We wake up at the same time we always do and crawl out of our tents to find pooping spots. We are right next to a road and in an open field. I walk at least a quarter miles to trees and do my thang. When I walk back Rapunzle says, “Oh there you are! Perfect timing!” Grover’s wife just dropped him off at the trail and she’s willing to take us to Gunnison! Kyle was going to take some of us but 5 hikers and 5 backpacks won’t fit into his Mini Cooper so we had planned to hitch. How perfect it all works out sometimes.
The 40 mile drive is beautiful. Open expanses of grassland with distant mountains gives way to a red rocked canyon system that we drive through. I see a whole group of about 15 big horned sheep on the cliffs at one point! Grover’s wife drops Rapunzle, M&M and I at the Wanderlust Hostel. Leah, Sara and Kyle are still in their way here. It’s only 8 am when we get to the hostel. We meet some other hikers inside and hang out until our friend show up. Then we borrow some bicycles and go to a breakfast place in town. It’s cheap and delicious. When we get back we meet Amy, the owner and take turns taking showers. We all throw in some loaner clothes while we wash our hiking stuff. The clothes are amazing. I grab a flowery shirt and some super hippy pants. M&M wears a shirt covered in fake bloodstains. Sara, Leah and Rapunzle wear hippy dresses.
Next stop is the Safeway where we buy all the food we’ve been fantasizing about the past week. People stare at M&M’s bloody shirt and my creepy resemblance of to Charles Manson. I get a bunch of fried chicken, cheesecake, orange juice and Leah and I get two Ben and Jerry’s pints to share. EmpowerMint and half baked. Ohhh yes. We walk home and all of us eat until we’re sick. Then we put on Forrest Gump. After that we watch Bridesmaids. We meet a guy named Strider and a couple other hikers and talk about past thru hikes. Hostels are such a fun part of a thru hike.
Around dinner time we went to Anejos Mexican restaurant and got some huge cheap margaritas. Leah and me were still to full to eat any food but happy to have some drinks. M&M, Strider and Rapunzle feast again. Sara isn’t feeling too well after eating so much so she stays back at the hostel. By the time we finish one margarita we head back to the hostel but hit up Safeway on the way back. Turns out grocery stores only sells 3.2 beer unfortunately so we had to make a second trip to the liquor store and get a 6 pack of shock top.
Back at the hostel we all laugh and talk until 10 pm when a lady comes out and says it’s quiet hours. We tipsily eat some cheesecake before bed. I am pleased. But tomorrow the girls and M&M will keep on hiking without me 😭 I only have off until the 21st and need to rent a car and drive back to Denver to catch my flight. We’re a trail family! I don’t want to leave.