Sleeping in this morning – Sarah, Jane and I only have seven miles to make before we reach the bus to Frisco – is glorious. I’m a Snorlax at heart, and this made my large, sleepy heart so, so happy. Even with my extended unconsciousness, I’m out before Sarah and Jane, who encourage me to go on ahead, which I feel weird about. We’re all pretty much out of water, though, so I agree to meet them at the next water source, where hopefully I’ll have had time to purify some before they arrive.
The walk up and down to Horseshoe Gulch, goes by faster than I anticipate, and mostly in silence. It starts out pleasantly enough, but it’s hard to be pleasant, hard to breathe, when wandering in a not-forest.
The Mountain Pine Beetle has been ravaging Colorado forests for nearly 20 years, and I’ve seen a lot of evidence in the abundant widowmakers in the forests along the trail so far, but nowhere is it more stark than in this last bit of Segment Six.
Near on arrival at Horseshoe Gulch, I pass by another sign for the Summit Fat Tire Society. I make a note in my head to write them a strongly worded letter, though probably less strongly worded than yesterday’s rant. Catch more flies with honey, and all that.
I’ve purified water and started in on cooking oatmeal when Jane and Sarah arrive. We sprawl, chat, breathe; it’s hardly 10, and we only have four miles left. We scurry to get out of the way as Washpot and his lady come through from the south; I met him at the Continental Divide Trail Coalition’s Rockies Ruck, and it’s cool to see him again. They’ve been smashing the miles to beat a work deadline, and even managed to take a zero day at their home in Breckenridge. I sit in awe.
Even the mention of the town name gets me anxious to be moving, and it’s bouncing all the way down the trail with Jane and Sarah, talking, chatting — it’s the only thing that helps stave off the sadness.
After cresting that final ridge, it’s down many much switchbacks, and town!
The bus is so fast! I have cell service! And like a million new emails! We arrive at the motel, and I sit curled up in the armchair for an hour, looking at Facebook and generally being paralyzed by indecision. What does one do when not walking? What is the order of business? Do I go resupply now? Do I wait until after I take a shower? I smell so bad, how did they let me on the bus? Will they let me back on to go resupply?
Eventually, I decide to go resupply first, picking up a shirt in addition to food so I can smell less like a creature of the wilds/feel more like a human being when I’m frolicking about town. I get back and repackage everything, 100% convinced I still have too much food, especially since Sarah and Jane have too much food, and unload upon me delicious dehydrated veggies and teriyaki and broccoli and rice. And then a shower, the decadence that is showering, washing my hair, suddenly new and different. The fact that I somEHOW STILL SMELL after my shower is new and different, too, and I’m not quite sure what to do with it.
I curl back up in the armchair for a little while and plan, decide to have a proper zero tomorrow since M’s coming to resupply me/make sure I’m actually not a ghost haunting my phone or something, and she won’t be able to come until the evening. I figure I should probably put food in my face, and walk over to Peppino’s for pizza.
The sun’s down by the time I walk home; I continue to write write write until hiker midnight and I can no longer keep my eyes open.
Start: 97.1 • End: 104.2 • Day: 7.1 miles
Notable Accomplishments: Breakfast! • Shower! • Pizza!