Wednesday, October 7, 2015

July 2-3 Day 67-68 Papi and Nom

Grim made efforts to catch Kramers and Beads and left Papi and me behind. We would all be seeing each other in Anaconda for the 4th of July so it was not goodbye. I had connected very well with Papi very quickly. Bearclaw, back in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, had mentioned Papi and how awesome and insightful he is, so he was already someone that I had wanted to get to know better. This ended up being one of the most enjoyable few days on trail. At this point my body is in trail shape, I have my trail legs (when your legs are so strong they feel like they can go forever), and I had just been reborn or something emotionally. Papi was the right person to be with.

He has a great story. Having worked in a very high powered desk-job in Seattle for a while, I think 10 years, and having lived a life of luxury and materialism, he got fired. He was out of the rat race by force, and it was the best thing that could have happened to him. In his 50's and not in any kind of debt or financial strain he decided to figure out who he was and who he wanted to be. One of the conversations I appreciated most was when he talked about focusing on the 7 deadly sins and removing them from his life one by one. Working on becoming his most authentic self, unabashedly pursuing true happiness on a deep, non-ego-driven, level, he found himself hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. And on the PCT, he found himself. Or at least a part of himself that he loved. And so, without initially intending to, he finished the whole thing.
(One more way to get over a barbed wire fence)

This summer, he is here, with me, right now, on the CDT. The things I can learn from him, and him from me! So many stories to share, books to talk about, and ideals to discuss! We just clicked and enjoyed a leisurely pace for those couple of days. I have had the privilege of realizing early on that I do not want the kind of life most Americans strive for, and so I do not have too may old habits that I need to break regarding that lifestyle.

This section of Montana was quite smooth, though the bugs were definitely out in force. We drank hot tea int he mornings and hiked a chill pace during the day, occasionally looking for strawberries, which were coming into season. Because we were taking the Anaconda cutoff, there wasn't any information about water sources on our GPS App, Guthook. This was generally not a big deal, but, on the final stretch into Anaconda, we found ourselves dry. It was still hot, this heatwave was not relenting, and we were now at lower elevations so the heat was even hotter than what we had been working with.
(Drying tarps out from condensation in the morning)

We ended up on a dirt road realizing that we might not have water until we got to Anaconda, in 30 miles. We could get off trail, and get water from the Animas river, which was 10-15 miles away, or we could try to stop a car if any passed by. I was really thirsty. My mouth was gummy. My body was covered in so much salt from sweating that you could actually feel the salt crystals all over my skin. We knew there might be a stream that hopefully wasn't dried up, near the road and we kept trying to listen for the sound of running water down below.
(The bugs!)

And then Papi heard it! Running water! One of the best sounds EVER! We made our way down the steep slope to the stream in the reeds and immediately filtered and drank the cold water. Such a good feeling. I half bathed, splashing water on my arms, legs, and head, and Papi took a proper bath as I waited by the side of the road above. We were going to carry extra water this time. No more going thirsty. Of course we ended up having flowing water nearby for the rest of the day.

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