Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Del Norte to Salida

Even though I woke up early we didn’t end up leaving town till after 7am. It’s getting harder to walk away from amenities. And our packs are really heavy with extra food today. We will definitely be eating the heaviest items first. Soon we were on a dirt path and had cyclists passing us. This is the route for Ride the Divide. 

We stopped for lunch in the shade under a tree and were surprised when two hikers who we haven’t met yet passed us without even noticing us. Later in the afternoon we caught up to them and they told us about the route they were taking to get to Salida. At the time I didn’t think much of if but as we hiked away TBD was looking a few things up. The route would avoid the last of the snow but we would end up having to walk up to Monarch Pass to make it a continuous footpath.  We didn’t have much time to think about it because the turn off was coming up soon so I told TBD to decide. We ended up taking their alternate and sitting with them at the Trading Post. We continued on while they ate their dinner. It got really windy and then started raining. We were wet by the time we found somewhere to set up for the night. It was early to stop and when it stopped raining g at 7:30 I wondered if we had made the right decision but who wants to pack up a wet tent only to hike another hour anyway.

In the morning it still looked overcast but that meant a nice cool hike. Our alternate  took us on a dirt road and then across a giant field to another dirt road. We had snow capped mountains to the right of us and green mountains to the left.  The green mountains and grey skies reminded me of Scotland. The dirt road led us to a big dirt road and then to a paved road. As soon as we started on the paved road I wanted a break but I forced myself to go a few miles before stopping. Then after a break I pulled out my earphones and listened to podcasts the rest of the way to town. About a mile before town we were met with a wall of mosquitoes. It was awful! TBD tried outrunning them. She tried crossing to the other side of the road. We both ended up stopping and putting on more layers. I couldn’t believe how we could go from no mosquitoes to a thousand of them in a second. We stopped at the gas station to get pop and insect repellant but the attendant told us they had sold out of insect repellant. We sat outside drinking our pop and deciding what to do next when a lady came over and asked us if we needed anything. I jokingly said just bug spray and she went to her car and brought back an almost empty can of bug spray. She told us to stay there and she would go get us another can. By the time she returned with a full can of bug spray another guy had warned us about a storm that was about to hit and called his brother who lived in town and got us a place to stay if we decided to wait out the storm.  Thank you both so much!

 We ended up walking over to a Mexican restaurant and hanging out while it rained. When it stopped raining we decided to head out and put a couple more miles in. We hiked five more miles and then it started raining again. We found the next opening in a fence and set up the tent as quick as we could. This is the second night in a row that we have had to stop early because of the rain. There is a hail and flood warning in the area and someone online said they spotted a tornado funnel nearby. It’s an interesting way to end the day! I hope our hiker friends up on top are all ok!

In the morning we packed up early and were excited to hike the 12 miles to a place that sells veggie burgers. We got there by 11am and stayed for an hour. The place was awesome! Then it was back on the road for a long exhausting day of road walk. When we got to the top of Poncho Pass it started raining and there was a rainbow right over the pass. 

I wanted to be done for the day but we had to get down the mountain and ended up hiking in the dark to get us to Poncho Springs. We set up in a picnic area for the night on the edge of town. 

I woke up way too early and just had to wait it out as the coffee shop wasn’t going to open until 7am. By the time we actually got up my stomach was rumbling. We got lattes and smoothies (I tried dragonfruit) at the coffee shop but we were both still hungry. We stopped at the grocery store on the way out of town  for snacks and then  headed to Salida. A couple people stopped to offer us rides but we had to turn them down. The sun was intense but thankfully it was a short walk to the Aquatic Centre in Salida where we stopped for showers and a swim. Next stop food! We went to a place called Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub and the food was awesome! TBD thinks it was her best meal on trail so far! And her beer was only $4. We decided we loved it here and want to stay. We reserved bunks at Salida Hostel for two nights and are already thinking about a third night. We made a plan to connect our footpath to Monarch Pass but then another hiker arrived (Kodak) who told us about his day of postponing and his plan to get back on the Colorado Trail because it is lower than the red line and almost snow free. TBD immediately downloaded the FarOut version of the Colorado Trail and could see where to get on the trail and where it connects to the CDT. It sounds like a great plan and it means way less of a road walk up Monarch Pass! Later another hiker arrived, this time a girl named Hannah who is here to hike some 14,000 ft mountains starting with Yale. She told us that she had arrived earlier in the day and gone to yoga downtown. Minutes later TBD had us a yoga session booked for tomorrow morning. It looks like our zero day tomorrow is getting booked up. lol!

Day 45.     22.2 miles/35.7km

Day 46.     26.7 miles/42.9km

Day 47.     33.6 miles/54km

Day 48.     6.3 miles/10.1

834.8 miles/1343.4km so far!


Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”John Ruskin

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