10/13 – After pie for breakfast it was time to say good-bye. We said farewells to Phil and Beth, fab travelling Trail Angels; to Nita, the Hawaiian hostess extraordinaire; to Wrong Way, the great storyteller, Harley rider and thru-hiker; and to our fellow SoBos Heeps, Hawkeye and Kombucha. And so Yas, Mike and DnA set off down the dirt road.
In the evening we found a suitable camp in a little wooded patch down the bank of the dirt road we’d been walking. It was one of the few places we’d passed that hadn’t been fenced off with barbed wire and No Trespassing signs, so we figured it would be ok to camp there. Now that autumn is here, it begins to get dark around 6:30 or 7pm, so we were enjoying our ramen and mac-n-cheese dinners by the light of our headlamps. Suddenly a truck that had been proceeding down the road beside us ground to a halt and then slammed into reverse – headed back towards us. Uh oh! We heard the car door open and Dan called out a friendly “hello!” but there was no reply.
Two men approached us and called out, “Who gave you permission to camp on this land?” Before we could stammer out a reply he said, “This is my land. You’ve got to move.”
“We’re so sorry, sir,” Dan said. “We’ll move right now. We didn’t know it was your land.”
Great, I thought. We have to pack up all our stuff, walk in the dark, and how are we even supposed to know when we’re off his land anyway?
“What are you all doing here anyway?” he asked. So we told him about how we had started in Canada and were hiking south along the Continental Divide Trail. You could tell he was surprised and impressed. “You started in Canada?!?” And suddenly his tone changed all together. I guess he’d thought we were hunters, and after realizing we were hikers who would be leaving early the next morning, there was a 180° change.
“Oh, well, don’t worry about it. You all can camp here tonight,” the man said. “Do you need anything? Can we bring you some food or water?”
Wow! We couldn’t believe this angry landowner had become a generous benefactor.
“No, it’s ok, we’ve got plenty of food and water. But thank you so much for letting us camp here!”