• Mary Anderson

Big Sky to Old Faithful

What I remember:

Lots of petrified wood.

Steep ups/downs.

Some scary ridge walking.

Not looking down and taking self through one scary climb.

Breathtaking 360-degree views.

Enjoying a lake, stopping early to bathe and wash clothes.

Missing Jenn.

Learning guys I met and taught how to use/carry bear spray got grizzly-mauled later same day.

Watching a whole flock of at least 30 bighorn sheep of all sizes on ridge above the lake.

Snipe and waterbirds at the lakes.

One day of five lakes, numerous ponds, and no people.

Lots of yummy huckleberries.

Picking a bunch of berries. Eating a bunch. Packing a bunch in a baggie for later.

Telling self I must stop picking and hike on to get to camp before dark.

Picking more berries.

Washing sticky purple hands in a stream and saying that's it on picking.

Picking yet more

Repeating all of that again.

Getting good at picking while walking.

Later realizing I smell like huckleberries.Yummy bear food!

Forcing myself not to look at the berries by trail as I walk by.

Not letting myself stop to take more pictures so can get to camp before dark.

Mushrooms in red orange yellow green white brown tan and black.

Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes.

Fall colors on some plants.

Tons of butterflies especially on asters.

Clouds of butterflies, grasshoppers, and dragon flies around my feet as I walk.

Jumping fish in lots of lakes.

Hiking in rain, thunder and lightning, glad for my umbrella and rainpants.

Spending my last trail night in Montana.

Being greeted by a bear soon after crossing into Wyoming.

Watching a spectacular meteor shower at 3 a.m. with strong smell of spruce and fir in air.

Wishing I had bought those extra cookies.

The clouds and mountains reflected in the lakes.

The silence and sense of deep peace.

Dragging all day before making it to Mammoth Hot Springs.

Noticing the rotten egg smell of sulfur and finding some bubbling hot springs.

Enjoying the evening walk through a bunch of thermal features.

Being overwhelmed at number of people and cars

Feeling more alone than I have on entire trip.

Having some tough days and nights, having to dig deep to keep going.

Being in a large thunderstorm followed by four days of cold rain.

Freezing nights.

Standing in geyser steam to get warm.

Watching geysers erupt and mudpots boil.

Really going minute by minute figuring out where to go next.

Having to change plans over and over.

Standing up politely to people who yelled at me because I was camped in their view.

Sharing Old Faithful's eruption with a friend in Vermont via messenger.

Photo: Jennifer Gift @onedayontheway

When Mary Anderson set out to hike the southern half of the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail last summer, nobody thought she would make it. Hikers give themselves trail names, and Mary’s was Old Lady Hiker. A few days into her solo trek, she ran into some younger hikers who decided she needed a new name. From then on, she was known as Mary Badass. In the fall of 2020, Mary began writing her story in a Korongo workshop hosted by Kimball Library in Randolph. This summer, she is blogging from the trail as she hikes the northern half of the CDT.


Watch Mary's video tour of Yellowstone geysers and mudholes. (1 min)


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