CDT – Days 20 to 22 – The Peruvian Shepherd

DATE:  August 22 – 2420120824-144524.jpg

START:  Just below the Divide, approximately sixteen miles before Bannock Pass.

FINISH:  Lima

DISTANCE:  113 miles (182.1 km)

DAILY AVERAGE:  37.7 miles (60.7 km)

TOTAL DISTANCE:  739 miles (1189.1 km)

Mr Clean & Terrapin: Early morning on the 24th, I had the good fortune to run into Mr Clean and Terrapin. Hailing from Idaho, they are both hiking south on the CDT from Waterton to Colorado. The three of us ended up chatting for an hour or so about all things ‘thru hiking’ over some freshly brewed coffee and dried pineapple……….breakfast of champions!

The Peruvian Shepherd : Just as I was making the descent to Morrison Lake, I was approached by a man on horseback, who greeted me with an enthusiastic, “Hola Amigo.” I returned in kind, and upon realizing that I spoke Spanish, the Latino cowboy immediately dismounted his horse, broke out his flask of coffee and invited me to join him under the nearest tree for a meal and some conversation. It turned out my new found friend was named Cristian and he was from Peru. He was here in the States on a 12 month work visa and was working for a nearby ranch herding a flock of some 2,500 sheep. He spent 95% of his time alone in the hills with his sheep, and not being able to speak English, conversation opportunities were few and far between. For two hours we chatted about family (he has a couple of two month old twins whom he is yet to meet), life in Montana and most of all about his homeland of Peru. He couldn’t believe that I had actually visited his village, Chiquian, during the few months I had spent in Peru some sixteen years ago. When it was eventually time to head on my way we exchanged addresses, and I offered to take his photo and email it on to his family; he doesn’t have electricity, let alone Internet access at his camp. His face immediately lit up as he said thank you. Then he gave me a big hug. Seeing that beaming smile and hearing those heartfelt words was one of the highlights of the entire trip.

The Great Escape: Before and after Bannock Pass, there are numerous lengthy stretches of fence line which reminded me of the wooden barrier Steve McQueen famously jumped his motorbike over in the final scenes of The Great Escape (see final photo below).

Five Favourite War Movies:

– The Great Escape
– Bridge on the River Kwai
– Gallipoli
– La Vita es Bella (Life is Beautiful)
– Platoon

Five Favourite War related Books (fiction and non-fiction):

– Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
– Schindler’s Ark (Thomas Keneally)
– The Art of War (Sun Tzu)
– Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
– 1776 (David McCullough)

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