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Cody, Jo, Rob & Winsor
It was warm to wake up this morning, a pleasant surprise. I called out to Rob at about 5:25 and we were on the trail an hour later. We had a 2,000 foot climb to Molas Pass--that was just to get the day started. I was dreading putting on wet clothes, but in the end it was just wet socks and shoes and by the end of the day, the shoes were mostly dry,
Rob parked his car at a nearby but not quite Molas trailhead, so he offered to take my pack and let me slack pack the mile or so up to Molas Pass. There he gave me about a liter of orange juice and a coke (he asked me which I preferred, so I said "both").--I find drinking calories much easier than eating them when you need a lot. I tried to call Kerry, but he didn't answer; I left a message to the background noise on my end, of a dozen motorbikes revving up to go.
Cody leaped right into the open door of Rob's car, as is his habit with any open car door. We did eventually entice him out when it was time for me to leave--it took a pig ear and strips of dried duck--hey, anything for food.
When we set out this morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky. By 10:30, as I was getting ready to leave, I could see an afternoon of rain brewing and by 2:30, we had another full on rainstorm. First the clouds gather darkly and sometimes the rain falls lightly from high up, these are the summer storms that don't bother me too much, but for the last few days, the sky has closed in low all around me and then the light dims and my spirits are dampened both metaphorically and in realty as the rain comes down and the wind starts up. It feels like it will never end. I just have to hold on to the hope that the sun will come again before evening and it usually does.
One benefit of the rain is that the earth colors are so intense. The pink gravel looks almost red, black is the color of jet and the mountain sides shine a luminescent green.
Walking along one of the ridges, I scared up three grouse (or was it Ptarmigan?) from a tree--they flew up right in front of Mr. Cody and me. He seems to have outgrown his need to chase them since he finally managed to catch one a few years ago. He has become quite mature around the wildlife--at least most of the time.
At the beginning of section 25, I met 6 day bikers (3 men and presumably their 3 wives). For 12 miles they kept passing me and then I would pass them, it got to be quite a comedy. Cody was very friendly with one of the men who turned out to be a vet. They were really nice people. Since it was Sunday, I had to keep getting off the trail for lots of bikers, but this group was special. Every time I passed them I noticed that two to of the women were increasingly tired and I began to feel sorry for them. I asked one of them to take a photo of Cody and me together and I was relieved when they finally headed downhill for Silverton so they could stop fighting the mountain and let gravity take them down.
I also met Pauline and Collin from Australia who were carrying enormous fiberglass umbrellas that they bought at Walmart to replace the ones they left in their car at the airport in Melbourne, they were hiking to Creede. They told me there was water at mile 11 in segment 27 (but I didn't see it, when I passed a couple of days later). I met 3 young women hiking together and two men also on a section hike. When I got to Cascade Creek to stop for the night,there were two women already here, Liz (laid off from REI)-and Kacey (going to start nursing school). They have been on the trail since June 17. They told me they are sick of camping and plan to pick up their pace, so they may finish at the same time as me.
Everyone stops to pet Cody. There is something about the way he flattens his floppy ears, puts his head down and wags his tail. No matter who we meet, people always say, "what a beautiful dog". But I think people in Colorado really like dogs, there are a lot of people hiking with their dogs--it's really nice to see this--a lot of people in the long distance hiking community are so uptight about dogs on the trail I don't even bother to talk about it.
I was too tired to go on to another camp site and Liz and Kacey generously agreed to my staying with them. There really was no good (not lumpy or flat) space left but I was tired, so I put up the tent and slept, despite Cody being in fart-mode. Thank heavens for somewhat decent ventilation and a little air movement. It was dry at least--I take every gift as it comes!