John's CDT
Friday, September 17, 2004
 
Not Being Silent
09/17/04

Slept OK along side the road. I used my earplugs. As I was leaving camp, I
noticed something I didn't see last night: A road kill badger. Or at least I
thought it was a badger. I flipped its partially furry carcass over. As I did,
I realized that could have be a big mistake. I'll save you the details, but it
wasn't too gross. What it did reveal is a front foot with all its claws. Big
claws. Very cool.

Less than half an hours' walking brought me to the next CDT junction, which took
me off the highway and offered better sleeping spots. Oh well.
This dirt road, the continuation of the CDT through private and public land, was
an elk hunter thoroughfare. Camps were set up along both sides of the road on
the public land.

At some point along the road, I stopped to get some cow water. I saw an SUV
pulling a trailer going 40 MPH on a 15 MPH road. When I'm walking, I just change
sides of the road to avoid eating the dust, but as I was finishing up my water
tasks, I didn't have that option. Some drivers slow down when they see someone
on foot. Not this guy. So I clearly and deliberately flipped him off. Two beats
later the vehicles were stopped. One beat later, he was out of the car.

"What the hell was that for?" he said in a defensive posture.

"You let me eat your dust."

"Well fuck you," flipping me off, "That's what roads are for."

"This road is also a trail, a national scenic trail."

We exchanged another round, and he got in his SUV and drove off. I'm normally not this agressive, but by not doing anything, people like him will continue to be rude. I hope he thinks about it the next time he's near pedestrians anywhere. It's wierd to be rude to the rude, but it felt like the only tool I had.

Going over it in my head later in the day, I decided that a more-aggressive
position in the road might force drivers to slow down. I'll be trying that from
here on out. It was nice to fearless with this guy though.

I ran into Apple Pie and Spur while they were having lunch. I'd just had lunch
less than a quarter of a mile earlier. The trail finally led me back up to the Divide. I wound my way, not questioning the path of the Divide. During a navigation break, I saw an SUV coming up the hill toward me. As it worked its way over the rocky ascent, I could see that it was pulling a flatbed trailer, a flatbed trailer full of stuff. My first thought was that these people were taking the scenic route to move their household, as absurd as that sounds.

This was a hunting camp in transit. The trailer had more stuff than I own. It
was a massive amount of stuff. They stopped right in front of me to check the
tiedowns on the load. They tried to be friendly, but I was so dumbfounded, I
couldn't respond. I couldn't think of anything nice to say, as much as my brain
was running.

Today's hiking feels like a transition area between places we want to be.
I'm pretty sure I found an elk tooth today. It was cool. I can hear coyotes howling near where I'm sleeping.
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