• Mary Anderson

On the Way to McAllister

Mary is taking an alternate route along the Continental Divide Trail to avoid the many wildfires in the region. In the past few days, she has hiked from Whitehall to McAllister, where she is taking some time off before continuing to West Yellowstone.

What I’ll Remember About the Big Sky Route

By Mary Anderson

  • The steepest climbs and descents of the trail.

  • Lots of butterflies and grasshoppers.

  • Hiking in over 90 degree days.

  • Drinking more in one day than I ever have, including multiple sports drinks, and still being thirsty.

  • Hiking with a painful hip/groin.

  • Feeling really alone.

  • Meeting some wonderful people.

  • Honored and touched to have people go so out of their way for me.

  • Jumping in the agricultural sprinklers when the water hit the road.

  • Hiking slower than I ever have.

  • Taking nearos and zeros without worrying.

  • Finding yet another new flower.

  • Feeling trust taken to a new level, especially when I don’t know where the trail goes, or where water or resupply spots will be.

  • Seeing some striking mountains, even if through the haze of smoke.

  • Being thrilled to see a touch of blue sky.

  • Using a cattle fence as a traction device for my sacrum.

  • Eating about a thousand calories in snacks at 4 p.m. after barely walking any miles.

  • Following the snacks at 6:30 p.m. with a 640-calorie dinner and still being hungry.

  • Being in a lightning/hail storm that started yet another Montana fire.

  • Having to get new shorts because mine literally fell apart.

  • Being grateful for friends back home to help me figure my way out here.

  • Really recognizing the ways technology is making this hike easier.

  • Feeling how that takes away from my sense of accomplishment.

  • Discovering that the cowboys I met were related to trail angel Shannon, whom I met a week later.

  • Feeling I have lost the sense of who I am and being mostly okay with that.

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