Missouri

May 2 Somewhere in southeastern CO

Yesterday I hiked out with OB and Max and within an hour I knew it was a mistake. However, I passively let my mind go through the motions that lead to decision making. I did not want to decision make. I wanted what I wanted: to hike. And I hiked. Slowly, painfully. OB and Max would wait for me and then I’d watch them get further ahead of me. Which is fine, but this was not our usual hiking style. I was not hiking my usual hiking style.

Around 2pm after I had tried to hike in my Crocs a decision made itself clear. An option. To take a break from the trail and let my foot heal at my folks place. To get better shoes. As I was taking a break with the guys we were talking about the snow levels north of Cuba and the Ghost Ranch and the decision solidified into a plan of action. A huge wave of relief washed over me once I realized that I could potentially solve two issues (foot pain, snow) with one action. That certainly appealed to the Capricorn in me.

Snow is something I take seriously. And something many locals have been talking about is avalanche danger. And lots of snow. One in the same. I listen to locals with a keen ear, more so than other hikers in many cases. I am not a mountaineer and I do not have the skill to use an ice axe in a situation that would call for it. I don’t know how to read snow for avalanche danger. And I don’t carry the gear required for snow camping.

Once I got to the water cache maintained by Carol and Hugo Mumm, I stopped. Carol had texted me and said that Hugo would pick me up in an hour or so. I hung out with the guys as they set up their tents. Somehow if felt wrong not to be setting up my tent too. But I had made a decision that I knew was right in my bones.

Hugo picked me up and I said goodbye to OB and Max. I’m going to miss those guys. We’ve become pretty close over the last week or so and I just love hiking with them. I love how we all support each other and respect each other as humans and hikers. I would trust them with my life.

I know they are going to have a great rest of their hike and I hope I run into them

again this summer, somewhere down the trail.

Hugo and I restocked another water cache on Mt. Taylor and then he dropped me at the Super 8. Another motel instead of a tent. Soon, I tell myself, the tent will be home again.

I got a ride to the train station in Albuquerque from another local trail angel Mac. Mac is a surgeon who lives in town and helps out hikers. We talked trail, hikers, travel and more for the hour drive into town. I tried to give him gas money but he refused. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the kindness of strangers impresses and humbled me every time. Every time.

I sat with three fellow passengers for dinner and one of them had walked the Camino and we all talked about the film The Way, which is one of my favorites. We talked about how wonderful people can be, and how liberating it is to just walk.

I felt like I was sitting with three hikers.

May 14 Colombia, Missouri

I am waiting. Waiting for the snow to melt. Waiting for my plantar fasciitis to lighten up a bit. But it doesn’t feel like waiting. There’s lots to do here. Colombia is full of walking and hiking trails, some of which run across the state. Today I walked 9 miles into town and back. It felt good until the last mile or so. My foot feels good now as I write this in the evening and so I’m hoping that in a couple of weeks I’ll be ready to return to the CDT in northern CO or southern WY.

Tomorrow my dad and I are going to do a 20 mile bike ride. My cruiser bike that I got when I lived in Astoria is here, so I’ll ride that. This is very exciting to me and since the trail is essentially flat I can just go! It’ll be fun.

I’ve also had the chance to spend some quality time with my brother which is important to me since we don’t see each other often. Same with my folks. I was hoping to get a chance to see them when I started the trail but I just couldn’t figure out how to make it happen.

And then the trail provided.

Although I wish I was at home with Keith I am content to wait, as it were, here with the activities (and animals!) available.

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