I took a preview trip with Fanny the Flag and the yet-to-be-named Buggy last Monday-Wednesday - 17 to 19 June. We covered the road from Harlowton to Ryegate stopping in both directions for the night at Deadman's Basin Reservoir. The Big Walk 2013 begins this weekend.
The original plan was to do a round trip to the old home town of Lavina. But, I had walked Lavina to Ryegate many years ago. And, I mainly wanted to connect with Janie Brown and Leslie Burroughs to whom the Montana Made Me Do IT book was dedicated.
So, the three of us met up at the Ryegate Cafe, compared notes and talked over the passage of time. Leslie is now Town Clerk for Ryegate at the same time she is filling a position as Town Councilperson in Lavina. The Burroughs recently moved into Lavina proper and Leslie has taken on more civic responsibilities. Janie keeps occupied between the Brown ranch property, substitute teaching, church youth work, and all-around-the-town volunteering. She was at the time putting together two large scrapbooks of photos and commentary on the Lavina Church's youth activities for the last 20 years which will be presented at the church's upcoming 100th anniversary.
I arrived in Ryegate around 3:00 Tuesday when the bank electronic waffled between 88 and 92 degrees. It had cooled down a bit by the time I left at 7:00 after our friendly time together and photo ops.
I also met the Raymonds, FWP caretakers at Deadman's Basin where I camped the two nights on the road. When Marlene found out her son-in-law was written up in my latest book, she had to have a copy. A fellow named Rick from Billings bent my ear for quite some time at the park, finally telling me that his wife is a mystic. I decided she needed a copy of my old book Baby Doctor.
I encountered a few other folks along the highway: Donna and Dennis from South Carolina, Jared from New Mexico, and a number of highway workers who were sealing the a recent road upgrade.
I arrived at the Harlowton rest stop on the east end of town at 5:00 pm exactly. After I rested my feet for a few minutes, I headed into town as rain began to come down.
Before I finished the last mile, Loren, Mike, and Duane and Audrey appeared looking for me. Wondering and worrying about me as a big thunderstorm approached.
Had I arrived back in Harlo two hours later, I would have be knocked around, blown over and deluged for an hour or so. Friends and neighbors and others were looking out for me, to be sure.
The Big Walk 2013 to Arizona begins this weekend and I will blog at
http://theportableschool.blogspot.com as opportunities allow.