Life serves the risk taker and today’s jaunt over Knapsack Col proves this once again. Since this has been a low snow year, the danger wasn’t there and I was rewarded with breathtaking views of lofty spires and peaks encircling the perch I sat on. The path down Titcomb Basin was equally beautiful, so much so that my pace was slower since I kept stopping to stare.Met a lot of people today! A family of five out for the week were all ultralight , so at first I thought they were thru hikers. Very friendly folk and I encouraged them to take the route I just had. Met a group of six who had their gear packed in by 11am, and as we parted a lady shoved a $10 bill in my hand. I tried to decline, but she said she wanted to buy me a beer and took off, leaving me dumbfounded.The best encounter by far was Jordan and Gail Dawn. We stopped to chat and instantly hit it off. They were so pleasant and interesting I wish our paths had crossed in the evening so we could have camped together. They are organic farmers so we had lots to talk about regarding peoples’ choices in food and the multinational corporation takeover (and subsequent lowering of standards) of organics. Before parting ways they insisted I take a $20 bill and I wasn’t able to change their mind. As much as I appreciate and need money out here, taking gifts is something I have a hard time accepting. There are so many worthy causes out there, so many people who need things like medicine and food. I’m traveling by choice and can always go back to work and earn money. My bank savings are shrinking, though, and that money will go to a nice big meal in town. If I never meet those great folks again and can’t repay the kindness in person, I’m sure to pass that kind of generosity along to a weary traveler I cross paths with in the future.This is one of the reasons I love long distance hiking. The people you meet in the wild places of America are some of the most genuine, compassionate, and kind-hearted human beings around. Those who venture into the backcountry share a bond and can instantly recognize the shared passion for untamed beauty the wilderness contains. The communication I shared with these people was worth ten thousand dollars, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
- Starting Location: another alternate route?
- Destination: meeting Jordan and Gail