This hike is all about Taco. I was pretty nervous about today since I’ve never hiked him above 10,000 feet and I watched him so carefully. We took nice long breaks every few miles and as we climbed into the higher elevations I made sure that he wasn’t exhibiting any signs of elevation sickness. He is doing great and I’m starting to relax into this a little. Hiking with a dog is a new ballgame. It is a blast but there is a lot of added mental stress making sure that they are staying safe, fed and rested. We are keeping the miles low but when we get into camp he heads directly for the tent and hogs my sleeping bag. He got dinner in bed tonight so he can maximize his rest time. He is so spoiled but so worth it.
We’ve met so many hikers already. I would say that I’ve met more in the two days that I’ve been on the CT than two months’ worth on the AT. We hiked a bit with Moe from Montrose, Colorado today and Noodle found us some puffball mushrooms and taught us how to open them to make sure they were edible. They were fantastic and had this wonderful earthy flavor that stayed with me for hours. Moe showed us a wildflower that you can use as antiseptic for cuts and that you can use aspen bark as sunscreen. I love learning about all these amazing backcountry tricks.
The CT itself is so different from the AT. The Trail is so smooth and fast. I would have killed for just a mile of this in Pennsylvania. The views are huge and we are seeing a ton of wildlife. Mostly deer and birds but there are two very friendly chipmunks in camp tonight. They came right up to our dinner area and started poking around in our food bags. I am hoping that they haven’t figured out how to chew through a bear hang bag but I won’t be surprised if they can. They look like the smartest chipmunks I’ve ever met.
These light miles and slow pace is wonderful. I’m not sore at all and it is great to spend a few hours chatting in camp and lazily making dinner and organizing gear. We climb into our tents around 6:30 and read for a few hours. It’s heaven compared to the pace we were heading to Maine on. We are camping tonight in a beautiful valley next to a nice flowing stream. It is a cool 60 degrees and the sun is setting behind our tents. The chipmunks are singing their little cooing song or maybe it is their war cry. I don’t know what they have planned tonight but I expect it involves trying to get inside our tents.