Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CT Day 19: Mending My Ankle

After yesterday's ascent of Mt. Massive, we had, against my better judgment, hiked four more miles South along the trail so that we might be positioned to climb Mt. Elbert today.

That is precisely what David did. I however, had done something to my left ankle and thought it prudent to stay off it for the morning. So I watched from the tent while David left to go do Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. While I was annoyed with my ankle, I wasn't too disappointed about missing the climb, as I'd done Mt. Elbert years ago before leaving to Japan.

So I futzed around in the tent, reading a book David brought along: Thomas Merton's Thoughts in Solitude. I didn't finish it, nor did I think particularly much of it. Some of his essays were convicting, but others just didn't impress me all that much. So between that, cleaning dishes, napping, and answering nature's call, I managed to stave off boredom until David returned from Mt. Elbert.

David finally returns sometime afternoon and reports success! Despite his fatigue, I convince him to move our down the trail with me a little bit further, so that I could have a chance to do a little something that day. So we find a better spot near a brook a couple of miles further South. Who should come along? But April and Thatch, who report that the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race would be happening tomorrow near Twin Lakes! They were going on further to catch the race earlier the next morning and reported some more gossip on people we knew from the trail.

Shortly thereafter, a tall, skinny,old bean-pole of a man showed up wearing the titanic, conspicuously red, Gregory Denali Pro Backpack. He asked if he could join us, as there were no other decent campsites around and we didn't mind the company. It turns out his name was Dave, he was 72 years old, and he was hiking the Continental Divide Trail for the second time. This guy was now the biggest stud we'd met so far. This particular section of the Colorado Trail coincided with the CDT, so we'd been meeting CDT hikers from time to time, but none so old, and none with such massive expedition size packs on them! His pack probably had the volume to carry our combined gear. He also carried a 35 year old Svee stove that ran on gasoline. The Scandinavian design worked and sounded like a jet engine.

Anyways, he proved to be very pleasant company, showing off his old school gear and describing the CDT in wonderful detail. He had reportedly done the CDT the previous year and found it too stressful and difficult to really enjoy. So he wanted to return and do it again, this time more relaxed and experienced so that he could enjoy it more and focus less on route finding and other obstacles.
Later that evening, a third thru-hiker joined us: Patch. He showed up at 8 PM as the light began to disappear. The hyperactive Patch is evidently a triple-crowner, who decided to do the CT to get away from his divorce and to lose a significant amount of weight. This guy was certainly wired! He'd done over 20 miles that day and was still talking and yammering with Dave well into the evening. Well, Patch was talking mostly, Dave mostly politely listened. He gave some good advice for my ankle though: ibuprofen every day. "Vitamin I," he called it. It would keep down the swelling, he said, while allowing the body to heal itself. Not one to lightly dismiss advice from the experts, I started taking it that evening.

Later on the trail, we would see Patch's name at the trail head registers along the way. He was making fabulous time, frequently 25 or more miles a day.

CT DAY 20: Lance Armstrong At Twin Lakes

The Colorado Trail Story

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