CDT day 82: the kowabunga bandits

July 25
Mileage: 32
1484.5 miles hiked

I have the most magical dreams and when I wake up on my neo-air in the frozen morning air with the dew on my sleeping bag I feel happy for no reason. It’s amazing to be alive, you know?

Long slow climb this morning, out of the forest back up into the flowery alpine meadows with their granite peaks. Way up to ten thousand feet! We’re in the Teton Wilderness now. My legs are tired after that climb and I zone out all the way to camp, which is in a river valley between green mountain slopes. I saw a black bear today! Nosing about in a burn amongst the fireweed without a care in the world. It didn’t see me. In camp Track Meat, Spark and I sit in the wide, muddy trail, made convoluted by invisible horses, and make up the story for our bandit gang as we eat our dinners in the gloaming. We’re called the kowabunga bandits, and the setting is medieval Europe, roughly. We’re vigalantes who take out feudal lords and redistribute wealth, after keeping some of it for ourselves. We hike mostly at night and disguise our camps well. Track Meat’s character is called The Red Sweater- he was high up in the king’s guard but deserted after becoming disillusioned after a string of particularly unethical raids on villagers. The Red Sweater has access to much resources and connections and provides us with our hideout deep in the mountains. He’s handy with the hand axes in a fight. His weakness is his bum knee, and he has a characteristic limp because of it.

Spark is Creator the Blight- a super-ninja of sorts who can descend into a room and snap the necks of every person in it without making a single sound. He’s deadly with a tomahawk, guillotine wire and a long knife. Creator’s ethics, however, are questionable, as he seems to be in the gang mostly for the killing and the money, and we don’t quite trust him. When he speaks he has a super whiny, annoying voice, and he only talks about himself in the third person, prompting The Red Sweater to regularly declare- “Shut the fuck up!” His weakness is that he’s illiterate.

I’m Ol’ Blindy, the intel/logistics/infiltration specialist of the group. I’m also the most passionate about our do-gooder mission, which can sometimes cripple us. I do the legwork to figure out how to sneak into these large estates, bribe guards for uniforms and information, slink around in the dark collecting intel and formulating a plan. My weakness is that my vision is terrible and I hate combat, so I’m totally useless in a fight. I pretty much just run away.

Tonight our gang of vigilantes sets their alarm for 4:30 a.m.- we’ve got 30 miles to the pass in the morning and we need to make it there with enough time for what is a notoriously difficult hitch into Dubois.

Photos on instagram