Episode 9: MOUNTAIN LION


Oh no It’s snow We were like oh Looks like snow. No, it’s a rock. No it’s snow. I Wonder what that is, whatever it is. I mean, it’s pretty big It just blows my mind that we have gone from like young guns Louis L’amour typical western desert to like Alpine just forests and patches of snow in like No time. I mean, it’s just it’s just incredible Groovy upbeat music [Dixie singing: start spreading the news, I’m leaving today] [listening to Sound of Silence, Disturbed cover] Good morning [cow moo] [Dixie moos] It is morning time and it is Pretty early I had a camp before 7:00 the goal was to get out at 6:00 well, the goal was to get out early because today We are wanting to do twenty five point two miles to Ghost Ranch now Ghost Ranch is actually on a little alternate It’s pretty much the same distance as a official CDT. It’s just that they have lodging and laundry and showers and all of that good stuff and Tomorrow is Aaron’s birthday. So We thought it would be pretty cool. If you know he got to spend his birthday Somewhat in some kind of civilization and get like a real meal and stuff so We’re gonna take that alternate a lot of people do because they have packages sent there so anyway, the goal was to leave camp this morning at about 6:00 or at least as early as possible so we could get 25.2, you know by some kind of decent time before the visitor center There is closed and maybe while they’re still serving food and stuff. So I Got up at right about 6:00 a little before and I was like Hey Aaron, and I was gonna try to talk to about some of the terrain today so he’s gonna try to talk to him about some of the terrain today and You know miles and stuff and I didn’t hear anything. I was like Aaron He was gone he gone so I guess he’s really wanted to stay in a place Again, it has a real bed after not fully probably recovering from his 73 mile stretch with no sleep. So anyway We made the joke yesterday at least that thought it was a joke like race ya there kind of thing but uh, But he’s sneaky he got out before I did so I’m obviously still gonna try to rush there as fast as I can today but uh Anyway, yeah, I guess I’ve really lost that race. I’m gonna have to I’m gonna have to keep an eye on him in the future When we do something like this cuz he’s sneaky well When you got a dry year you got fire restrictions. It looks like we can still use our stoves at least but no fires Going on [plays harmonica] Holy crap Imola, y’all I just saw a freaking mountain lion I don’t I didn’t know what to do. So I blew the harmonica that I have that I’ve been Practicing mary had a little lamb with and then like he kind of still stood there and then I’m like, oh my god Did I did I make myself it sounding like a bird and now it wants to attack me more, you know Or like I was in pain, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but you’re not a real through hiker Unless you’ve crapped your pants And for lunch today, I’m having loaded baked potato potatoes with a cheese stick Aaron and I messaged with one another I got a dab of service after I saw that mountain lion and he was about a mile ahead of me at that time, and I’m thinking if I push About three miles per hour I can get there by five. So hopefully I’ll get there just a little bit before 5:00 and We had googled it yesterday when we got service so that they closed at 6:00 but then we heard five from a hiker so Hoping that it’s actually six, huh? but Regardless, hopefully one of us will get there Before they close whatever time it is. Aaron said he’d tried to call but they didn’t answer Pretty sure they’re open though because I know that hikers have been Going through there so anyway I reckon just have to go as fast as we can and then Find out when we get there and now we’re back to kind of desert us terrain But the ground is looking a little more red and I noticed we could see the Colorado mountains yesterday. I noticed it There’s a little bit more more red in those mountains that I could see it so Pretty excited for even more and more changes Excuse me don’t run Oh Bless it I Think I’m coming in the world. Oh This one’s coming after me. look lady. I done face a mountain lion today. I’m not afraid of you Excuse me. Thank you Darn nab it. Alright, so the official CDT continues up that way and the Ghost Ranch Is that way so that’s the way I shall go but check out this awesome body of water We ended up hitting the highway because as I said before we were trying to rush to get there to get 25 miles by 6 p.m. Which is about the time dinner is we were afraid that we were gonna Not get there and figure out you know where everything was located and be able to pay for dinner and make dinner in time So what we did is we decided to hitchhike from the highway because there was a decent amount of traffic we got to Ghost Ranch in time with the hitch to Get a room squared away to get a meal ticket for dinner and to get down to the food hall and to eat dinner So is it was a good call but then we had to hike those three or four miles From the highway to Ghost Ranch, right because got