We woke up to the cutest sight this morning as Takoda and Shyla were napping in the sun in their portable corrals. They were so drowsy that their eyes kept closing, and Shyla even leaned her head against Takoda and tried to use him as a pillow!
We probably let them sleep a little too long, as Shyla and I had our longest day on the trail yet ahead of us, at 36 miles. The next meeting point was a trailhead alongside the 114 highway south of Gunnison. It wasn’t a very attractive spot, as it was just a wide gravel turnout on the roadway, but at least it was an easy access for my mother instead of another challenging dirt road. And we ended up sharing the spot with a couple of other CDT thru-hikers who I had met twice earlier on the trail, once right at the beginning, just a little south of Lordsburg, NM. They are a couple of buddies who met in the military, one of whom just ended his service, and this hike on the CDT was a reunion and a celebration that they decided on at the spur of the moment. When they got to the trailhead, they were hoping to hitch into Gunnison, as the recent rain (the same storm I had experienced in Winfield) had made them hunker down in their tents for two days and they were running out of food. They had heard there was both a McDonald’s and a Taco Bell in Gunnison, and they were hungry! But they weren’t having any luck hitching, as all the traffic was headed in the other direction, and eventually there just wasn’t much traffic at all either way. But my mom had food on hand and made them both hamburgers and tacos, along with corn on the cob and watermelon, much to their delight (and with “real vegetables!” as one of them exclaimed, a true treat after weeks of dehydrated food). I didn’t arrive until very late, but there were leftover tacos for me to enjoy too, and the next morning I got to chat with the guys and catch up on our adventures, before they finally caught a ride into town. I also saw a lot of other hikers on the trail, including some from my 2016 PCT ride that I hadn’t seen earlier and who I was happy to see again and to know that we were doing this trail together.