I took an early morning walk in Dillon. This place was just too interesting to not take a closer look. It is for sale if you are looking to become the American Picker of Montana. Of interest on the chalk board is a 1975 Chrysler claimed to have eight thousand miles on it for ten thousand dollars. The store was not open, and I was not carrying that much cash so I did not investigate.
I saw more deer than people along the way.
I am not much of a fisherman, can’t even catch them on camera. They were jumping.
Walk over. No down to the business of the day I have dreaded. You can’t put a value on life, but when you split with a spouse you must put a value on the things in your life. It is going to be a long day. Can I just take another walk?
I am a marathoner. That means I like to run, and/or, walk 26.2 miles. While I do this someone, whom I have paid money to, provides me with water, snacks, toilets, and encouragement. All the while they keep track of the time it takes me to cover twenty-six miles, three hundred eighty-five yards.
Being a marathoner requires obsessive behavior. Preparing yourself, mind and body, takes an inordinate amount of dedication. Obsessing about the time it takes to cover this distance stops your conscious mind from realizing, this torture would have gotten a murder conviction overturned for cruel and unusual punishment. This time obsession is so common organizers feel compelled to offer badges of honor predicting finish times. Runners multiply predicted pace by 26.2 miles and pin these on shirts to show the spectators how well they know their bodies.
The Nashville Country Music Marathon starts a bit later in the day than most. I recognized an opportunity to practice another pastime of mine, sarcasm. The world record is just over two hours. Four and a half hours is a good goal for a first timer with a training plan. Many walkers and slow joggers take between six and seven hours, my category. I pinned on a 3:30 badge and strutted to the start line.
Nashville is a scenic race through the old mansion district. I had a great run and felt good throughout. I asked the nuns at the convent to pray for me climbing the hill, not revealing my Mormon upbringing. At about mile eight I passed one of the Kenyan runners. I went by like he was standing still. Poor little bugger was standing still, on the curb with a broken ankle. The course follows a path along the river. After a walk in the park, around a lake it ends up at the football stadium.
He asked “What happened to 3:30?”
I responded, “What time is it?”
John said, “uhh, it’s about 3:12 PM.”
My simple reply was “I’m early.”
In the parking lot one of John’s coworkers told me John laughed so hard he nearly fell off the announcer’s stand. I’m pretty sure that young man had been sent to verify my ignorance.
Carl and I have hunted together since before we both shaved every day.
I shave every day. Carl, here and there. Nearly 29 years of military service hath wrought habits I will not likely shake.
When he asked if I wanted to go along on a preseason scouting trip to this elk hunting grounds I couldn’t have been happier. This is not a hunt, more a shakedown run for new gear. Break in new boots by walking a few miles. The new backpack fits alright with stops for adjustment of buckles and straps. Shooting is limited to my camera. Carl tolerates my blog related hobby.
I understand his eccentricities and he understands mine. Our friendship has seen more ups and downs in our lives than the hills we walk. We’ve had vehicles, marriages, children, and jobs. All open for discussion without judgement or pretense.
Does he know why I always get my elk the last day of the season? We just don’t need to put that into words.
To get to Radersburg turn off of Highway 12 at The Bunkhouse Bar and go 9 miles. As you turn off the main road there is a sign Radersburg 9 miles. As you get to Radersburg there it is, mile marker 9 right at the edge of town. You don’t accidentally get to Radersburg. You need a reason to go, and there are not many reasons. The locals like it that way. It has no bar or post office. I am not sure how the town incorporated in Montana, as those are the two prerequisites. There are two semi-trailers parked on Main Street advertising moving companies that are long since defunct. They have been parked for over 9 years.
It was a sunny, hot day as I arrived at the campground. I changed into my workout gear. I wore two shirts and a jacket on the ride up, but planned to wear just the dri-fit shirt. The shirt I was leaving behind was damp from being worn, so I decided to hang it on the handlebars because I wanted a dry shirt to put on after my workout. I stowed my other clothes and Stanley vacuum bottle of coffee in the saddle bag.
As I got about 4 miles from the motorcycle I heard thunder in the distance. It started clouding up. A storm was imminent. A few dirt bikers came by and asked if I had rain gear. I indicated I was Okay. Some people in a Powerstroke offered me a ride down the mountain. They were perplexed by my response that if I got wet I was sure I would dry off. I never told them that had I taken the ride I’d have been standing, shivering until the rain subsided.
I like walking in the rain. A lightning storm in the mountains is a spectacular display when you get past the what if it hits me worries. I had dry clothes to put on back at the bike. So I walked as the rain let up and ducked under trees to wait out the heaviest downpours. The rain had let up as I hit a nearly level stretch in the road. I thought this would be a good place to run a bit. I had seen a snake on the way up the road and merely stepped around as it slithered off to the side. This time I was moving faster and it was a rattlesnake. When already running it is not easy to make your foot go an extra distance before hitting the ground. Somehow I managed to do so. The snake poised to strike as I jumped sideways up and back in one motion. I don’t know if snakes can laugh, but that had to be a sight.
As my life flashed before my eyes in that instant one picture stood out. Me hanging my shirt to dry on the handlebars before this torrential rainstorm. Walking down the trail I sang to myself “Tonight We Dance”, and wondered what Spanish for snake dance was (Baile de Serpiente). As I changed into dry pants and donned boots in place of running shoes I had to make the decision, very wet stinky shirt or dripping wet shirt. Very wet stinky shirt won out, and I apologize to the clerks at Town Pump in Townsend for that.