We Decided to Drive How Far?
This time we made the crazy decision to drive to Colorado from Maryland. It was actually better than I thought it would be.
I always pick flying when traveling. It saves so much time and often isn’t that much more money if you book early and can be flexible. But this time, we couldn’t decide what day to go since we had more flexibility. We also needed to rent a car since we were staying in Breckenridge with friends for a few days. Flying with backpacking gear is a little bit more complicated, and shipping food from the east coast is much more expensive than from Colorado itself. Last time I was not able to finish the hike, so we had to rent a car twice.
So we made the decision the drive from Maryland to Colorado. We could bring extra ‘what if’ gear and all our food. We could bring different clothes to wear around Breckenridge and day packs. And then gas prices shot up and stayed there.
A month before we left, I ran the numbers again. It was still cheaper to drive than fly AND rent a car for days we wanted. If I were starting the trail right after arriving in Denver, I would totally fly. Do I want our hike to be over after 100 miles again? No. But there is a real chance it could happen, and having our car to travel around will make a huge difference.
We drove through Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio the first day. Traffic sucked. We were only 30 minutes from home before getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic, and we also ran out of time to pack decent food for the trip. I had visions of cold noodle salads and premade sandwiches tucked into the cooler. Instead, I had tofu, broccoli, and olives.
Day two was Indiana, Illinois (which I thought was Missouri the whole time), Missouri, and half of Kansas. Contrary to popular opinion, I loved driving through Kansas. It was so different from the trees and shrubs that cover home. I stared out the window at the wide-open landscape and hypnotic windmills. Traffic was fantastic, and the straight road made it a much more relaxing drive.
On the third day, we crossed from Kansas into Colorado. The road immediately when to crap. I was videoing the Welcome to Colorado sign, and it literally started shaking the moment we crossed the state line. The goal was to slowly make our way to Breckenridge to give ourselves time to adjust to the altitude. (Spoiler – John was fine, I had a migraine and passed out at 6 pm). We stopped by the Colorado Trailhead to fill up our water and use the bathroom. It was a beautiful day for all of those who started, sunny and only 75 degrees. Our starting day is predicted to be a hot 90 degrees.
We drove through Bailey and Jefferson, then on to Breckenridge. After unloading the car in a haze, especially the food because, well… bears, I curled up on the couch. This wasn’t unexpected- I had a headache last time too – no matter how much water I drank. Altitude affects everyone differently, and you just never know.
Now for a few days of relaxing, packing, and shipping out food!
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