FINISH: Six miles shy of the Western Border of Yellowstone National Park
DISTANCE: 88 miles (141.6 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 29.3 miles (47.1 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 827 miles (1330.6 km)
A Return to Peru?: Two days after meeting Cristian, I ran into another two Peruvian shepherds. Marin and Ider were there names and they were from the town of Huancayo.
Good guys both, they are here in the States on a similar work visa programme to Cristian. It’s funny, I’d been thinking about the Andes mountains in recent weeks, and how it had been many years since I had wandered that unique part of the world. Then seemingly out of the blue (although I don’t really believe that), in the middle of Montana of all places, I meet three Peruvians and stay the night in a a town by the name of Lima (even though it’s pronounced like the bean, rather than the capital city of South America) all within the space of five days.
A Question of Motivation: You know those days where you wake up feeling below par and nothing that you do can break you out of your funk? August 26, 2012, was one of those days. Even an early afternoon swim at Aldous Lake failed to make more than a momentary difference. I continued trudging along for most of the day until late afternoon, when I found myself on a ridge top high above tree line with a massive brace of black clouds headed rapidly in my direction. Looking at my map there were still several miles to go before I could descend to the relative sanctuary of a forest. All of a sudden I shrugged off my malaise and began hiking at four miles an hour plus, my sole focus upon reaching lower ground before certainly getting drenched and potentially also getting zapped. It never ceases to amaze me what people are capable of when their backs are against the wall. Indeed, necessity may be the mother of invention, but it’s also a pretty handy source of motivation when you find yourself on an exposed ridge with a huge electrical storm riding up your bum!
The Beginning of Something Big: A little SW of Sawtell Peak is the most remote source of the Mississippi and Missouri river system. Pretty cool in a nerdy geographical sort of way. That’s it in the final photo below……..at least I’m pretty sure that was it.