MacDonald Pass(2653.6) to Dana Spring(2677.5)
Total Miles: 2392
Elevation: 6900 ft
I expected to wake up to clear skies and warmer temperatures. The reality was quite different. It was an overcast, cold, dreary day. I went down for breakfast at seven o’clock. Piñata and Straws were already there. They were sitting with Dirtbag, Who I have never met. I made myself a waffle and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. None of us were particularly excited about leaving the warm hotel and going out into the cold. After breakfast we managed to delay the inevitable until after eleven o’clock. Finally we summoned up enough motivation to call a local trail to return us to the trail. Raphael was kind enough to take time out of his day to drive us back up to the pass. On the way we saw a few other hikers trying to hitch. Raphael stopped and picked them up as well. The Jesus and Koolaid are finishing up miles that they had to miss last year due to a fire. The Jesus and I were chatting about his 2015 thruhike and it turns out we have a mutual friend. 42 is one of the first people I met in Telluride and The Jesus hiked with him on the PCT. I love how small the hiking community is.
Start of the day
We didn’t start hiking until almost noon. We only made it a few miles before taking our first break. It stayed cold out all day long. The sun never came out and we walked in a cloud for most of the afternoon. I was really glad that I bought an additional long sleeve shirt in town. Now I have one just for camp and one to hike in when it is cold and/or raining. For the most part we hiked on forest service roads. I enjoy hiking on these kinds of roads because it allows us to talk while we hike.
Not much to see
We tried to keep the breaks to a minimum today. It was just too cold out to stop hiking for very long. This weather really reminded me of Washington on the PCT. It was also a good reminder of why I have hiked this trail so fast. Winter is coming!
25 feet of visibility
I managed to strain my lower back while we were in town. I struggled to keep up for most of the day. By the time we hiked ten miles every step was agony. I tried to ignore it, but every step was difficult. I decided that it was time to play the riddle game. I figured that would help take my mind off of the pain. While we were in town I downloaded a bunch of lateral thinking riddles. These are really fun to play with a group of people. One person knows the solution. You give everyone else a scenario and they have to ask yes or no questions to figure what happened. I have Straws and Piñata the scenario and they tried to figure out the answer. This lasted until we made camp for the night.
AT or CDT?
Tall, wet grass
Water was a bit of an issue today. They weren’t very many sources for us to choose from. On a normal day this would have been tricky, but since it was so cold out nobody was drinking much. We made it to the only on trail water source a little after seven o’clock. The temperature had plummeted and we were all tired and cold. We decided to camp close by. There were several other hikers there when we arrived. This group is made up of a lot of familiar faces, most of which I haven’t seen since Colorado. It turns out that they had just skipped over 700 miles of trail. I’m trying really hard not to judge, everyone has the right to HYOH(hike your own hike). Columbus, The Saint, Nothing Yet, Earl Grey, Bob’s Your Uncle, and Smokey got s ride from Dubois to Butte from Randy the trail angel. I would have liked to see him again, but we just missed each other in Butte. As we were filling our water bottles from the spring Z arrived. We have been hoping that he would catch up to us before the end of the trail. He took nine days off for his sisters wedding and still managed to catch up with us. Considering the miles we have been doing lately that is really impressive. Everyone was stoked to see him again. We found a nice sheltered spot to camp and set up quickly. We all had dinner together before crawling into our tents for the night.
“The practice of patience toward one another, the overlooking of one another's defects, and the bearing of one another's burdens is the most elementary condition of all human and social activity in the family, in the professions, and in society.”
- Lawrence G. Lovasik