Miles: 25 + 0

Camp: My CDT mile 2033

It has been no easy task getting out of our warm cocoons in the morning as it has been below freezing every night. It is hard, but necessary and takes about all of the willpower. That said, we had 25 miles between us and our goal of Bannock Pass today, where Judd and his parents would be awaiting us with trail magic.

As the trail took us up and down the surrounding hills, we stayed focused. The views were fabulous, as they tend to be when we are up on the actual divide, the temperature going from hot to cold all day. If the sun was out and the air was still, it was stifling; any cloud or breeze, however offered a biting chill. I dreamed all day of being warm again. I hate the cold. (Embrace the brutality, they say)

We made it to the pass at 8:00 and were soon swept up by Judd and his dad, Scott. They offered cold beer and a ride into Leadore. The truck was warm and cozy, our spirits high with the reunion and the beginning of some great magic. 

The town of Leadore consists of a store, post office, restaurant/bar, motel and rv park. The buildings are old, falling apart over time as the town lost it’s prosperity of the past. We go through so many towns like this, once booming in the days of a successful mine…now hanging on with old nails clinging to old wooden boards. Signs falling off of buildings and in this case the only remnants of the bank an old vault in a field.

When we arrived at the rv park we were delighted to find a large group of hikers already there: Baggins, Scorpion, Animal, Dragon, Deco and Cheetah! Judd’s sister Whitney and mom Jenny greeted us with smiles and plates of pasta, salad, bread and watermelon. There was such a great spread waiting for us! We dove in and ate all we could, drinking beer with our friends and laughing…always laughing.

We stayed up late playing cards and all slept scattered around our angels in their camper. Morning came and they kept the magic going with coffee, potatoes and pancakes. I made pancakes for all as Scott drove everyone that had been there a day already back to the trail. The rest of us had packages to aquire, resupply to finish and calories to consume. 

We did this at the restaurant as a message came in from Titan. He was only a couple of hours away…but we were planning on hiking out. It was clear that we had to wait for our friend though. He has been sick with giardia and still managed to hike 35-40 miles a day just to catch up with us. He is a machine, that Titan, and as our friend we decided we would wait.

Judd, Righton and Whitney went to surprise him at the pass as Uber and I checked out the local redneck bar. I’d post pictures, but it is literally too offensive. Ask me personally and I’ll share…but I’m not going to publicly connect myself to the dis plays in there. The people are nice enough of course, definitely aware of how much money hikers bring to their tiny struggling town…but they are a bit behind on a few issues. To put it briefly, this town loves Trump.

After we had Titan back in our fold we unanimously decided to turn the day into a zero. It was late already and we wanted him to have some rest from his crazy period of catching up. We ate lots more food and then decided to take a random stab at seeing if Limey had made it to the pass. We piled in the car to go on a Limey hunt…and we found him in his tent at the pass! He has been struggling with knee pain and it slowed him down dramatically. We were happy to have found him and brought him down for magic from the amazing Calvins. Shadow also showed up and joined the fun…it’s amazing how many of us are still here. I’m feeling good about this group, and excited to finish the trail with them.

It has been a super fun time here with them, but we are going to have to get hiking tomorrow. Limey has to go to a bigger town to hunt down some knee braces, so we are losing him for a bit. I hope he solves the problem soon. For now, we sleep like sardines in a cuddle puddle at the foot of the rv. So much happiness here. I never know how to express such profound gratitude for people like Judd’s folks…but we are more than blessed by their generosity. Thank you to the moon and back Jenny, Scott and Whitney!

As for the rest of you, goodnight!