Miles: 21.55
Camp: CDT mile 569.55

The 6 of us gradually woke up one by one and began getting our packs together. Breakfast was at 7:30 and then we would hike out from there. We had biscuits and gravy with fruit, eggs and sausage…it was really good but I knew it would sit heavy in my stomach for the first part of the hike.

Hiking out I made a point to separate myself from the group. I don’t want to stop hiking my own way as I’m happy this way, and as the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke…” Everyone else hikes faster than I want to anyway, so it doesn’t take long to find my quiet nook in the back.

The trail took us through a nice canyon before climbing up high. The climbing is always hardest with a full resupply, making for slow going at first. Eventually the endorphins kick in and it all becomes a bit easier. I took a break next to a muddy cow pond and was visited by 2 cows. Cows are usually pretty skittish around humans, but these two waltzed right up, took their drinks and then stood there staring at me with water dripping from their faces. I enjoyed their visit and was soon hiking on into the oncoming storm. It had hailed briefly already and the dark clouds on the horizon were daunting, but I was unsure if they would make it over to me. I stopped for a quick lunch to be sure I didn’t get stuck in rain without having eaten again. Soon after the real storm began.

Thunder cracked overhead and lightning lit up the darkening horizon. I took refuge among some trees and watched the hail come down and listened to the storm pass directly overhead. It was a bit scary, but I felt safe. I enjoyed watching the storm pass, and a coyote ran into the woods right ahead of me.

When I felt the storm was far enough away I started walking again. I came upon John, a Warrior hiker who is a doctor. He was laying in the grass and told me his back was having spasms. He was in a great deal of pain and couldn’t stand upright. I offered him a pain pill and then took his pack over to some high bushes where I set up his tent for him. He wanted to wait out the night and see if it relaxed on its own…though I could tell he was experiencing more pain than was good for being 16 miles away from the nearest services. John is the doctor though, and I knew the rest of his group weren’t far behind us. I left him in his shelter with enough water to get through a day if he had to, and hopefully things work out for him. I felt bad that there wasn’t more I could do for him…but I had to move on and get water and make my miles for the day.

I ended up hiking extra because it was another day where it was difficult to find camping. I imagine this will be more of a problem in Colorado when everything is covered in snow…but for now I found a small space in some trees. It has just turned hiker midnight and I’m ready for some shut eye. John is in my thoughts, and I hope to hear an update from the others tomorrow.

Until then. Goodnight.

Dinner: tortilla soup with chicken, cous cous, salsa and fritos.

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Storm moving in

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