Yikes, I really, really need to get going. Seriously, I’ve been in the park pretty much a whole week. Lol! It’s ok though. I am so incredibly grateful that the timing worked out this way, because I got to see the entire Yellowstone National Park, which is absolutely incredible. I’m here this long specifically so I can meet up with the hikers, if Kyle wasn’t coming through I would have just rode through the southwest quadrant of the park, and missed most if the amazing sights, landscapes, biomes, wildlife, and features of Yellowstone that make it so uniquely beautiful, which would have been a shame.
We all went into Old Faithful Village because the hikers wanted to eat at the breakfast buffet there (all you can eat buffets are incredibly popular with thru-hikers, cyclists too, lol). Here’s a picture of Stride, Southern, Kyle (trail name Not So Bad or NSB), and me in front of Old Faithful Geyser. Its funny, I always look so short next to Kyle. But at 6’3 he’s an entire foot taller than me. Stride and Southern are pretty tall too. 🙂
The breakfast buffet was pretty awesome. Then again, to us any buffet is amazing. Lol! I made sure not to drink too much coffee this time. Haha. Must…exert…self…control! 😀
Best of all, Squizzle is on trail with Kyle! For those of you who followed my PCT blog, I’m sure you remember Squizzle. He’s a stuffed squirrel that randomly came into our lives mid-trail, and I made him a Mohawk and kilt, and he’s taken on a life of his own since. Lol! He’s also a staple part of Kyle’s hiking gear. Here’s a pic of Squizzle and Kyle at the buffet. Squizzle likes coffee, but not as much as he likes whiskey. 😀
We all departed around 4pm. Them heading north, and I heading south. Damn it was so awesome to be around thru-hikers again. Not gonna lie, I momentarily entertained the thought of swapping my bike for my pack and going back north with them. Lol! I really really miss being around thru-hikers. They are just an amazing and awesome breed of humanity that I’ve never found elsewhere.
For those who think what I’m doing is awesome and amazing, I think the CDT (Continential Divide National Scenic Trail) hikers are the true heroes. These guys and gals are *on foot* on a 3,000 mile grueling and soul crushing journey through some of the most unforgiving terrain, conditions, and weather you can imagine. I get to ride dirt, gravel, and sometimes trails and roads. The hikers are lucky if they even have a trail to follow, as bushwhacking and getting lost is a common aspect of the CDT. Plus, I’m at a lower elevation than they are so the weather isn’t as gnarly for me. The CDT is definitely no joke, and it takes an incredible will, physical prowness, and mental persistence, to finish. Kyle was telling me, while he was going through Rocky Mountain National Park, it was the same time 7 people got killed there, from lightning. Yikes!! I think during the time we were all at Old Faithful, 4 hikers dropped off trail, for various reasons. A very small amount of hikers start the trail, and an even smaller amount make it to the end. I have no doubt that Kyle will finish, that boy is an absolute beast. Plus, he has Squizzle. And whiskey. Definitely a winning combination. Lol 🙂
I believe that there’s a special place in one’s soul reserved for awesome people you meet during your travels. Sometimes, whether it’s a brief moment or a little more substantial of an encounter, you develop a connection with these people and in a sense, you are forever bound with them. Not sure how to explain it, but people who travel a lot know exactly what I mean. I’ve met a whole lot of incredible individuals in my various adventures since I was 18, pretty much all I’ve lost contact with. But every now and then, I think about them and wonder what they’re up to in life. Who knows, perhaps we shall meet again, somewhere in the world. 🙂
As for Kyle, well, he will always have a pretty significant residence in my soul. I walked over 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with him, which is no small feat. Lol. As he and group of CDT hikers departed today, I couldn’t help but feel like a big part of me was walking away, heading north. But alas, our individual journeys lead us in opposing directions. I have no doubt I’ll see him again somewhere in the world. We are very similar people, him and I; we’re taking different paths in life, but ultimately going in the same direction. I’ll probably run into him in New Zealand at some point. 😀
Anyhow, here’s to wishing all the CDT hikers awesome and favorable weather!!