Hanging with the locals and a giant waterfall exploration.

Day 30, 8/6
Miles: 13.4
Mileage: 410.7 – 424.1

I wake in the backyard of the hostel, people talking about bikes and gear, and I’m glad they woke me up. I look at my phone for a few minutes before getting out of bed, then make my way into the kitchen where I heat up a couple packets of instant oatmeal that someone left in the hiker box. We’re on a tight budget now, going out for breakfast isn’t allowed anymore. Even though it isn’t much, I’m thankful for a hot breakfast- it’s really actually delicious.

When Squat gets up we head over to the coffee shop next door and I order a mocha then settle back into a chair, enjoying the music and my coffee. This has officially become my favorite hiker luxury- sitting in coffee shops on town days. The music, the people, the vibes, and of course the coffee make me feel incredibly rejuvenated and lucky to be where I’m at. A guy about our age, who I quickly figure out works there but is off duty, is chatting with another middle aged man, who I decide is a regular. I join in occasionally on the topics of their discussion, and before we know it we’re all sitting around the table chatting it up and hanging out. It’s fun hanging out with locals- one of my favorite things about the trail. We talk and hang out for an hour or two until Squat and I realize we still need to pack up and run a few errands, and hitch back to the trail.

It takes us a while to pack up because we’re talking with Jan, the hostel owner, and a few other people staying at the hostel. Right before we leave the younger guy from the coffee shop, Ian, shows up with his dog and we talk and hang out some more, then he ventures out with us to the post office and the outdoor store. He offers for us to pitch our tent in his backyard when we get back into Silverton in about 5 days, after arriving in Durango, and we’re totally gonna take him up on his offer because guess why? That’s a night we don’t have to pay for a hostel, that’s why.

Squat and I walk down the Main Street to the edge of town and it doesn’t take long for us to hitch. We’re back on the trail in no time. It’s a little after noon when we start walking, but we only have 14 miles to walk today, and we can do that pretty quick these days. This is an absolutely beautiful part of the trail. Mountains rise in the distance every which way we turn, wildflowers are in full bloom, and lakes are dotted below us as we walk up high above the roads that we were just driving on not long ago. There is green everywhere. Green grass covers the mountain sides and the valleys between, and where we walk, there is green grass, bushes and trees surrounding us on all sides.

We walk fast but stop often- I have to take pictures, we have to pick flowers to put behind our ears, we have to eat snacks, and we even have to stop to record a few videos here and there- because why not when you have all day?

We walk our 14 miles then find a really cool place to pitch our tent just below an awesome looking waterfall, then we decide have to go ‘splorin. The waterfall runs down between two walls of loose rock, and we gradually make our way up the creek by climbing up and around and next to the walls, and also in the center of the creek when there appears to be islands of rocks. We make it to the base of the waterfall, take tons of pictures, and yell with excitement because this place is AWESOME.

Eventually meandering back to our tent we make dinner, fill our water bottles (which we don’t have to filter because we’ve now switched to aquamira), and do all the usual chores. We talk and laugh and enjoy all that surrounds us until the sun is setting, then we say goodnight to the outside world and crawl into bed. I catch up on blogs until my arms and fingers get tired of typing and my brain gets tired of working, and finally I tuck myself in for a hopefully long night of precious shut eye.

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