Day 22, 7/29
Mileage: 288.9 – 301.2
Sections 18 and 19 are the flattest two sections on the trail- commonly referred to by Squat and I as pancake day- and on our bucket list for this trip is to hike a 30 mile day. This morning we’re camped midway through section 17. What better day to hike a 30 mile day then pancake day? We wake early in the morning, prepared to walk a very long day. But it’s raining, everything is wet, and as soon as I get out of my sleeping bag it’s gonna be cold and miserable. I don’t want to get out of my favorite burrito of warmth and comfort. We hit snooze and go back to sleep. Next time we wake up Jody and Mikey are also awake, and we talk between our two tents as they try to convince us to spend one more day hiking with them, which in turn means only a 12 mile day. The logic makes sense- why hike a 30 mile day on section 17 and 18 when section 18 and 19 are the two flattest? Plus, we’ve heard rumor of a trail angel towards the end of segment 18 which means possible trail angel goodness halfway through our long day, if we wait until tomorrow. It doesn’t take much to convince us.
Only 12 miles today! Compared to our 16-23 mile days as of late, 12 miles seems like a walk in the park. Back to sleep we go until like, I don’t know, 8:30? We don’t look at the time. Because we don’t need to! Such a lazy day today will be.
When we wake for the third time, we bundle up in our warm, somewhat damp clothes and head out into the land of outside our tent where Jody and Mikey have a fire going already. We are in complete heaven, and really getting completely spoiled to have a fire in the morning. When does this even happen? Never. Never is when it usually happens.
I spend the morning standing in front of the fire, laying out my wet clothes in front of the fire, hanging our rain fly in front of the fire, eating snacks in front of the fire, and even burning my foot on the rocks in front of the fire. Such an amazing morning. Finally, at around 10 or 10:30 or so, we decide to hit the road and it’s already sprinkling out, much to our dismay. Normally the clouds gradually start to roll in around 11, and by 1 or 2 it’s raining- but not this morning. This morning we woke up to clouds and it’s raining at 10. What are you doing to us, Colorado?
We walk only 3.5 miles or so, chit chatting down the trail until we hit a water source where the guys want to filter. Squat and I take a seat by a tree by the creek and I start to snack a bit. Awe hell, I know we’ve only gone a couple miles but we only have 9 miles left… Might as well eat lunch here right? We pull out our burritos and our hot sauce and our cheese and start mounding down. Amy’s burritos for lunch were definitely the best decision we’ve made on this trip so far. Such a luxury! So freaking delicious.
At mile 11 for the day we hit the….dun dun dunnn…. The 300 mile mark! Mikey and I gather some rocks and write “300” in the middle of the trail and we all take turns taking pictures with the rocks, then we take pictures posing as rock stars with the rocks, and we sing and shout at the rocks that spell out the amount of miles our feet have taken us. 300 miles! Officially my longest backpacking trip and longest amount of miles I’ve ever walked consecutively. Life is good. I’m happy now, and I basically frolic the rest of the way down the trail to our camp spot.
We’re setting up camp at 3:30 or 4 or so, the guys make a fire, and we all hang out and talk and enjoy nature and the fire and each other’s company for a while. Two Piece shows up, who we’ve hung out with off and on since Twin Lakes, then not too long later a new girl- Bibbs- shows up and she’s really cool. I make Mac n cheese and eat it all in about 4 minutes and I’m still starving. I dump out my whole food bag and look at everything I’ve got, wondering if I can afford to eat any of it tonight. I’m so tempted to eat tomorrow’s ration of food, but I know how foolish that would be. I decide on a twix bar, gobble that down and, surprise, I’m still hungry. My stomach feels like a never ending empty pit. I’m thinking about food non-stop. Food. I love you.
The evening passes by with laughs and conversation and stories around the campfire, everyone having a jolly ol’ time. Today was such a lazy day to me- starting so late then just moseying our way down the trail, only walking 12 miles and getting into camp so early. Today was such a lazy day yet so much fun and enjoyable, well worth putting our 30 mile day off for. I reflect back on the last hours and I’m so glad we got to hang out with the guys another day, enjoy two camp fires, rest up and play all day except for a short 5 hour walk, and live a different type of backpacking lifestyle- the leisurely kind.
Tomorrow resumes our up early, walk all day schedule, and we’re hitting it off with a bang. My first 30 mile day is to come.