START: Monarch Pass/Salida
FINISH: Spring Creek Pass/Lake City
DISTANCE: 96 miles (154.5 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 32 miles (51.5 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1789.2 miles (2878.8 km)
Freebird: A funny thing happened on September 22; for the first time since I began the CDT some 1800 miles ago, I hiked with someone else. That person was none other than Freebird. Hailing from Maui, Hawaii, Freebird is a former pro windsurfer who has been hiking long distance trails since 1996. The man hikes in sandals; even in the snow!
As laid back a character as you are ever likely to meet, we hiked and chatted together for the best part of five hours; conversation topics included the JFK assassination, 9/11, mutual hiking friends, Noam Chomsky and the weather patterns of New England in the Fall. It was great meeting you, Freebird, and I look forward to catching up in Hawaii one of these days to hike the Na Pali Coast.
Memories of Scotland: Stretches of the final section before Spring Creek Pass reminded me quite a lot of hiking in the Scottish Highlands. The bare hills, slate and shale laden slopes, grey skies and, of course, the steady supply of bone-chilling precipitation. Aaahhh, if only there had been a centuries old inn at days end; drawing in the weary rambler with the promise of hot soup, a bowl of hearty beef stew and a shot or two of the finest whiskey. As a wise Scotsman once told me, “son, it never rains in the pub.”