We’re over halfway done! Wahoo! 260 something down 220 something to go! The west collegiate was no joke! It was HARD but the next 80 miles look pretty easy, we stay below 12 thousand and don’t do steep climbs.
The last few days every evening we’ve been seeing a bright orange tent camped in, perfect for a magazine cover, places. Once next to a huge pine tree surrounded by aspens, once alone on a gray rock field and again in a big green meadow next to a huge lake. Ram wanted to know WHO is this guy! This morning about ten minutes into our hike the owner caught up to us. He looks to be maybe in his 30’s? He did the Sierras earlier this year and is now doing the West and East Collegiate. When we talked he seemed to almost only look and talk to me. The first thing everyone usually does when meeting us is ask Ram where we’re from, but this guy didn’t. It was strange but I shrugged it off. At this meeting and a brief one a later he complained several times about a climb we had coming up. It was a little annoying.
The climb wasn’t bad at all. It WAS very nerve-racking and dangerous though. The sky did NOT look nice and we had a few miles above the tree line on a ridge. Ram said he saw lightening so we just did it as fast as we could. For part of it there were power lines taller than us. The thing about the storms is we don’t want to just sit for a whole day or more waiting for the sky to clear. We had just enough food to last the rest of the afternoon.
We need to do our climbs as early in the day as possible because if we don’t get over before the storm hits it’s unlikely to at all that day.
We made it to Monarch Pass right as the storm let loose with hail. At the pass, highway 50 passes over and goes to Salida. There’s a food and gift shop building where we ran into the tent guy. He now decided to only do the west and go to Salida like us. He bashed on Salida then praised it as soon as I said it sounds perfect when he described it. Ram made a Salida sign for hitching to which he said you don’t need that you just need her (meaning me). Ram mentioned that we’re married and he said “you just met last year on the PCT and now you’re married?!” Then under his breath said “you need to grow up”. Then Ram said “yeah it’s the stuff of movies” to which he softly mumbled “oh my god I think I have puck in my mouth”. Everything he said was completely under his breath and negative.
He went to go hitch and we went to rest and eat. After about an hour he was still out there . Ram didn’t want to hitch while he was out there so we waited a bit. I didn’t want to keep waiting so we threw our stuff together and as soon as we were ready he came back in to warm up. He turned down two car’s because they weren’t going far enough. Ram grabbed his Salida sign and we walked out to the highway. We didn’t even get situated next to the road before a guy named Chris picked us up. I bet he was really pissed but Ram didn’t want his bad energy with us. Chris wasn’t going all the way to Salida but decided he’d take us all the way! Chris was really cool and chill with weird al hair and soft speech. He dropped us off in town and as soon as I put my bag down a guy in a big red trucked pulled up. He asked us if we were southbounders. His names T bone and he did the PCT in 07′. He offered to give us a tour of Salida and drop us off at a place to stay! T-bone was young and one of those beautiful men with his brown curly hair and pretty blue eyes. He had his son with him who talked a lot but you could never understand what he was saying. The son was so adorable and pretty boy I thought he was a girl… I felt really bad. It’s hard to tell at that age.
It was so amazing getting these rides! We met two trail Angels today. I’m so grateful!
Tomorrow we’re doing a zero. Much needed this time.