Chalk creek to Cree creek 19.5 miles
Woke up in the middle of the night to pee and saw one of the clearest starry nights I can recall. No moon and you could see all around you from pure starlight. The Milky Way was spread all across the sky and I saw a shooting star within a few second of looking up.
We got up and hit the trail a little earlier today around 7. The hike started with a fairly large hill and we met several other hikers on the way up. At the top an impromptu hiker huddle formed. Leah, Sara, Rapunzle, Grover, Tyler, Miss Popular, her brother and I all stood around taking in the view and chatting for about 20 minutes or so as we got to know our new friends. Miss Popular is bagging some 14ers today as well as thru hiking. Grover is an older man who got his trail name from Rapunzle weeks earlier when she found him sleeping in an aspen grove. Tyler, who we’re now calling M&M for his Michigan hat and his spare Michigan hat in case he loses the other one. Soon we all travel down the trail together, talking and laughing about trail stories.
We take a lunch break and we all casually inspect each other’s food as we eat. I get crap because I just have all my food in a trash bag and pick out whatever sounds good at that moment. Others have each meal separated into bags for certain days. I trade Tyler a cheese stick for tortilla. I’m making a red bell pepper, cheese and mayo tortilla. It is delicious.
We keep leapfrogging with Grover and Tyler tells him how he is going to do the Israeli National Trail when he moves to Israel for graduate school. Grover did the trail years ago and is excited to share information about the trail. He says you can buy a map from a man who has buried bottles of water in the desert for those who pay for his map. Otherwise you have to cache lots of water yourself which is time consuming. The trail sounds amazing.
The rest of the day consists of medium sized ups and downs. Leah is not feeling well and is sad to see her uncomfortable. She’s been so cheerful and happy since I met her. Our trail family is still growing and now Tyler is hiking with us as well. We all set up camp near Cree Creek and I take an ice cold bath in a nearby stream to try and wash off all the dust and pine sap on me. We make a fire and eat dinner. Tyler tells us stories about his life and what he wants to do after the trail. He passes a bottle of whisky around and we listen to Taylor Swift on Leah’s phone. It’s another great day to be on the trail.