A CDT Hiker P.S.

Just had a few stories/anecdotes that make me pause and smile from our CDT hikers – three more arrived last night. They can be more time intensive than other guests (and so grateful!) as they need to know where things are, exactly. They aren’t going to drive around and find it. Often they don’t have a GPS or phone. They are going to walk or hitch there, so be exact. Despite the time ‘investment’ I LOVE the interaction and conversation! They are so interesting and real. I love real. I will miss this interraction when Jim and Mary get home. They will be the ‘greeters, the ‘go tos’ and we will become off duty workampers and get back to our own projects, life trail.

The hikers also want to know what we have they need (I keep forgetting to ask what they use HEET for) and if we don’t have it, where they can go to get a movie, food, camp fuel, water filters, street clothes. You might try to imagine – after 5 months on trail having a DVD on site to watch the first movie of the summer is pretty exciting or even watching cable! Try not being a resident and getting a DVD rental. Difficult. “Puck” shared with me last night his experience at the local store, “just fill out the form and we will have someone review it on Monday and let you know”. By Monday, he may be long gone. We set him up with a DVD player and Magnificent Seven and Life of PI, he was thrilled! Hope he didn’t’ fall asleep in the middle of them.

The hikers come in and usually want three things right away – lots of carbs, laundry and a shower often in that order. Some desire sleep after the food before laundry and the shower. After 25-30 miles a day ‘just walking’ as they call it, real sleep is a luxury. It is not uncommon to have hikers here walking back and forth from cabin to laundry with a towel wrapped around them. Most have rain gear and wear that while everything else is in the washer. We have loaned clothes so they could wash AND go to town. The Post Office is a necessary stop and if it is close to closing time, they HAVE to get there so they can get back on trail with the additional food, shoes, etc etc that they ordered at the last town and had shipped. My favorite that makes me smile is the New Zealander who made his trips to the laundry in a towel wrapped around the bottom half of his body and a garbage bag over the top. I wish I could remember what he called the garbage bag. He made at least three trips across our parking lot that way and each time I had a chuckle. Last night one of the hikers was putting the last of his clothes in the washer as I approached the laundry. I could only see him from the waist up, I called to him and he disappeared, streaking across the hall and as I came to the doorway, the door closed and locked to the showers. I do believe we had our first streaker!

I gave a couple of ripe pears and a couple of apples to Mark, one of the guys to come in, last night. From his smile, you would have thought I gave him a steak. He said it is often difficult to even find a fruit in some towns. It is huckleberry and ting berry season here in the mountains. He said he got himself into trouble as he filled his water bottle with huckleberries and didn’t have a place for his water! He had to eat them all at once which created another problem after a bit when he hadn’t had any fruit in awhile. Oops!

We recycle everything here but we have no way to recycle the worn out hiking shoes we get, just the boxes from the new ones. Some of them are beyond worn out, duck tape and all! Hope these visuals gave you a smile or a grateful thought as you shower, eat breakfast and relax in your easy chair. Sorry, I have not thought to take pics, I will do better! You can google CDT hikers 2013 and see some amazing photos.

CDT Hikers and More!

The days are flying by full of laughter at things we have done, tasks to complete and conversations to have with all kinds of interesting people who come to us. We are falling in bed with a full day of purposeful work accomplished and guests with smiles on their faces. Good things!

If we don’t get up and get our own stuff done, I am still staring at a sink of dishes in the evening or a list of calls to make at days end. We MUST get out of bed in the AM, it is not a choice after two and a half months! By 9 AM this place is hopping and if we have not been faithful to ourselves- gotten up and moving, we are playing catchup all day on the personal side. Each day, some new aspect of life in this career field becomes evident. It is just a schedule adaptation.

We have had all our cabins and rooms full most nights (seven in all) since Jim and Mary left. Our six RV sites have had a few in/outers which we are grateful for but would like to see more. The broad array of folks has been fun but we love the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) hikers the most!

These are people of all ages that have chosen to take almost 6 months off and hike the 3,000 mile trail from Mexico to Canada. It takes lots of arduous planning, solid commitment and sheer determination to “walk every day” for 4-5 months. The last two groups have impacted us the most. They connect after a while on trail as people fall out and become “groups”, supporting one another and sometimes hiking together. Trail names are chosen, as you will see below. A respect for each other or, in some cases, a lack there of develops as situations and time pass. These are fascinating, determined people with so much to share. I have met some of the nicest young people who give me hope for the future and people my age or older that inspire me to reach for something bigger, higher and seemingly unobtainable.

If you saw them hitchhiking on the side of the road all grungy and trail tattered, you would probably not stop to pick them up. They even laugh about how they look and smell…..a week on the trail at a time, often miles without water to drink let alone anything else, does not make you smell like a rose. Their first priority with us is often the shower/laundry room, or a quick trip up the road to The Blue Joint for a great carbohydrate-rich meal. The HUGE, packed, hand made (very yummy) burrito is the most popular.

