After a delicious breakfast at the W Cafe in Gunnison, we headed back to the trailhead. We had not hiked far when we saw two, white styrofoam coolers stashed in the brush for passing hikers by trail angel Keith aka Burntfoot. Never too early for cold drinks, we each selected a cold soda and then flipped through the register to see which of our friends had passed through on the CDT.
The trail took us through the forest into open cow country. While we saw many, many cows, we saw no other people until late afternoon when we met DNA, a Continental Divide Trail section hiker (hiking all of Colorado this year). A few minutes later we met Apple, trail angel extraordinaire.
Apple directed us to comfortable camp chairs under the shelter of his pop up tent, and pointed to two coolers filled with drinks and snacks. Then he disappeared to the back of his SUV where he had ice cream chilling on dry ice and proceeded to make root beer floats!!! Delicious! We enjoyed relaxing and talking with Apple while sipping our creamy, frosty root beer floats.
We continued on through open grazing land before climbing back into a dense aspen forest. Reaching a grassy saddle, we decided to camp for the night. We had not even finished cooking our dinner before we began hearing thunder rumbling in the distance. We watched nervously as lightning danced across the mountains and ridges ahead. With the storm slowly closing in around us I wished for a more sheltered camp. But with no other options in sight, we headed for bed, hoping for the best.