5/25 We rolled out with the crew I stayed in Ghost Ranch with. By now, I had gotten used to the northern Irish humor Malarkey entertained us with and the witty comments Dayman delivered all day. LaLa will hike next to you and sincerely ask about your life, wanting to get to know you better and toast had a constant optimism and laughter that maintained the positive atmosphere. It was a great group to be with and I was glad we would be going their pace into Chama. John and I hiked on together and strategized a bit about the snow. Later in the day we all grouped up and hiked the final miles together. A sunny forecast quickly turned in to hail and high winds for a bit, but mostly threatened with dark clouds. Towards the end of the day two Latinos pulled up in a big truck that had come up to (Latino accent) "see the moisture" and were shocked that we were hiking all the way to Canada because they (Latino accent again) "like hiking, but not that much." they asked us how far we had hiked and we said 25, so Eloy turned and looked at his friend as he said, " that's pretty good," as his friend nodded with approval. They handed us too many cheap beers and I gave mine to the group who could barely get them down. We found a nice campsite just past that where we camped with the one and only Banana Pants, an Austrian with a squeaky voice that was always 20 minutes ahead. You leave at 6, he leaves at 545. You arrive where he is breaking, he packs his things and hikes on. Banana pants. Oh yeah, he wears bring yellow pants.
5/26 I was the last one out and I trailed behind Malarkey. After a while we began hiking together and he told me stories from his homeland, Northern Ireland, and the Appalachian Trail. You really will never catch him hiking in anything but his Hawaiian board shorts and a short sleeve T-shirt. We caught up the the group and hiked onward. At midday we crossed a tricky River and by then Bigfoot had caught up to us. I had briefly met him on the PCT as spencer and I were doing our 50 mile day in Oregon, but didn't remember. We had already kind of known each other through mutual friend from back home and in the hiking world. I walked with him for a while until the tricky River crossing. It has been nice to have real lunch breaks with this group. We continued to a road where there were camping areas and more and more hikers grouped up. Added to the group was now Periwinkle and G Funk, another Austrian with the most soothing voice and personality. There were now about 10 people. 10 real life human beings I was hiking with on the CDT. Our campsite came soon after and hail came down as we set up. After it died down, we ate dinner together and enjoyed the company.
5/27 Everyone left at different times, but we all ended up meeting up before lunch. We were now walking through large, rolling meadows with aspen trees bordering the fresh green grasses. The meadows turned into canyons and we began a rim walk along the Rio San Antonio. Rim walks are so enjoyable because they put you right above it all, with cliffs extending for miles. The miles went by and we got to a snowy section where we all post holed (your foot breaks through the snow like a post making a hole) for miles. We all laughed at each other and helped each other along which made the section go by particularly quickly. Towards the end of the day we took a lower route that would take us to the Colorado border and avoid a lot of snow. Like a mob, the group continued on and I stayed back with LaLa, Dayman, and Malarkey because i knew I wouldn't be among their company for much longer. As we approached the Colorado border, giant meadows with a meandering road became the sight around each corner until we reached the border and took photos with the whole group. We ended up hiking a couple more miles and set up camp at the first flat spot we could find. We all sat around in a circle as we ate our dinners, some cold some hot. We were all laughing constantly usually from a comment that Banana Pants would make as he continued with his squeaky Austrian accent. It was a beautiful moment, 10 hikers on the CDT from very different backgrounds that had come together under one common ground: the love of the outdoors and a simple life. It's moments like these where you realize once again that these memories are among special memories that will actually be remembered forever.