Ruckin’ Around

Spring has sprung, the move’s complete, I’ve updated the Gear List to reflect my PCT gear, and I’m stoked for the ALDHA-West Colorado Rockies Ruck, set to go down this Saturday, March 11th in Golden, Colorado!

Basically a convention for section hikers, thruhikers and would-be thruhikers, this year features vendors like Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, and Mont-bell, a gear panel, an hour for one-on-one pack shakedowns, a Leave No Trace presentation, lightning and water safety demonstrations, breakout sessions to talk specific trails, and a keynote given by Jean Ella, the first woman to hike the Continental Divide Trail. I’m heavily involved this year as a part of the gear panel, a pack shaker-downer, and the PCT breakout session facilitator.

I’ve been going to this event for three years running, and it’s always a good time; tickets, which include breakfast, lunch, and social hour afterwards, are $35 – but what you get is well-worth the price. So if you’re looking for something to do Saturday, and you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us for a hikertrashy good time!

Aftermath: (In)Complete

I sit by Junction Creek in the immediate aftermath, sipping the remnants of the whiskey I’d bought in Lake City. I saved it for a reason – it suits my mood; the Colorado Trail’s trailhead is off to my left, the Creek’s softly flowing along, ushering my thoughts into and directly out of my mind. I’m content to flow along with it for the moment – what I’m thinking is too big to hold onto – while Crankster lets me have my space, making busy busy busy back back back to the real world. I’m not quite there yet, though I know I’ll have to be soon enough.

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Day Thirty-Six: A Broken Fiddle

Two cars don’t run us over in the morning, when it’s too cold and we’re too half-asleep to have done much of anything about it anyway. One flashes its lights and hollers a greeting, and we’re forced into consciousness sooner than we’d like.

This is it. The last day. Both Crankster and I can feel it. My entire body’s thrumming, all the pain from yesterday evening forgotten at the prospect of devouring the last twenty miles; it’s slavering for the pain, the pleasure, the sheer unbridled joy that is simply walking, one last time. I’m both anxious to have finished my first thruhike and woefully ill-prepared to face what that means. Continue reading

Day Thirty-Five: Top of the World

Crankster and I wake at our accustomed hour, aren’t outside for more than a minute before a biker rides up from Durango-way, asking about water. Lucky man, water’s less than five miles from here for you. Us, we’ve got about fifteen-ish miles to the next source. He thanks us and rides on, and I fret about my water situation. As the idiot who ate an entire package of jerky last night, I also drank an entire liter of water to rehydrate said jerky in my stomach, so I have two liters and a full Gatorade bottle to make it fifteen miles. Should be fine. Should be.  Continue reading

Day Thirty-Three: Hiked Out

I pass a fitful night in Silverton – Crankster sleeps with the TV on, and after thirty-odd days of having little noise about when I sleep, it’s distracting, and eventually I get up and watch, HGTV’s House Hunters my guilty pleasure. I finally think she’s been asleep for long enough (and that I’m ready to go to sleep) at 1am; she turns on the TV again at 1:30. I put my buff over my eyes and manage to find unconsciousness.

We wake around 8, and Crank tells me she turned on the TV after hearing yelling in the hall – the ghosts supposedly lurking in our residence, perhaps. She’s not too keen on this whole “consciousness” thing, and after last night’s lack of sleep, I’m not too keen on this “hiking out today” thing, but both of us manage to get in the shower and, after securing a late checkout, out the door to do town chores. Continue reading

Day Thirty-One: For-Real Goodbyes

The rest of us are hardly stirring when BlueJay gets up and out – he’s ready to be done with his triple-crown adventure; we all wish him well, and hope he makes it. As for the rest of us, we dawdle, for various reasons: it’s still too dark to see outside, NoDay doesn’t want to leave us, it’s supposed to be wet today. Also, this is really-really the last time we’ll see each other, and we’re gonna stave off those goodbyes as long as possible.  Continue reading

Day Thirty: Yurt Yurt Yurt

The shuttle back to the trail’s supposed to leave at 8am; someone’s alarm goes off and I’m about 1000% sure we’ve missed it. Still, nobody moves, so I’m sure as hell not gonna. I luxuriate in the bed and the pillow as long as I can before finally getting up, one of the first to do so. Turns out it’s only 7am.

As the first up, it’s me who starts the chain reaction that develops into a frenzy of eight hikers scurrying this way and that, gathering things and sorting out gear and using the last hour to get ready to go. It’s a photo finish as all of us pile into the van, and then we’re off, up the winding road back to the trail.  Continue reading