to have that continuous footpath so Eating lunch. We ran into this guy who is volunteering at Ghost Ranch and offered, you know, like hey, I’ll Drive you down the road so that you can walk back so it all ended up working out which we figured it would but we were just hoping that from Ghost Ranch we wouldn’t have To walk three or four miles to the highway where we were picked up and then three or four miles Back and ended up having to do double miles Gimpy hikers You know you got a whole bed up there [singing and a guitar] All around we just had a great time at ghost ranch got to hang out with some other hikers and talk to some of the locals and it was just a lot of fun and a nice break and now we’ve got 50 miles until we Get off trail for my sister’s graduation for about a week or so So just have to knock out this 50 miles today tomorrow and the next day so shouldn’t be too bad but tonight Aaron actually gets Birthday number two because you can’t have a trail birthday without actually getting something on the trail So he kind of gets two birthdays He knows that I’ve got a little something that I’ve been toting since Cuba but doesn’t know what it is It’s not a whole lot. But you know anything on the trail for your birthday is exciting [Dixie singing happy birthday] Who Feels like hiking today? [Aaron groans] Well, I didn’t feel like hiking today but once I got out here and saw how pretty it was gonna be today Uh, that’s kind of changed. I’m actually really enjoying all these Aspen’s and green grass and Intermittent, sunshine It’s great. I think it’s gonna be a beautiful stretch leadin’ up to uh, then I gotta get off trail so Aaron has the upgrade to his ultras the What did you call it? Aaron: The thru-hiker special Special yeah, it’s extra extra ventilated But, he said he didn’t have enough money to get it to the uh, Well, you did partially So these fellas are saying that this is probably old track I Think if I saw one of those I’d crap my pants First alive snake The other two I’ve seen were mashed on the road That is so cool Go, go, you can do it! You’re almost there! Where’s the trail? bring the game of hide-and-seek I I’m gonna go through this way. I don’t know that it’s through here I’m just – this feels like North Who ordered the snow Well it is Snowing and I mean, I guess it makes sense we’re up above 10,000 feet. I think we’re at like 10,500 10,300 something like that, but luckily not a whole lot but Nevertheless, frozen water’s falling from the sky Well, by all means, go ahead. I’m hoping to catch a fall. Perk: You hoping to catch me slippin? Perk: Yeah, never that. Ain’t me. Dixie: Yeah, watch me fall down here Hiker: Yeah, your video ends with the sky Dixie: Wouldn’t be the first one! Jungle gym! [Perk plays Ukulele] Oh, now I was talking about earlier how I didn’t really feel like hiking today, and it’s probably because whenever There’s this deadline and it’s not like, you know You got to make it to a certain place for food at a certain time because that’s a little bit more exciting But remember it’s a deadline of like you have a flight that you gotta catch at a certain time, so You got a certain amount of miles to do to get to a road to go to a town where you have to fly and just that like Looming deadline and the fact that I’ve spent money on a plane ticket to go home You know, it’s I guess it makes me a little anxious, you know, and then it’s like no matter what happens today I got to get those miles done because you know, I gotta catch the flight day after tomorrow And um, so it’s like you’re forced to do it, you know And it feels like like I don’t want to go to school today, you know And the thing is I would probably do about the same mileage anyway so it’s just a different vibe or perspective being like obligated or having to versus you know, just doing it because you want to because Canada, you know, so I think that that’s probably why I tell folks who are gonna through hike you know you you think that it’ll make you feel better to have Travel plans already figured out for the end but the truth is it could actually add stress and make you not enjoy yourself as much because you’re like, oh I want to take a zero and hang out with this cool group of people, but You know, I gotta finish by September 25th because that’s when my plane ticket says that I have to finish by, you know So just keep that in mind if you’re playing in at through hike for the future Yesterday Aaron was going a little bit slower than me perk and some of the other folks that we were hiking around Because he’s got a shin that’s bothering him So this week of break coming up is gonna be good and I told him you know he could have gotten off before and then met up with me after graduation or whatever, but he was just Persistent that he was gonna push through and get off at the same place as me and so anyway last night set up camp and camped a little bit shy of What I was aiming to because I was like, well, you know, maybe he’ll do some not hiking and catch up but I saw a headlamp come through camp last night after everyone had kind of gone to bed