to the conclusion that she was being stubborn for a reason and we went to her. ED and Crosby went back down the dirty track to the junction in question not far back, while Karma and I bushwhacked straight up. We beat the road.

The five of us continued on for a bouncy ridge that day. There, we met three day hikers, Brian, Heidi, and their son Kyle. When Brian learned we were hiking the PNT, he looked elated.

Brian: No way! I hiked the CDT in ’93!

All of our jaws dropped.

ED: Was there even a trail then?

Brian: No, I used forest service and BLM maps from 1917…

We all stopped for a break near Whitefish Mountain and picked his brain some more. We continued hiking and then stopped for a second break to hear more stories from ’93. It was awesome!

After they turned down a side trail, we continued through our first big water gap which meant we had six more miles without water. We climbed up and over a few more bumps before descending down to a great stream to cook dinner.

We decided to keep going another five miles down whereby Coyote told us riddles for most of the way and it ended up with her and Crosby singing, “The Ants Go Marching On.”

Camping that night near a river and a forest service road, we all slept well that night.

The morning brought two deer and border patrol moving slowly down the road. We didn’t realize we were less than fifteen miles from the border. As they passed, Coyote yelled, “Vive Mexico! Oops, wrong border!”

Since it was the fourth of July, we thought we’d try our luck right before we turned off the first service road at yogying beers while we dried stuff out. We had a full pack explosion and snack break going on in a pull off. We only got waves though.

Packing up, we went up toward Mount Wam. We had another ten mile water gap or so to contend with, but nothing major. The climb went faster than we expected and we met a bunch of people on the top. A local, Dave, had rented out the lookout tower on top and sat and chatted a lot with us while we ate lunch and enjoyed the view.

We did not take a long break and kept going. Some other day hikers went not long after in the same direction. At the next junction we stopped near the 100 mile mark. The day hikers caught up to us.

Day Hiker: Where’d you guys camp last night?

Me: At the junction of the dirt road and the blue something trail.

Day Hiker: Oooh, that’s where they used to put all of the barbed wire to catch and analyze grizzly hairs.

Great. We knocked on wood. Made it through that one.

After they left, we came to a series of confusing junctions. It was mostly confusing because sometimes the maps would have where we were and sometimes Gaia, but both were missing a few. I tracked it on Gaia as we walked it. We had decided to camp on Bluebird Lake, a mile and a half down the highline trail after the junction of trail 88. We had already decided to backtrack back to trail 88 to save some time and have slightly less of a road walk into town. That decision was reinforced by the amount of snow left on the mostly north facing highline trail past that. It was soft, but not post holey snow hanging onto the contoured trail. It made for a long and more tiring last piece of the day.

However, when we did make it to Bluebird Lake with soaking wet feet, we knew it was worth it. The lake had a clear reflection of a large wall behind it, no mosquitoes, and no wind. We had a campfire and stayed up reading and laughing for the fourth of July.

We took a lazy morning before navigating back to trail 88 through the snow. As soon as we got there, we were snow free, but had a few blowdowns to contend with through a recently burned area.

At the bottom of that trail, Coyote had the brilliant idea to call some local trail angels and see if they had time and room for us. We elected Crosby to do the smooth talking and we had a place to stay for the night.

With only seven miles of mostly dirt road walking into town, we began plugging away at it until we reached a section riddled with giant private property signs. To get around it, we had to bushwhack between dirt road segments for a quarter mile and we made it out.

The roads into town also had a few unsigned junctions, but we prevailed noting the order of how we’d get through town.

Bluebird Lake

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