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Call from the Mountain 7/9/14

I received a call from Spork last evening. He was hunkered down waiting out a thunderstorm on the east face of the mountains at over 10,000 feet and was able to get cell service from Denver. While he was on the phone, the weather changed from rain, to hail, to snow, and back to sunshine in 30 minutes. He’s been hiking alone since Frisco. The rest of the group decided to take a down day at Frisco and Spork decided to hike on out the next morning to get a couple of lone hiking days in. He plans on meeting back up with everyone at Lake City where I have sent a drop box with new shoes, food, batteries, and a few other provisions.
A few minutes after the call he sent me the picture below of a herd of around 60 Elk he jumped headed back up to the trail. We talked for a while about all of the wildlife. He has been amazed at the amount of entire herds of animals he has encountered. The morning after leaving Frisco he was packing his gear up and turned to see two newborn moose 10 to 15 feet behind him. He said they could only have been a week or less old as they were still unstable on their long legs. His immediate concern was getting between the two calves and their full-grown mother. His efforts to shoo them off met with little results as they were completely unafraid of humans and looked at him as more of a curiosity than a threat. They finally stumbled down the trail and he scrambled up the trail.
He’s still dealing with a lot of snowpack making it hard at times to locate the trail or stay on path. He said he went over two 15,000 ft passes yesterday and now considers 10,000 ft to be down off the mountain. He is humbled by the CDT daily. Every time I talk to him he draws comparisons to the PCT and AT. His comparison is that there is no comparison. The trail is longer, higher, more desolate, less towns, and often unmarked. He’s gone from waterless desert to below freezing peaks with snow. He’s placed foot in places he’s sure no one ever has. He’s seen the signs of ancient man in hieroglyphs and ruins. Civilization is a mere pin prick on a map days off into the distance. This country is vast and still largely uninhabited.
On each and every trail he has always been amazed at the frequency and generosity of Trail Magic. Often on the PCT and AT Trail Angels will place coolers at road crossings. There has been none of that type of trial magic on this trail because the volume of hikers is no more than a hundred or so thru-hikers. Most of the people he has met aren’t even aware of the CDT. They don’t know that is passes through their community or near their ranch. The magic is only the good nature and generosity of people. As he has said many times, sometimes the best way to There have been numerous comments of encouragement posted by people he has met along the trail on the blog.
Spork has always been an avid reader but he’s taken a particular interest in reading old Zane Grey Westerns. I suppose it’s relevant to his current setting. He’s mentioned many times that he feels like he’s stepped back in time. I suppose the old west is his new environment. A Western Novel may be his new how-to book. He probably relates to that better right now than current events. He’s a Wild West adventurer without a horse. He’s a cowboy with a cell phone. As a side note, he asked me to send a Zane Grey Western in this last drop box. I am still amazed at just how hard it is to find a book these days. The Border’s is closed and not one store in the area or even at the mall has a book section any more. That whole quest kinda shook me.
He will be coming up on the half way mark sometime in the next week or so. He should be crossing over into Wyoming sometime in the next two. He’s right in the thick of the Rockies right now but will be coming down into the Great Basin soon. Mileage will become a factor and daily drive. He needs to hit the Canada border before the end of October. Doing so is going to require a few more months of high mileage days. From every read I get, he’s up for it as long as the weather, his finances, and the good grace of nature holds out.
I’d expect some more pictures and a Post from him later this week. He will be in Lake City and will most likely take a down day.

Chuck Iker 7/9/2014

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