Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 30: Spring to Bison Mountain (Mile 2646)

A solid gray curtain of clouds blanketed the sky, yet it was surprisingly warm as we started to hike. We passed the broken down remnants of the Leadville ghost town, and noticed rusty equipment abandoned in the woods nearby. 

We are still in the midst of the hiker herd. Within the first few hours of hiking, we met several hikers: a couple, a solo hiker, and then SOL and Wagon Wheel, his Martin Backpacker guitar slung casually over his shoulder. We stopped to chat with SOL and Wagon Wheel, who started strumming as we talked. 

Later in the afternoon we met Roni from Israel, who was hiking by himself and was mystified that he could not find any of the myriad hikers reported to be hiking near him. He was closely followed by two female CDT hikers less than an hour behind him. 

Tiny juicy red strawberries nestled underneath the leaves of the countless strawberry plants lining the trail.  Our pace slowed as we stopped to search for the delicious berries. 

Thunder rumbled over the next ridge, and it began to sprinkle. We layered up with all our raingear, only to remove it less than an hour later. But a few hours later, as evening approached, the rain began again in earnest. We quickly layered up again and hiked on in a steady, driving rain. 

Spotting yet another group of hikers down the trail, we started to give them a quick greeting in passing, then stopped. "I know you!"  The Darkness (PCT '12) and I recognized each other at the same time, greeting each other with a big hug, then stopping to catch up. Scalawag, Easily Distracted, and Veggie (all also PCT '12, although we did not hike with them) also joined us, passing along a message to Sierra from our friend Wired from up the trail. 

Trudging on in the rain, we soon met another couple hiking with their dog, and farther still, a couple already camped near the trail, waiting out the storm inside their tent. Sixteen hikers in one day!

Deadfall carpeted the forest floor, making it difficult to find a suitable camp. We eventually found a small patch of bare, sodden ground, and hastily set up camp in the rain. 

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