Day 81 – 84 Early Colorado!
Nearly missed the checkout time this morning; I returned the key card at 10:58. I would have felt really stupid having to pay for another day because I was… watching Gone In 60 Seconds. Nevertheless I got out.
On the bus out of town, I ran into Tropical, who had just gotten to town. Also, at this point, I discovered a pinhole leak in the water bladder for my filter. And by discovered, I mean realizing that I had soaked a bus seat, whoops. Gear doesn’t last forever though.
It took maybe 15 minutes to land a ride on a very busy road. It felt like longer due to how many cars drove past. A young trail crewmember named Liam stopped on his way to go climbing and brought me back to the trail around one.
Plenty of time to knock out a rather dull and highly trafficked 10 mile road walk. The remainder of the evening was up a fairly nice dirt road that has many, many hunter’s camps along it.
Pretty wide mix of terrain today. Mix of rather crowded dirt road, single track thru forest, single track thru burned areas, and along ridge lines.
Ran into a number of new people today. Including Kismet & Beekeeper who I haven’t seen since East Glacier.
The last water source for the day was a creek which drained a burn area and had a very smoky taste. First time experiencing water that tastes like campfire.
The campsite on a ridge at 11,500′ was pretty cool, though. Nestled into a small grove on an otherwise exposed ridgeline.
6:30 is now sleeping in, it seems. Slow start to the day followed by a steep climb up Parkview mountain to the rather decrepit lookout on the summit. It did have a beautiful ridge descent though.
Most of the rest of the day was hiking through a burned valley with rather eroded trail. But I did see a weekender going the other way who mentioned that Hana, Brock, and Pierre were just in front of me. I’d thought they were a day ahead still so that came as something of a surprise. I caught up with them at the rocky mountain national park border; we can’t camp within the park so there’s a pileup of tents right at the border so we can get into town early tomorrow.
Second ‘hero’ in and out resupply of the trail. Well, third if you count South Pass City. Easy walk into Grand Lake. Very touristy town; it reminds me of Sisters, OR but with a lake.
Spent awhile base camping out of the visitor info center. Nice little hut with outlets to charge my power bank.
Leaving after I grab lunch. Need to go 9-10 miles to get out of Rocky Mountain National Park to (legally) camp.
Weather for the next few days doesn’t look great. Which is unfortunate b/c the highest point of the trail, Mt Gray, is coming up. Hoping that I won’t need to take a low elevation alternate.
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