It's about a 18 mile walk from Kremmling to Hot Sulphur Springs. Although it's not a super challenging walk, it was super windy and chilly along the way. But I can't complain; anything other than the scorching sun seems to be a blissful contrast to the heat stroke LeeRoy and I have been encountering lately.
As I had mentioned earlier, I have been listening to a lot to books on my I pod. My current audio book that I have been going through is called: Atlas Shrugs. The theme of the book tells the story about a man with the will and courage to fight against the grain of moral corruption. Reading this book makes me realize how true it is that you can be challenged and convicted in your own life, simply by looking through the eyes of someone else's. I had never heard of the book prior, but sometimes to pass the time, I will listen to just about anything. ha ha. I walk for miles each day, tune my brain on auto pilot and drift off into a whole different dimension. Today consisted of exactly that. It helped me get through most of the miles. At about mile fourteen, I needed a break from the book.... I was at the edge of a canyon that led into Hot Sulphur Springs. It was about 5:30 in the evening, and I really wanted to make it into town by 7.
The last four miles through this canyon were so perfect. It was maybe one of my favorite sights; it's beauty simply breathtaking. Walking next to the river provided a stream of coolness which provided just enough relief to really enjoy the scene. It was like viewing famous artwork brought to life. LeeRoy and I got our second wind and I cranked up the music; singing at the top of my lungs. It felt glorious to be up there and indulge in this exceptional view, with a little bit of music of course, to really set the mood. Nothing better.
Speaking of indulgences, I'm obsessed with gas stations and food! At times it feels like those are the only two things I can even think about. They are the finish line for the day, and I obsess. You would not believe how food is such a comfort.
Leeroy and I walked into Hot Sulphur Springs just around 7 PM. And in perfect timing: there behold was a burger joint, but it had closed five minutes prior to my arrival. But the workers were gracious and made me a burger anyways. I grabbed a quick burger and sat outside to eat. Now I have to tell you about the mosquitoes out there. They are killer! They don't even care about any bug spray at all. I have a few different kinds of bug spray and none of them seem to work. I swear to you, I would spray myself down with Off bug spray, and I could hear the faint sound of 100 mosquitoes laughing at me.
While I ate, the owner of the restaurant and I chatted it up. She also owned the hotel at the end of town and offered to let LeeRoy and I stay there for free. We were stoked. We headed over there. We checked in and I tied up LeeRoy right out front of my room. I noticed that there were a few guys a couple of rooms down. I found out that they had been living at the hotel for a few months working on a construction project. It was also quite apparent that they were completely intoxicated and high. (Side note: in my entire life, I have never had to turn down so many drugs so many times, as I have while on this trip. It has honestly been shocking.) Anyways, two out of the three guys came over to me while the third one stumbled around in the back ground. I assume that you can imagine what it's like having one of those typical conversations with drunk people. This particular conversation was no different than any other. In the midst of the slurring and rambling, I was asked the most common question that I often get, "do you smoke?" (and they aren't talking about cigarettes...ha ha) As I was giving my answer, I look over just in time to see LeeRoy up on his back hoofs headed to the side, charging the "third" drunk guy and dropping him like a sack of potatoes. I yell, "hey!" and run over to try and resolve the situation. The guy is laying on his back and LeeRoy starts rolling and pushing him with his horns. After I get there, I immediately get in between LeeRoy and the guy. I help the guy up and check to see if he's okay. He's mad but so drunk that he can't really articulate it. He's just cussing and yelling at me in cryptic drunk language. He was talking about killing my goat and suing me for every penny that I have. I laugh at him (I have to admit) and reach into my pocket and hold out 13 cents... ha ha. I apologize and asked him to stay back from LeeRoy. He yells a few things as he walks away with his friends, but the only word I understood was the "F" word. The tension seemed to have subsided. I headed into my hotel room to take a breather from the chaos. But low and behold, the drama was still not finished yet. It wasn't even more than five minutes later that I see the same guy out there messing with LeeRoy! At this point, I have had it. I felt like I was a bear and I'm seeing my cub getting messed with. I ran out and told him."Hey man, stay away from my goat." He says, "its fine, I used to have goats." (In my head I was thinking, that's what they all say.) At a height of agitation, I tell him, "I don't care. I'm asking you to please leave my goat alone." "He wasindecipherable while saying something about being an adult and he can handle it. I tell his friends, "hey, keep an eye on your friend, I don't want him to get hurt." They take him inside their room. Then about thirty minutes later I see him out there again pulling on LeeRoy's horns! Now I'm pissed. I walk up behind the guy to catch him off guard and freak him out. I get really close and yell as loud as I can, " HEY! I TOLD YOU TO STAY THE F*** AWAY FROM MY GOAT!" I used the "F" word. I did. And I have to say that it always sounds so stupid when I hear myself say it. I just don't typically use it and I felt really dumb right after. It just doesn't fit me. I'm not an angry type guy and not very good at "tough talk."
In this moment I had two options: stand up to a bully and refuse to back down; or resort to the nice guy approach, which seemed to be ineffective at this point...I proceeded to step into this guy's personal bubble and get in his face. (Again, not what I normally do.) Thinking back, I probably could have handled it differently. But at the time, I felt super defensive and protective of LeeRoy.
The guy pushes into me and we start yelling; he's cussing at me and it's heading nowhere good, fast. As the situation was climaxing, his friends run out and grab us. Thank God, because I had no intention of actually hitting this guy or having a real fight. The whole time we were yelling at each other I was thinking, "oh crap, if this guy hits me, he will probably knock me out. ( he was way bigger than me). So, should I swing first? Unless I catch his chin just right and really stun him, I'm only going to make him come at me with a vengeance." I was in over my head. His friends took him back to his hotel room and closed the door. I was beyond relieved. I knew that I have better conflict resolution skills than that.