7/14 starts out, hmmmm, clear and we have 10 miles to hike to get near the town of Lake City. Much of the morning involved a long trek through the high tundra of aptly named Snow Mesa. It’s the middle of July and there’s still pockets of snow.
As we hike I meet two more hikers, Gimpy and Gristle. Both around 60 and live 7 miles from each other in Texas. The funny thing is, they didn’t know each other until there’d met on trail a few days earlier.
The ladies make it to the road first and quickly get a ride into town. Shockingly, it takes a bit longer for the 4 guys to get a lift. Five of us with 4 packs cram into a Kia Rodeo. Three of us sit with packs on our laps in the back seat. The ride is 17 miles downhill and the brakes start over heating a few miles into the twisted downslope. Pine Tree buries his head in his pack so he can’t see. I concentrate on the sticker that warns of the vehicle’s high center of gravity and rollover potential as we whip through the turns. Our ride ends at the edge of town when the driver pulls into the local liquor store. After kissing the ground, it’s just a short walk to the center of town and the local motels and hostel.
I head for Silver Spur Motel while others all head into the hostel. After Golden received an inordinate amount of attention at the hostel, the ladies also decided to “upgrade” to a room at the Silver Spur. Pine Tree had no such issues and decided to stick it out where he was.
Crossing paths later at the local laundry, the ladies are intrigued that I was wearing clean, cotton clothes while feeding quarters into the dryer. Apparently I may be the first thru hiker to think of mailing myself throw away clothing with the rest of my resupply material. Perhaps I’ll start a trend.
One night in town is enough for White Pine and he heads back out on the trail where he’ll wait for the rest of The Family to catch up. The rest of us take a zero mileage day to stay in town, relax, eat and even stroll through the arts and crafts fair that closed one of the town’s 3 streets.
While in town I get an update that “the boy,” Matt, will be getting home from the Peace Corps a few days earlier than he had planned. In addition, I also see that two people have been killed and over a dozen hospitalized due to lightning strikes in the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park. The better part of the next 40 miles of the Colorado Trail is over 12,000 feet in elevation.
Between wanting to see Matt as soon as possible and not wanting to spend additional time in the lightning kill zone, my thoughts about slowing down go out the window. I’ll just work as hard as needed to stay with the Family and put in big miles. They are a great group to hike with and I’m sure they’ll help me along. I just need to stay a safe distance from Golden when she uses her umbrella during the thunderstorms.