Last night was miserable. I was extremely uncomfortable and spent the night tossing and turning because of the low temperatures and the fact that my sleeping bag was soaked due to the wet bathing suits that were hanging to dry directly above me in the tepee. I did manage to catch a little bit of sleep, but by the time it was time to get up I felt like pure shit. My nose was stuffed, back was sore, and I was freezing. Mr. Frovarp cooked us bacon, eggs, and toast. Kevin was bugging me to go hiking with him up to some rocks overlooking the campground so we went for it. We never made it all the way up to the top because I was nervous we’d run into some animals on the way down. There were tons of caves all around us… seemed like a good place for a bear to hide.
When we got back down we started packing everything up and then hit the road. Our next destination was Sun Canyon Lodge which was only another 250 miles away. During we drive we passed through Helena, the capital of Montana. It wasn’t the type of place I’d expect to be called a capital.. mainly because it was so small. The tallest building was maybe 5 stories high… I felt like I was in a city the size of Derby. The streets were all clean and it was just like a happy little all-American town.
We found a park near the Civic Center where we sat down and made lunch. I never got a chance to eat anything because I used the opportunity to get all the picture we had been taking uploaded to the troop’s website. After about a half hour we packed up and headed downtown for some shopping. There wasn’t anything too interesting, so I spent most of my time in a pawn shop. I picked up a couple DVD’s for the long drive and Kevin bought some CD’s. Then I stopped in an internet cafe to check my email and to say hi to a few friends.
From Helena we drove for about another 50 miles into what felt like the middle of nowhere. All I could see in every direction were rolling hills of brown fields and large mountain far off in the distance. There were no houses, people, walls, or animals…. just tons of open space. It was an amazing sight… and it was hard to believe that I was in the same country. Coming from the NYC metropolitan area, seeing something like this was almost unbelievable. The road was unpaved and very dusty. It seemed endless. We eventually came across a small town called Augusta that was
almost seemed like it was out of one of those old western movies. It was maybe 5 blocks across in both directions had 1 main road with a gas station, a saloon, and the General Store. We pulled over to get some gas in the vans, so a few of us got out to stretch and to buy some snacks. I walked over to the General Store to check it out. There were some locals walking around – all the men had cowboy boots, jeans cowboy hats, and plaid shirts. And the few women I saw wore pig-tails. It couldn’t have been any more stereotypical. I picked up a bag of chips and a shot glass and headed back for the van.
Another 10 miles down the road we came to our destination – Sun Canyon Lodge. The place
was very scenic and was nestled alongside a huge cliff and a small brook. We set up our tents and went for a horseback ride through the countryside. My horses name was Tar Bob. He was very slow and kept falling behind. Meanwhile I see Kevin galloping away having a blast. I eventually figured out that I needed to kick the horse harder to get him to gallop, and from there it was great! We were out for about an hour and followed a long windy trail up and around a hillside. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. The pace varied from time to time. We’d go really slow and then suddenly we’d be going really fast again. It hurt like hell when the horse ran. By the time we were done I had blisters on my inner thighs and I was really, really sore. I guess it takes some time to build up the tolerance.
Once we were done we went into the saloon for steak dinners. The food was great and the saloon was pretty cool. It had game mounted on all the walls and had a very western feel to it. Aftewards, Randy, Mr. Liddel, his son, and myself hiked up the trail on foot to take some pictures of the sunset and to shoot some video. I made it up to the top fairly easily and got the pleasure of watching the others struggle miserably as they hiked up the steep hill. Once the sun was down I sat by the laundry room and caught up with my journal entries. Kevin and some others went into the saloon to play some pool.