“The Herd” should be at least 400 miles along by the time I hit the trail. Unless they come back to hike a section that they skipped because it was icy or on fire, I shouldn’t have to deal with them for a month, maybe more.
The Herd is a teeming rat king of 50-75 hikers that hike within a day or two of each other. Last year, I would meet people, who were hiking in the opposite direction, that would tell me about them. They would shake their heads and laugh and say they weren’t like hikers. There was one report that they had drank up an entire town’s beer supply.
For a long time, I would just hear about them; I was meeting few hikers. The reports started getting closer and closer to me. Then, one early morning, as I was walking on the aqua-duct, all these hikers started rising off the desert floor and joining me. It was like something out of “Night of the Living Dead.” I knew if I couldn’t get out of that mire of hikers my trail would be done. Through fear spawned tenacity and great effort, I quickly escaped.