PHILIPSBURG – As hikers traverse the hillsides and byways of the great northwest, they sometimes look at the Pintler-Anaconda Wilderness and make a decided effort to skip over it.
Not for lack of beauty or access, but because of needed support systems
And that’s where we find the Pintler Wilderness Continental Divide Trail Angels, or PWCDT Angels for short.
“A couple years ago I took some short hikes on the Appalachian Trial in Georgia and South Carolina,” said Jerry Bailey, group organizer and Philipsburg area resident. “We started seeing people on the trail heads with water and some snacks and who chat up the hikers. They’d give the hikers rides as a lot of times they are miles away from any support services (Food, hotels, etc.).”
The long distance hikers are more numerous than one might imagine. While thousands use parts of the trail each year, there are generally about 100 that complete the entire trail each season from New Mexico to Montana.
The part of the trail is most local to Granite County is one that is typically skipped over as the trail heads at Storm Lake, East Fork and Carp Ridge are too far from some necessary services such as food, water and overnight accommodations.
Bailey has started his chapter of the Trail Angles with just a few people and the money he has raised from his Facebook Donation campaign which amounted to $355. The work is done through volunteers while the money goes toward water and snacks for the hikers and some gas money for the volunteers.
“We have a sign up in Washoe Park (Anaconda) letting hikers know there is a resource there is they need it,” said Bailey.
The PWCDT Angels have also made their presence on a national blog that hikers use to access the trail and have updates on the group’s Facebook Page (CLICK HERE).
The local Trail Angels are always looking for new volunteers to share the work load, which is light right now before the mass of hikers get wind of them. But Bailey foresees a time when that may change. He also sees a future where the PWCDT Angels could assist with the bicycle traffic that continues to grow along the scenic Skalkaho Road.
To contact the PWCDT Angels use the Facebook link above (which goes to Bailey’s Viking Consultant Page for now) or send them an email at pintlerCDTAngels@gmail.com.