Day Nineteen: Nine in Eight

I wake late because it’s coldcoldcold, frost on the outside of my shelter. My foot, to my chagrin, has not somehow magically healed overnight, so we’re slow getting out of camp; I’m abusing the good graces of my right foot/leg babying my left foot like I’ve been told to. We’re not helped by the fact that it’s another climb up a rocky jeep road to start today, but at least we’re only planning on nine miles for the day – that should put us in Salida on Thursday, where we can have another quiet evening to ourselves before I’m bombarded with friends and fun. Continue reading

Day Eighteen: Feetses

I wake up in a bed, and that is glorious. I mean, eventually, I get up and out of it, but in the moment it’s the best thing. I’m pretty sure the only parts of civilization I miss are bed and internet. And inside, I guess. And warm. But that’s it.

We’re slow getting up and out, but I don’t hate it – it’s probably better for our attempt at hitching back to the trail. That jeep road is a bit vicious, and I’m a little concerned about our chances of getting back. I decide to try to hitch for an hour – 10 to 11 – and if it doesn’t work, we’ll be walking Collegiate East the rest of the way to Salida. So I dance as many dances as I can remember with my thumb out for an hour1, all to no avail. I go to throw away my tea cup, come back, and we take about four steps before an older lady in a Subaru says she’ll take us all the way up. The trail works in mysterious ways. Continue reading

Day Sixteen: Breaking the Perfectionist

I wake feeling unsettled. Something’s wrong in my abdominal region, but I’m able to pack up camp while it figures out what it wants: sick or not sick, and if sick, up or down. Speshul tells me it was probably a bear checking us out last night, what with the heavy footfalls and the lumbering off begrudgingly rather than spooking; I feel like I should be more perturbed by the notion, but really, the slowly-exhibiting pain in my gut’s occupying most of my early-morning brain capacity. It feels like I’ve got an alien in there trying to get out, and we don’t quite make it out of camp before I have to limp my way to a place where I can be sick out of eyeshot, not once, but twice.

I’m still hurting when I come back, know the cramps1 are going to haunt me all day, and sure enough, they’re still echoing around in there when we finally set off. We find a campsite that’s about a quarter mile further on down the path, not a tenth of a mile like the guidebook’d said, but it’s comforting to know the guidebook knew what it was talking about. Sort of.
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Day Fifteen: Not Quite Best Pass

We’re up later again today. Speshul1 doesn’t sleep well, so I anticipate this leg to Salida to be a little later getting up and going. We’ve got six more days before friends are meeting us in Salida, though, and even doing fewer miles – what with the passes and my slowness and all – we’re like to make it there early. Even with the late wake-up, it’s still not about rushing out of camp; breakfast is a thing again today, and I’m sure there’s some sort of lesson in this. Spesh is a good teacher, subtle like that.

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Day Thirteen: The Town Formerly Known as Dayton

I wake with town thoughts in mind: Twin Lakes is ahead, and with it, seeing both M and Special. Six and a bit miles, and then town food and showers and beer and ice cream in one of the more beautiful towns in Colorado I’ve ever been to.

Both Trevor and I are getting a slow start, but it feels nicer this way, and I know I can make six miles before my housemates pull in around late afternoon. I even take the opportunity to eat before lazily scooting out of camp. Continue reading

Day Twelve – Cell Service Central

I wake relatively late today – it’s 7am – but I think my body needed it. I’m already more relaxed than yesterday; I’ve got today and tomorrow to make it 22-and-a-bit miles to Twin Lakes, and even though I was dragging yesterday, I managed to pull off 15. Should be fine.

Neither Trevor nor I are in any hurry to get out of the campsite. I cook and eat about half of a box of couscous while Trevor packs up, having done his due diligence re: food last night. We say our goodbyes, but we’re going the same way, and I wonder if I’ll see him again. Continue reading

Day Ten – Twenty

I wake up early and try to get up, but it’s cold and hard to move. There’s frost on the outside of my tent for the first time – my fault for camping where I did, out in the open with no protection but the tall grass. I watch 6:30 turn to 7:30 without cooking, and, giving up on that, I eventually stuff my wet tent into my pack and make my way on down the trail.
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