How rude of me, I forgot to introduce Rob! Back in Glenwood Springs, we stayed in the Glenwood Springs Hostel. They gave us a good deal – and we didn’t want to spend $30 on a tent camping site – so we stayed. It was my first hostel experience, and unfortunately I was too beat to really socialize and soak up the weird vibe. Before I retired for the night, I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow traveler named Rob. He was very interested in our trip, and asked if he could join us on our way to Moab – his next destination. After a team meeting we decided that he was welcome to join us for as long as it was pleasant for all involved.
Originally from Germany, Rob has spent the better part of the past decade stateside. He is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, living efficiently and comfortably out of his 40-lb. backpack. He has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (something Kait and I are very interested in doing someday) and spent a lot of time on the Appalachian Trail as well. Back when his accent was thicker, his hiking buddies dubbed him “Germanator.”
Rob knows trail life. He also knows how to eat well on the trail – something that we have struggled with since day one. Shortly after joining us, Rob agreed to help with groceries and meals. He loves cooking – really, anything that has to do with food – and clearly takes pride in helping others eat well. Since he joined us, every day is a feast on the trail. His cooking prowess and shopping strategy is also helping us save money by not eating out as often, while still keeping up with our caloric needs.
Some days, Rob hikes with us. Rob’s perspective on road hiking is very different – on rugged trails like the PCT, he says, walking road miles is not something that anyone looks forward to. But we get up and do it every day. As much as we have in common, Rob brings a very fresh perspective to our daily grind. He is also very handy to have around. He has experience with natural building, living in cob houses, and has dreams for a future of intentional living with the land. He is also a proficient tinker, with an eye for repurposing discarded materials and upcycling them to new uses.
We have had an “open walk” policy for the entire trip, but this is the first time someone has truly embraced our walk and adopted it as a lifestyle. We are grateful for Rob’s experience and willingness to help, as well as his cultural perspective. The energy and progressive movements taking place in the United States have kept him coming back. Big things are happening, and Rob wants to be a part of it. We have reached his destination of Moab, but I think he’s coming with us on this strange journey. As long as the groove is good, we’ll keep grooving on together.