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Day 86: 10/18/17 Mesa Verde National Park! 5 Down, 42 to go!

Miles: 9 Steps: 19,777 Vertical gain: 900 ft. Liquid consumed: 95 oz. Wildlife: Bobcat!!! (Pretty close in campground, watched for a few minutes), fetal horse, dogs Faith in Humanity: Thanks so much to David Nighteagle, Gypsy, and Marty for making today so absolutely amazing. Thank you so much, seriously! What a day! It started early at 5:30am with a scramble to pack up and be out the door by 6. I was a few minutes late and foolishly forgot to put my headlamp on so I’m literally jogging down the road with my phone in hand to light the way. In pitch black. Dogs barked at me, but eventually, I made my goal: a parking lot; specifically s corner of the parking lot where the big busses were parked. I waited, really hoping I didn't terrify the woman I was supposed to meet: Gypsy. I was a random guy with a big pack standing in the dark corner of a parking lot. Made me giggle a bit! She was super cool though and immediately agreed to take me along the whole way. The tour guide, Marty was also really cool about everything! And David was so great for coming up with this idea! Yay, love it so much when it all works out (PS it really always does work out so I always love it so much!) Tasty OJ in huge quantities while waiting for the tour to start. Mmmmm! Tour itself was great: 4.5 hours long, we looked at things from the bus, got off the bus to examine cliff dwellings and ruins, had a 1 hour full tour of Balcony house led by a park ranger, and life was good! Certainly learned a lot about the folks who lived here 800 years ago. My special guides were even nice enough to give me a ride right to the campground at the end of the day. So cool to get the special treatment! $31 for a campsite though... oh well, I want to experience a night in the park and it’s certainly cheaper than a hotel. They did have something like 300 campsites, WiFi, and free showers, but $31... whatever. I saw a bobcat running right through the campground. Then it stopped and we stared at each other for a few seconds. Really cool to see a bobcat! Also National Park deer were present: fearless, 2 does and 2 fawns were within 15 feet grazing in the campground. Pretty cool. I hiked to the high point of the park and that was pretty cool too. Ahh, what a day!

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