Howdy folks, I hope everybody has enjoyed their summers. I hope to finish this trail September 20th right on the cusp of the autumnal equinox at Copper Mountain. This trail has been one of extreme contrasts. The pendulum has swung from dry to wet, warm to freezing, easy to hard, etc. The rains started right after hanging out with my buddies Jason, Mike and Hugh. They brought great food, music, beer, and guns! Or as I say a typical night in Wyoming. They drove us to the Tractor Pull in Encampment as well. The tractor pull event has to rank right up with watching grass grow and paint drying in terms of excitement. But there was some good food and nice weather. It would be the last decent weather we would experience on the trip. The past 2 weeks since crossing the CO/WY border it has hailed and rained on us everyday! It rained at night, mornings, afternoons. It rained when we set up our tarps, and took them down. It rained at dinner time, breakfast, and lunch. The most unfortunate part has been the disrepair of my tarp. My luck with plastic zippers is catastrophically bad. I tried adhering velcro strips in place of my malfunctioning zipper in Lander thinking that it’s not going to rain for the remainder of the trip. I mean September is one of the most pleasant times of the year in Colorado with respect to mild weather, right? Wrong! Anyways this “biblical” amount of precipitation has forced us to take several zero days in our tarps and in towns. My compromised tarp has forced me to enter and exit it by scooting on my belly like a snake. It has also forced me to get creative in relieving my excrement at night. Lets just say yoga practitioners have nothing on me. On one of the really heavy rain nights I made a critical error in setting up my tarp on a slope that turned into a mudslide. I had to build a system of levees and irrigation ditches using a sharp rock. By the middle of the night I had a primary and secondary system of canals flowing seamlessly into a main ditch from just under my tarp. If we had spent another few days there I could have moved on to construction of a dam and possibly be generating some hydroelectric power in a week or so. One thing the time spent in my tarp has allowed me to do is write another chapter in my book and read a bunch of others on my Kindle.
The hiking has been difficult with the many mountain passes, rain and wind. Unfortunately most of the scenery has been obscured with all the rolling fog and dense, dark storm clouds. Colorado was supposed to be beautiful but the only thing we have seen is a bunch of condensed water vapor. It has been very AT-like but without the shelters to dry out in. I did see my first fox on this trail which was cool. The cold weather has grounded most of the birds and so I got to see a magpie being harassed by two much smaller birds chasing and attacking it. I cannot lie this trail has been an order of magnitude more difficult than the other two and for the first time in 3 trails I am looking forward to getting off instead of sad to be done. If everything goes right my next entry will be my last from the Divide. Cheers!