CDT Thru Hike: Benchmark to Helena

One of our favorite sections of the trail so far was shortly after leaving the Bob. In this stretch the trail passes through the Scapegoat Wilderness, a beautiful area, but unfortunately for us it was also one of the smokiest due to the wildfires to the west. The day we were on the most incredible ridge was especially smoky, and as a result most of our pictures are a bit hazy and don’t come close to doing this landscape justice.

This section started off pretty exposed, which was poor timing considering the temps were in the 90s for most days we were there. Our last full day before getting to Lincoln we spent the better part of the 23 mile day hiking along a ridge.

After a night in Lincoln, one of the smallest towns we’ve gone through but with one of the best breakfast spots so far (no joke, a month later and we still talk about it), it was back to the trail to hike on to Helena where we planned to take a full day off trail.

Helena was our first “zero” since we started this hike, the first day we hiked 0 trail miles. The group of eight of us who had been hiking together since the end of Glacier NP got two motel rooms and took the opportunity to do town chores, stay (mostly) off our feet, and eat all the fresh food our bodies could handle.

Four of us decided to check out Symphony Under The Stars, an annual event happening at the local college. We were expecting a chill evening of classical music, what we got was a full band performing 80s covers with the Helena symphony orchestra, complete with a fireworks show at the end. We thought this town day would be the last time we were all together as a group, people were starting to feel the itch to push themselves at different paces and mileages. Although we did all end up together again in the next town, our stay in Helena was a good way to wrap up our several weeks together.

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