We actually ran into someone from normal home life while walking the CDT last week. I’m not referring to our AT friend Zippers that totally hooked us up while we were in Yellowstone but someone we used to run with back in the Vancouver days. Amazingly, our friend Alex Asai (Stagg) has taken to thru hiking as well as running having done the PCT in 2011 and we had the good fortune of camping with him for a night last week on the CDT.
To clarify, we didn’t simply run into him on the trail, we actually planned out our meeting spot. We knew he was out here and heading southbound from Canada to Mexico. We would have loved to hike with him but he’s trying to get into nursing school and didn’t finish classes until mid-June. So while we were in Yellowstone and he was in Lima, MT, we called and picked a spot in between. He got there first and picked a good campsite and when we arrived we had a few hours to share trail stories and do some reminiscing on the old days in Vancouver where we all trained together (he is a 2:40 marathoner as a result).
We also provided some much needed company for each other and some hugs – they are sometimes in small quantities in such a vast, often lonely trip. Alex has hiked with some people while on the trail this year but has also spent a good deal of time alone on his 6 weeks out in the wilderness. It’s hard to describe how alone and insignificant one can feel in such huge, wide open, lonely spaces and it was good for all of us to connect out here.
We also talked about plans to potentially meet up again in CO when we go back to finish the section closed by fires. They’re open again and we plan to hike south from where we got off the trail in order to finish in Chama, NM where we made a number of friends. Our miles remaining nearly match Alex’s perfectly so if we go the same pace, we may get to walk our final 300 miles with him. However it goes down though, we are so fortunate out here and spending an evening on trail with a good friend is just another example of how good it seems we’ve got it right now. Thanks Alex, and thanks again to everyone helping support us out here.