Hi everybody, writing today from exciting Leadore, ID, a hopping, one stop light town out on an open plain at the bottom of Bannock Pass. The only road that leads up to the trail is a lightly traveled dirt ribbon that allows one to see cars coming from miles away, making hitching slightly easier, but it is somewhat intimidating looking down and seeing no potential rides coming for what seems like forever. Even given the dismal state that a hiker must seem to someone going by the trail, I was passed by 3 cars driven by what I can only assume are human scum. Luckily, and very surprisingly, I was picked up by an empty charter bus that had just unloaded some alumni from Rice Univeristy, so that was a first.
This section of trail has again been characterized by lots of rolling sagebrush and grassland terrain. As before, it follows the divide closely resulting in lots of ups and downs, but also a good number of open views. The weather has fallen into an afternoon thundershower pattern, with lots of fierce wind and hail blowing through every few hours to cool things down before settling down for the evening. Last nights sunset was particularly amazing, with an orange-yellow-magenta horizon on one side resulting in a hue-shifted rainbow on the other. It sounds like the next few days will be more of the same, but seeing as its pretty spectacular up here, that is fine by me.
This stretch was also the first in which I've started encountering Southbounders, including Freebird, a well known hiker whom I met (and had a small butting of head with) on the PCT in 2010. I've talked to 3 others so far, and have been able to get some crucial info about the trail going forward from here. The most important bit was concerning an alternate route a few days from here that will cut 75 miles off my remaining total. Given that I only had about 700 miles left anyway, thats a big chunk to slice off. Regardless, basically everyone says the Anaconda route is better in just about every way than the Butte version, so I'll be taking the shorter one.. ya know, for science or something, not because I'm lazy. This makes some complications given that I have some boxes waiting in Butte, but I'll figure it out somehow.
So, thats about it for now. The miles are just evaporating at this point, and I expect them to keep dropping off pretty fast. New ETA in Canada is August 15th, I'll try to zero in on an exact time when I can. Talk to you later.