All day I think about thunderstorms. I feel like I’m constantly looking at the sky and gauging the likely hood of getting hit by a bolt, which seems to be something I can never gauge. The weather patterns change so frequently and quickly I literally can’t risk being near a pass after eleven am. I knew there was a storm coming in today, but supposedly it wasn’t coming in until 3, which is when I was due to the road that would lead me into town for the night.
The day started off very normally as I woke up next to the Platte River and began a slow climb through a burn zone. I woke up early enough to watch the sun rise and witnessed the morning glow on the rolling landscape. I felt strong and healthy, so I walked for a long long time before deciding I should probably take a break.
Most of the day was spent under a canopy of pine trees sprinkles with the occasional patch of Aspen. The clouds began turning grey around one and I knew I needed to quicken my pace. Around 2:30 I was about two miles from the road when I started hearing thunder. I was only 8,500’ up and not gaining much beyond that, but I still felt the need to hurry up.
The hail started within my last half mile so I took off in a sprint. As hail came down I flagged the first car that passed me and they took me into town where there were french fries and burgers. I made it to my hostel and cleaned up and then went to dinner with a few other hikers. We came back later to hang out around the fire before going to my bed, which essentially is a wooden box with a foam pad on it. Tomorrow is another big day, but being able to finish early helps me get a lot of rest.