We have been challenged and impacted by these folks. Matt and I had always planned to hike the Appalachian Trail (one of the Triple Crown of Hiking trails) after the kids graduated and that somehow got lost in ‘doing life’. Watching and listening to these folks has rekindled some adventurous dreams and reinforced why WE are out here. We are on a trail of our own, not a hiking trail but a long distance, self discovery trek. This last group of people, especially Huckleberry Finn, Love Note, Sweet Fish, Ninja, Drop N Roll, and Burly Whites jolted us a bit. Me more than Matt. We had several conversations about their lives, interacted with them and watched them over 4 days. Discussing their journey, motivation for doing the CDT and in many cases the Triple Crown, core values, politics-just a little, and just what IS important. We love the community that we see, caring for one another as the elements of trail life are spartan, desolate, and can be life threatening. One of the things we have learned in our time in Colorado is that you DO NOT take nature for granted but that is another story. 🙂

Oh My! We Are In Charge!

The day has arrived! When we originally interviewed for this position two weeks ago, we were asked if we were comfortable being in charge. The owners had planned a Canadian vacation for the middle of August and were wondering if they needed to cancel. We said “you need to keep that date and leave us in charge”. Well they took us at our word and the day has arrived for that challenge! Jim and Mary left for Canada, Banff specifically, yesterday. Besides being jealous, as it was our original destination and will be something on our “bucket list” for a while, we are excited about managing their small resort. Matt and I have talked about owning a similar resort for a long time. Here is our opportunity for a test drive!

We will keep you posted. It seems a little daunting as one of us has to be here ALL the time. There is so much to explore here in the lovely Bitterroot Valley and we can’t do it together. 🙁 It is only 10 days though and then we will be back on the exploring track.

Oh, the phone is ringing, “Good Morning, Travellers Rest, how may I help you? A reservation for a cabin? Just a moment please,” I’ll write more later!

Motoring on to Darby, MT

We are off this AM after our brief stay with my horse friend. She was too busy eating this AM to say good-bye. Bryce and David at Stallings Automotive adjusted our trailer brakes so that was a relief that we didn’t need to do brake shoes on all four tires! Whew! Thank You Lord for Your blessings! Bryce also bought the 5 gallons of gasoline we having been dragging around in case we went boondocking and needed more fuel for the generator. That along with a trip to the charity store and the post office to mail home some packages, ended up making us at least 100 lbs lighter. That will help to offset the vacuum cleaner, patio chairs and a ladder we bought. We are stopping at the scale this morning to be sure we are not towing too much weight. We may be like the Western Bound settlers that left things on the trail. 🙂

Well, what a difference a few miles make! We have covered about 35 miles since leaving Rigby. We left the lovely crop land there for the beautiful grassland by the Snake, then on to the arid sage land away from the Snake and then back to the irrigated flat lands with gorgeous alfalfa hay just as far as you can see. As we approach the Lemhi Mountain Range, there is crop land also with miles of a grain crop. It is hard to tell wheat and hops apart. In this area it is probably wheat. When the irrigation runs out, there is sage as far as you can see. The mountains are as majestic as any you have ever seen in America with rugged, broad bases. I would photograph them for you but there is so much haze today it would not come out well. Continue reading “Motoring on to Darby, MT”

Leaving the Heise Hot Springs Behind

It is 3AM do YOU know where your kids are?! Just a parenting joke that seems appropriate at 3AM with my quirky sense of humor. I have been snuggled in my bed for an hour listening to the night sounds, enjoying the cool, moist air (often 40 degrees different than the day), watching the sky, listening to my tummy growl, and writing blogs in my head. The blogs and my tummy winning, I am up and writing. I have determined as I have been writing, I have shirked in my goal of lifelong learning and let my vocabulary wain. The last 3 years have been difficult, growth building and challenging. One of the costs has been I have let myself ‘shrink’ but that is another blog. Get ready, I may surprise you with my vocabulary building skills and send you running for a dictionary. 😉 Only time will tell…. Continue reading “Leaving the Heise Hot Springs Behind”

Let’s Paint That!

Has been a comment we have made several times since this adventure began. We started with painting the walls in the coach and then the light covers became a custom paint job. The last time the comment was made was recently when Matt reminded me he had planned to paint the “nose” as we call the front of the coach. It was extremely sun faded and wasn’t even grey any longer in part. While on the safari yesterday, one of the things we were in search of was paint for the nose. We had been directed to an automotive paint supply place downtown but they were no help and as we left, I noticed there was another specialty paint store across the street about a half block down. We made a quick turn and stopped there at Stan’s Specialty Paint. They were very helpful and resourceful; we ended up with a silicone base paint called Hammerite.

Without any possibility to move our coach into the shade here or commercially spray it, we had to resort to rollers. This is less than ideal but our options are pretty limited at this point. The weather forecast was for temps less than 90 degrees today, no wind early and cloud cover so today became Paint Day. Continue reading “Let’s Paint That!”

Another Marathon Shopping Day

Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls
Matt hopes this day does not repeat itself any time soon with 3 of these “power safaris” in a row in as many weeks. He, actually, is hopeful he NEVER has to have another one! Fat chance! However, even I am confident they will end soon. They exhaust me too! We are still finding organizers for bolts/screws, personal care products, a bench by the entry door, thermal window cover material (to COOL us off), a fan, paint and accessories, new phones (so we can actually make a call!), dog meds, case for my new glasses, local roaster coffee for Daniel (keep our deployed soldier happy!), a birthday gift for our grandson, and various other things. Add to that a trip to the health food store and the grocery store; Matt is ready to find solace in a bookstore, which he did today. Snooping one of the most extensive used book stores we have seen along with some chocolate, almost restored his shattered emotional condition. Continue reading “Another Marathon Shopping Day”