The Mountain is Burning Down!

A Mini Update

I’m standing on Monarch Pass, hoping for a hitch.

Since it’s the 4th of July, most cars going by aren’t locals, and so aren’t going to pick up the dirty, smelly hikers they see on the side of the road. I can’t say I blame them. But I was hungry and eager for town. After at least an hour, a kind driver in a pickup truck offered us a ride down to Salida in the bed. Looks like this was my ride! Riding in a truck bed is a bit nerve-racking, but I forgot about the curves and (skip this next part family) questionable driving and pretended I was on a roller coaster. (Oh wait, I don’t like those either)

Riding down Monarch Pass in a truck bed. Am I a real thru-hiker yet?

We got dropped off in front of this little store called MO Burrito, so of course I had to go get a breakfast burrito. Reminds me of home.

Salida on the 4th!

Salida is an awesome zero town. Since it was Independence Day, the town was full of live music, celebration, and festivals. It was such a fun atmosphere to jump into!

Gearing up for the fireworks

I stayed at the Salida Hostel, an awesome place owned by a fellow thru-hiker, with services like USPS Flat Rate boxes and fresh baked muffins every morning. The manager there, David, is a bikepacker and was a highlight of my zero with his dry humor. The hostel was full of CDT and other travelers, so I ended up hanging out there more than the rest of town. But hiker hunger had definitely set in, so the day was full of Moonlight Pizza, milkshakes, sandwiches, and many snacks. I decided Salida was a pretty cool place, full of fun energy.

The darkness covered the town, and suddenly, explosions filled the night sky. Big, beautiful fireworks shot off from S Mountain (and maybe some illegal rooftops and backyards too) filled the air with smoke. I looked up, and S Mountain was on fire! The sparks from the fireworks had drifted back down and caught the face of the mountain, activating all the firefighters stationed across the landscape. Finally, the fire was extinguished, leaving a blackened spot the next morning. Distant sounds of drunken cheering came from the breweries on F Street and the baseball fields at the conclusion of the show.

The next day, 

I stopped by Salida Hot Springs for some much-needed relaxation. They have a cold and a hot spring pool there to rest my sore legs. Then, after a resupply at the Safeway, I was ready to go. For the first time, I was actually ready to leave town. Salida had been fun, but it couldn’t last forever…

It’s time to hit the trail again!

Until next time!

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