I wake at 5:31 exactly, despite my best effort to sleep in and staying up past hiker midnight tending the laundry. I slept in my freshly washed hiking shirt last night but it’s stinking already. After five days and a good wash. The shirt is not the only thing back to hiker normal, I think, as I totter out of bed on sore feet. Hiker hobble, it’s been so long! It takes us hours to rally and fully extract ourselves from the soft (and so flat!) cocoon of bed. We spend a relaxing morning trading stories and chatting with our kind hosts Len and Chris who have had some impressive adventures of their own via motorcycle, bicycle and on foot. Len also happens to be a talented scroll cut artist and shows us some of his work and the tiniest saws I have ever seen. Len and Chris so many thanks!
Then back around Lake Dillon to town. I asked about the big body of water last night, having spied it through the trees for much of the way down yesterday. Lake Dillon, you see, is really a reservoir. And so I take a quick plunge into local water politics, because the lovely snow-melt is all Denver’s water. Locals don’t get to drink it and they aren’t even allowed to swim in it. Except stand up paddle boarding is OK. But what if you fall in? I don’t know?
I buy food for the next leg at Whole Foods. Best. Resupply. Ever. I tour the aisles with pack on my back getting embarrassingly excited about Brussel sprout snacks and new flavors of kettle chips (on sale!). Then off to our hostel in the free bus (seriously, this area is amazing for hikers!).
The Bivvi hostel is up on a hill just outside town, as clean luxurious as advertised and full of hikers. Erin is here too and we finally get to meet. There’s some more sorting of food and gear and then we hop in the bus to head to town for dinner.
The bus pulls in with a man running after it. At first I think he’s just late, but then he starts shouting strings of curse words in front of kids and everyone. Something about the driver not stopping (at a non-stop). He blocks the doors, refuses to move insists on talking the to driver’s supervisor. The driver stays calm calls in an “alpha male” and promises that his “supervisor” will be there in a few minutes. At this point we cut our losses and get off the bus. As we are walking, three cop cars go screaming up the hill sirens on. I do think the “supervisor” my come bearing handcuffs. We decide to try our luck at hitching on the way (so we can make it back for fireworks). Erin gets a car to pull over and the couple can take the three of us to town. It turns out the driver is a pastor. “I only picked you up because you’re girls,” he admits.
We make it back in time to watch the fireworks from the hostel balcony where it’s all spring break 2017 with beer and a BBQ and bros in a hot tub. There are many CDT hikers around, stuck in a town vortex (did I mention that it is really nice here?). I invest way to much energy tonight making decisions about microspikes and hiking out tomorrow (it is so nice here! But weather and time…). The CDT hikers convince me to send home my microspikes, though the Colorado Trail Foundation still lists some upcoming segments as “impassible” because of snow. Am I as tough as a CDT hiker? Find out soon!