Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 47: Cut Bank Creek Campground to Two Sisters Cafe (St. Mary's)

Roadwalking. Miles and miles of roadwalking. The Rocky Mountains tower over us to the west, and Aspen trees, thistles, and blanketflowers line the road. But trash mars the view. Empty cans and bottles hurled from moving vehicles: Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors, Miller Lite, Coke, Pepsi, Twisted Tea, RockStar, and many others. Within the short span of a few miles, we've counted over 100 cans. 

Highway 89 proved to be a busy highway, a major artery to carry tourists and supplies from one part of the park to another. Cars, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, motor homes, and semis whizzed past on the narrow, two-lane road. With no shoulder to speak of, we balanced on the white line, scampering off into the weeds every few minutes when larger vehicles roared past at 65 miles per hour. 

The rain began just after lunch, a light mist that evolved into a steady drizzle. We trudged on. Despite the fact that we were walking against traffic and did not have our thumbs out, several kind souls pulled over to offer us a ride anyway, including a man willing to drive in the opposite direction to take us to St. Mary and an off duty shuttle driver. We really appreciated the kindness, but hiked on anyway. 

We began smelling smoke from the fire about ten miles before we reached town. Numerous fire trucks and personnel drove past as we hiked, including a Chief Mountain Hotshots truck. Smoke rose from the hillside above the lake. 

"Ice Cream!" The first thing we noticed upon reaching town was a huge sign advertising ice cream. Of course we had to stop!  We also stopped in at the ranger station to ask about permit reservations. The news wasn't promising, but we will have to come back tomorrow because walk-in permits are only available 24 hours in advance. 

We hiked on past the Two Sisters Cafe, then went back to St. Mary's for the night so we will be as close as possible to the permit office in the morning. 

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