Once again, it would be ideal to take off early.

Before sunrise, even.

But no. First, breakfast at a boutique.

In fact, I only have just over 50 miles to go, so it’s fine to relax a bit. I have no more deadlines to meet.

No hitches today

The road to the trail is about 3 miles long. This is the first day I’ve ever really been hot while walking. It’s been warm, but it’s very clearly somewhere above 75 today.

As the day goes on, it gets a little cooler, and I start walking through a riverbed. The canyon makes it a little chilly, but it’s a welcome change. There’s a mile stretch wherein you can’t camp; the signs say it’s to let wildlife recover from damage to the area.

I wonder what wildlife.

Fallen comrade

And then I see that someone has left much of their food behind.

Clearly some carnivores have been here.
A bit further up, I run into a section hiker making camp. He’s wearing a Santa hat. I’m jealous, because I’ve been wanting one for the trail.

He’s shorter, and he has a heavy pack. I could probably outrun him.

But he probably has the Santa hat for a reason. Maybe it keeps him happy. I don’t want to steal his happiness.

Next time, maybe.


As I walk, the cows are increasing. They seem to be clumping together in numbers I’ve not seen before.

They’re probably concerned about their fallen sister I encountered several miles ago.

Maybe they’re amassing for a counter-attack.

That might just be it.

There’s a gate I have to walk through, and they’re blocking my way at various points.

One in particular, at the front gate.

The lead cow. The gatekeeper.

As I stand there, some of her posse walks up behind her.

Hmm.

I could try to ninja past them.

I’ll just slowly walk. Closer to the lead cow.

She’s not moving.

I stop and stare at her for a moment.

She’s going to have to make a decision eventually.

And she does.

She moves slowly to the side. The rest of them follow suit. It seems I have earned a reprieve, at least for today.

There are some stray cows a mile or two up. Outcasts, probably. They don’t have the protection of the group. They don’t stare. They just run.

-

Setting up camp is really easy this evening.

It’s not all that cold, so there’s no particular rush to get bundled up. I sit for a while watching the sunset. There’s something moving nearby, but I can’t see it. Probably another outcast.

I say hello.

Mooooo.

No response.

Good night, cows.