and settled down and all the headlamps were out and I Thought now is that Aaron not hiking and well if it is he’ll probably set up camp here and I’ll see him in the morning and If not, then, you know, maybe it’s just somebody else getting up to go use the bathroom or something like that And so anyway this morning when I woke up, I was like Aaron was that you that came through last night And I hear nothing and and everyone else except for perk had already packed up and left camp So anyway, I got up no signs of Aaron and I thought well now I don’t know, you know, is he ahead of me? And he just kept pushing through last night night hiking further or is you know, was it somebody using the bathroom? I don’t know and now I don’t know if he’s behind me are ahead of me and whether to wait on him or not and So then I found a hiker text this morning that let me know and now I know that you know I can just push ahead full steam and go ahead and get to the road where we’re leaving from so when you don’t have service in your hiker, I mean This is just one of those examples of the ways that hikers communicate and we find a way to You know make things work, even if it’s not The way that people normally do things nowadays. Aaron did come through because his ultra prints look different than anyone’s. On every thru-hike I’ve done I’ve had to go home for graduation so I’m not sure what it would be like to have a through hike where I didn’t have to leave in May and Go home, and honestly, it’s a very bittersweet feeling you know, I’m very Excited to get home and see my family and of course, I wouldn’t miss my brothers and sisters graduations for the world but it really bums me out because you get out here and you hike around some awesome people and I mean I’m sure when I come back. I’ll meet some great folks like I have you know every time I’ve had to leave and go in a thru-hike and I guess you know the sunny side of that is like I get to meet more awesome folks that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, but the backpacking world is Such a small community Ended up running into several people yesterday, and it was really nice Hiking around that many folks on trail. I wasn’t looking forward to the miles really but then you know run into all these cool people and you’re talking and introducing yourselves and all of that and it just makes some miles go by so much faster and then On top of it, What I was saying is it’s such a small community because There’s a guy named Daniel and he and I crossed paths last year on the PCT He was going southbound and I was heading northbound and we had stopped and you know kind of talked for a bit and I was like You know this fellas cool. This is somebody I could hack around. I mean that’s like most of the folks out here, you know but anyway, then lo and behold like Yesterday as me and perk and Aaron were packing up and gettin ready to leave camp like we were run into Daniel and and it just feels like Even though you’ve only crossed paths with another hiker maybe once or twice on another trail it’s like you’ve known on your whole life and So it was really cool getting to you know Spend the day catching up and a lot of the folks on this trail have done other hikes so You know you get to talk about The AT and the PCT with them and your favorite parts and how this trail compares and it’s just I don’t know It’s just fun It’s like you’ll have so much in common Even though you hadn’t even really spent that much time Around one another but the backpacking community is just such a small world and such a tight-knit community that like where else do you? randomly cross paths with somebody twice in your life, you know and I don’t know and just have so much to talk about so it’s just a really cool experience and nothing that I’ve Seen anywhere else in my life. One of the things that continues to amaze me about the backpacking community is how giving everyone is out here and how much of a camaraderie there is so Some of the fellows yesterday we’re mentioning that they were a little short on food. Well, I’m about to get off trail right so I can definitely Spare some food. And so I gave them some of my food and then One of them was talking about so, you know What’s going on with Aaron’s leg? And I told him well as shins bothering him a little bit, but you know we’re about to get off and he’ll have a break and all and he was like Well, one of the luxury items that I always carry is like a wrap and some tape and stuff like that But I carry this stuff still in case it can help somebody else and I was like that is so awesome So he gave me this wrap the saying the trail provides, you know, it really does and when you need something Suddenly, there it is. I don’t know, we just all help each other out and it’s like Literally people that you don’t even know but you know because you’re all going through the same thing so it’s just cool and it’s not something that Can really be explained to its full extent. It’s just something that you have to get out here and experience

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