Miles: 22.5

Camp: My CDT mile 1308.9

I woke up naturally, wondering how long before my alarm would go off. When I checked it was 30 minutes later than planned. I shrugged it off remembering that I had a donut for breakfast. It was a little on the dry side from traveling, so I put it in my coffee and ate it with a spoon. What a treat! I smiled remembering my sweet trail angels who helped me manifest this donut.

I got to hiking by 6:45, so I wasn’t too far off schedule and I am honestly in no hurry. The alarm was more to reset my hiker clock from my town visit as I can’t afford to sleep in out here. I started my day in some beautiful meadows, full of wildflowers, wet from last night’s rain, mist rising in a morning sun. It was a picture perfect morning and the air was fresh and pleasant. I love the smell of the air after rain. 

I realized that my pace was pretty fast again and it hurts my feet. With new blisters on the ball of each foot, every step today was agony. It reminded me how much this all can hurt sometimes, how you have to hike through the pain because it’s going to hurt and that’s that. I’m frustrated because I thought I was past blisters and also because my feet have been fine until now. It seemed to come out of nowhere…but alas, I’ll live through this too.
Despite having tender feet, it was a gorgeous day. The temperature was perfect, the breeze was just right, there were minimal bugs and I hiked into the Zirkels today. The Mt. Zirkel Wilderness is now one of my favorite that I’ve seen. High, rocky alpine meadows, large, crystal clear lakes and streams, rugged mountains, views from the desert to the mountains. It is stunning. Plus, the terrain is nicely managed and easily graded. I could stay here awhile if I had the time. 

I stopped myself early today, mostly because my feet made me, but also because my timing is on point for the post office in Encampment. If I go any further I will end up needing to hitchhike on Sunday night. Therefore I’m able to cut the pace back a little which I’m sure will benefit my feet. Oh to be in my 20s again, what I would give to be hiking 30-40 miles…if only my body would let me. 20 years of the service industry has really done a number on my feet. The rest of me has the stamina and desire to go more, but my feet kind of run the show with this whole walking gig.

As it is, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m camped over 11000 feet for perhaps the last time (there is one peak in Wyoming over 11000 feet), there is a lake on one side of me, a moraine on the other, the wind is blowing in the stubby alpine trees, flowers are dancing in the same wind and I am comfy in my tent. I have a sewing project to tend to, so I must use the last daylight now. A storm might come through, but I’m in a good spot…As long as the wind doesn’t completely change direction! Goodnight!

Dinner: mashed potatoes with summer sausage, cranberries, cheese and dried peppers.

What turned out to be some cheesy engagement plot…I hope they picked up their signs.

Coming into the Zirkels