Day 30: 8/23/17 Cloudy and cool, then the storms rolled in

Miles: 24 Steps: 49,448 Vertical gain: Strava knows! Liquid consumed: 158 oz Wildlife: squirrel that pulled all four legs up and laid on his belly!, chipmunks, some birds, larger animals in the spring near camp last night but couldn't see them. No cows!!!! That's the first day in quite a while I haven't seen cows! Faith in Humanity: Offered a ride into town without asking (I declined) from an interesting gentleman. Well, the action never stops! Very overcast this morning and I was on a high and fairly exposed ridge. It was nice to be out of the sun for a change, but storms on high ridges are never fun. It never came, so I enjoyed the mountain I climbed and the cool weather. Eventually I reached a Trailhead where I could hitch into Encampment, but I had plenty of food so was skipping this town. Two gentlemen on one 4-wheeler stopped and chatted with me a bit. He very obviously had a pistol in a holster on his waist and kept messing with it... whatever. He asked me where I lived and I said Colorado. He then said:"have they converted you yet?" To which I replied: "what do you mean?" "Oh the liberals. Are you a liberal?" I laughed and said I'm not really affiliated with either of the 2 political parties and think we'd be better off having more than just 2 choices. He said something like I wonder why no one answers that question directly. I just kind of played dumb, but I was thinking: Because you should never discuss politics or religion with someone you've just met. Those 2 topics people tend to be very set in their ways about and typically think they're correct rather than have a good debate or discussion about. And if you avoid those topics you can judge someone on their character and personality rather than silly elected officials! Anyway, that annoyed me a tiny bit for some reason. He also said that "people from Colorado who come up here tend to litter and mess things up." At least he doesn't stereotype! Whatever, I'm rolling my eyes thinking about it. I know sometimes people can be weird or awkward when you first meet them though, so I gave him a chance, I mean, whatever, he was doing me no harm. He said he was going into town and offered me a ride which is super nice. I declined as I had plenty of food and I'm really trying to be budget thrifty on this trip. If it were raining or thundering it'd be a different story, but I continued on my way. Sorry, long story that's not really that interesting, Next I came upon a styrofoam cooler labeled: CDT Hiker Trail Magic. Opened it up annnnnd: garbage! Haha. Made me giggle a bit. Reminded me of my first Thru hike on the Appalachian Trail. I went South which is the direction less than 10% of hikers go. Let me tell you, there were all sorts of items filled with garbage! Coolers, barrels, bags, you name it. Sure once in a rare while there was a soda or snack but it was almost always trail magic that no one ever cleaned up after it was gone. I still signed the register and said it was an extremely nice thought, which it really is! I never feel like I deserve a soda or anything, but it's amazing if there ever is one. Lunch was tasty today: avocado, cheese, and pepperoni on a cinnamon raisin bagel! Mmmmm Then there were thunderstorms. And the trail was exposed as ever, as usual. It's funny though, if the trail didn't stay close to the Continental Divide people would complain, if it stays on it they complain it's too exposed. Ahh well. The storm was right overhead for quite a while so I went to as low elevation as possible, separated from my pack and metal objects and waited things out. Got in a couple more miles when the storm cleared and now I'm camped a bit precariously on a hillside with dead trees. Dead trees are EVERYWHERE though, so kind of unavoidable.

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