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Day 19 Hail and snow 

August 25
The sky was finally blue this morning! But… by the time we packed, ate breakfast and got a hitch back to the trail, clouds were closing in. It’s typical behavior for summer; storms to build in the afternoon. Once again we were hiking with dark clouds around. We weren’t above the tree line but we were on a ridge with very few trees. Our eyes were on the nearby storms. After doing lightening research we’re much more leery. 

Which brings me to the question: why are there absolutely no warnings on any trail head boards?! If the lightening is so dangerous why aren’t there any warnings about it? On every trail sign there are bear warnings. How many people a year are killed by bears in Colorado? Um… None. (Yes I understand they don’t want bears to eat our food). From what I read, an average of 11 people a year are killed by lightening in Colorado. 

Moving on:

About two hours into our hike it started to lightly hail. The light hail quickly turned to blasting sideways pelting our faces and legs like a million tiny bullets! The hail was solid ice! My pack is so heavy from food but I ran anyways, screaming when I had the air for it. I attempted to shield my face with my arm, it at least kept the hail off my face. The wind was blasting with so much force it nearly blew off my pack cover and did blow my hat off, luckily I caught it. Once we found shelter in a few trees we immediately put pants and warmer clothes on. I’ve never in my life experienced anything so intense and violent from nature. My legs we beat red and my hands nearly useless. 

Once we got going again the storm graced us with light snow. The flakes fell so gently and slowly like small white feathers. It was so beautiful. The temperature continued to be low but the storm passed and the sun peaked out. 

At a shelter cabin we planned on taking our lunch break there was a hiker camped out. His name is Yohanis (I’m spelling it as it sounds) born in Mexico, raised in Germany and now lives in Philly. He came to the US at 18 and is now a psychologist data analysis. He was a gear junky like Ram so they had a great time with gear talk. 

In a field of rocks where the marmots and pika live a cute little pika came within two feet of me to lick a rock! It was so cute! Usually they run so fast away they’re just a gray blur. 

I’ve been wanting to see an Elk since we started this trail. I still haven’t but just a few minutes ago I heard one do a loud call!   

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