Day 51-53 June 20th-22nd

June 20th day 51 back on the trail

My ride wasn’t scheduled to show up until 9:00, so there was no reason to get up any earlier than 7:00. Coffee was already made and I put together some eggs and warmed tortilla shells for breakfast. One of the cool things about Heydukes is the free eggs from the chickens.

I rode my bike into town to grab one last good coffee. Salida has a number of good coffee shops. It’s been my favorite trail town so far. A nice trail angel named Debbie picked me up and brought me out to the Eastern portion of the Collegiate Trail loop. This is a snow-free route that will take me to Twin Lakes, where I’ll meet back up with primary trail.

This is a super nice trail. It’s well-maintained and no crazy elevation changes. It was a good first day back on the trail. I definitely lost some trail legs, but still able to get about 12 mi in without pushing it too hard. It’s about 70 mi to Twin Lakes, and I’m not in a big hurry since I have plenty of food and they’re actually a couple of places to grab stuff along the way.

New tent

So my last tent was not big enough. It was pretty durable and fairly easy to set up, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t long enough or tall enough. So every morning, I’d wake up and the condensation would either make my head wet or my feet wet. That’s less than optimal. So I went ahead and bought a Tarptent Dw1. It’s a bit longer and much taller. I’d be happy to not test it out versus rain for a while, but I think it’ll do just fine.

I’ve only set it up three or four times now but it doesn’t feel like it takes any longer than the last one. I considered swapping out my sleeping pad, but I’m getting kind of attached to this thing. It’s probably warmer than I needed.

June 21st day 52 hike naked day

You probably didn’t know but summer solstice is also traditionally Hike Naked Day for thru-hikers. I decided to pass on the opportunity since I was in a fairly populous area and I didn’t want to intimidate anyone.

I slept okay in my new tent. It was a hundred times better with condensation and aside from sleeping on a bit of a slant and sliding towards one side of the tent, it was much roomier. I was still very stiff, and there are lots of ups and downs on the trail, so my pace isn’t crazy, but I think I’m going to get at least 20 by the end of the day.

Bumped into a couple of day hikers who were hanging out after their hike and asked if their cooler had beer in it. They said yes and offered me a beer, probably a little out of the ordinary for most people at 11:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, but that’s sort of the life I live. So I hung out with the two gents and got to know that they were both from my neck of the woods, Chanhassen, Minnesota. Pretty small world. They were spending the week bagging 14,000-ft climbs in Colorado.

June 22nd day 53 So Colorado we’re going to do this?

It was only a 25-mile day. I’ve done longer. But Colorado isn’t 30 miles of road walking. And that’s 25 mi there are 7,000 of ascending 7,000 ft of descending. That makes for a challenging day.

I’m really seeing the appeal of the Colorado Trail. It’s very well maintained and has some pretty good views. Definitely beginner friendly. Lots of campsites with privies and plenty of water.

At the end of my day, I got you a community campground. So far these haven’t been very busy but this one was very crowded. I was a quarter of a mile up the road, and I still heard dogs barking as I approached. I kept walking for some camp options along the river.

I found one but the people next to me sort of thought they had claimed it because they had on their bear bag. I didn’t really care, I’m just put up my tent. I sort of regretted decision because I’ve never seen so many ants in my life. I tried to put on my flip-flops, but they started biting my feet. I thought about moving, but I just buckled down and put my shoes back on and moved everything into my tent.

We going through a small town called Twin Lakes tomorrow. I was hoping for laundry and a shower; that might need to wait a few more days. There’s at least a good store to do some resupplying and maybe grab a hot meal. But unless I swim in the lake, I’m going to be dirty for a few more days.


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Comments 1

  • Alicia : Jun 25th

    I got used to seeing your facial hair, you look so different without it.


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