Total Miles: 189.8
There’s no denying it. This is an addiction of sorts. Less destructive than drugs or alcohol, perhaps, but no less of an obsession. I’ve met a lot of people over the years who think this long distance hiking stuff is downright crazy, madness. Sometimes I think they might be on to something, mostly when I notice what I or one of my hiker friends may have unknowingly ignored in the course of a day—something that would not have escaped a non-addicted person’s attention. Blisters. Bleeding cuts, sores. Pain. Oftentimes, it’s only when someone else has pointed it out that you even notice it yourself. It’s the kind of addiction that blocks out all of that as noise, superfluous to the goal and thus, ignorable. Acceptance of such things is just the price of passion I guess.
What we all seemed to be willfully ignoring this morning on our descent to the next resupply stop in Leadore, Idaho was how brazenly intense the sun had become. Quite a turn from the first section, I think it has caught all of us by surprise. Rather than cold, wet, blustery days on the edges of hypothermia, its been hot and fully exposed under a cloudless sky, the altitude magnifying the effects of the sun on our not-as-yet-leathered skin. Marching our way down to Bannock Pass where a road would lead us down to the valley where Leadore sits at the foot of the divide, I only then started to notice the small blister-like bumps of heat rash forming on the backs of both my hands and my knees. It wasn’t until we were enjoying lunch at the local restaurant—empty, but for us—that I noticed that both Ace and Sweet Pea had unknowingly developed the same rash. Nothing harmful—just comical what you come to ignore as being all part of the journey.
Sam from the Leadore Inn was kind enough to drive all the way up from town to pick us up from the pass, saving us the trouble of hitchhiking down on a road that sees fairly limited traffic. A jovial, kind guy, he pointed out that he’d had only one other hiker this season before the four of us, right before also noting that we were all crazy for doing this hike. Having hosted hikers for years, he copped to thinking that when he first heard of CDT hikers, he thought maybe they were all just fugitives from the law. Why else would they walk up and down every day for 3,000 miles? Hard to argue with the reasoning.
The comedy for the day was the realization that I had run out of contact lenses this morning. With only a single lens remaining after all of my spares had either torn or fallen to the ground when putting them in, it was a brief internal debate as to whether wearing it in one eye would be helpful or just migraine-inducing. I opted to go without, and proceeded to bug Ace, Beardoh, and Sweet Pea all morning with questions like: “What is that bright white thing out there?” Hiking without the benefit of detail kinda sucks.