Sunday, June 30, 2024

Leadville to Breckenridge

We woke up in the backyard of the pizza place and slowly packed up. We headed to a coffee shop but bought potato burritos for breakfast and skipped the coffee because we planned on going to Zero Day Coffee next.  Finally we got our coffee and chatted with a couple of Colorado Trail hikers who sat at the table next to us. Kodak arrived and we found out that today is Juneteenth (an American national holiday celebrating the end of slavery in Texas) and that meant that the post office wouldn’t be open. We quickly made a new plan to stay another night at the pizza shop but instead of taking a zero we would hike the last of the road miles to get us back to the CDT and then hitch back to town.  After the coffee shop we went to Melanzana where the famous Melly sweaters are made. They normally let people in by appointment only (and the next appointment was in February) but they make exceptions for thruhikers. We had to show a picture of us at the Mexican border to be allowed to choose one item to purchase. TBD was the one who wanted to check the place out but I was the one who found a sweater to replace my base layer that was falling apart. We headed back to the pizza shop for another meal and to ask if we could stay another night. They offered to keep our gear so we could slackpack! TBD emptied her pack and we put our rain gear, our sweaters and a couple drinks in her pack, the rest was staying at the pizza shop. We walked out of town with Kodak on the perfect day for road walking. It was overcast and it was a pretty walk. When we got to Tennessee Pass and there was a spot for cars to pull over I thought that maybe this was where we should stop (there was access to the CDT from this point) but Kodak and TBD had a better idea. We would continue to walk another few miles to where the CDT meets the road again. So we continued down the other side of the pass and ended up at a spot that I was sure was going to be a hard place to hitch. But I was wrong! The very first car stopped when we stuck our thumbs out! Thank you! Back in town we went to Taco Bell and then a brewery before heading back to the pizza shop for more focaccia bread. It was cold and we stayed inside as long as we could before going out to set up the tent. We just finished setting up when it started to rain. I bet Kodak is happy that he decided to cowboy camp under the gazebo.

We took our time in the tent in the morning figuring out where we wanted to stay when we get to the next town. By the time we were ready Kodak had already left for the coffee shop so we met him there.  It had rained during the night so we left the tent up on the dry in the sun. After coffee and breakfast we headed back to the pizza shop to pack up and then over to the post office where we discovered that again our package hadn’t arrived. Last night while we were in the pizza shop we had met  two friends who offered to drive us to the trailhead. They appeared while we were at the post office and as soon as Kodak was ready we headed back to the trail. We started out on a dirt road but soon it was back to a real trail. And of course we were going up! It was a giant climb. Soon we could see snow and then we were walking in it. Just small stretches at first. As we near the top it started raining, then hailing. It was also windy and every once in a while there was lightning. If it got any worse we would have had to get lower fast. But it was bearable. Some of the snow sections at the top we could climb around but others we had to posthole through. It took us longer than I thought it would to get past all of the snow but once we did we stopped for a well needed break. 

Then we raced down the hill hoping to get as close to Copper Mountain Resort so that we can go to Starbucks in the morning. It started to rain and thunder so we stopped when we saw spots to set up for the night. 3 miles to Starbucks in the morning!

TBD set the alarm for 5:30am and soon we were off to Starbucks. It was downhill as Starbucks was in Copper Mountain Resort. We hung out for maybe an hour but then it was time to hike up the mountain on the other side of the road. There was only 5 miles of up but it took me a long time to get up. It started out in trees but the top was very exposed and I felt bad for TBD who was waiting for me in the wind. Kodak was ahead of both of us and at one point I could see him right near the edge of a steep drop trying to avoid the snow. When we got up to that spot it didn’t seem nearly as sketchy as it had looked. But still there was a lot more snow than I wanted to have to deal with. At the very top the snow was still crisp and we had to worry about sliding down but the lower we got on the north side of the mountain and the later in the day it got, the more we were postholing. We just wanted done with the snow. There was finally a nice stretch where we could slide down but then we ended up back in the trees with the snow and the postholing just got worse. We had been following footprints and noticed they had taken us off trail. It took 45 minutes of postholing out of the snow zone to find the trail again. Later we would find out that we did relatively well as Zodak had been off trail for 2 hours. 

Our goal had been town so as soon as we were back on trail the race was on to get there for dinner. I was exhausted but at least it was mostly downhill. Finally we got to the trailhead and it was a short walk to the bus stop where a free bus would take us to Breckinridge. Kodak arrives 20 minutes later and decided to try to hit hitch with no luck while we waited for the bus. The bus took us downtown and then we switched busses and got dropped off right near the hostel. The hostel was really nice and even has a hot tub. We were hungry though so after quick showers we headed out to eat. We didn’t take our rain jackets and it started to rain. At first we tried waiting it out but in the end we got wet walking back to the hostel. Everyone in our bunk room was already asleep so we quietly headed to bed.

Day 55.     13 miles/20.9km

Day 56.      14.3 miles/23km

Day 57.    18.5 miles/29.7km

964.1 miles/1551.5km so far!

1 comment:

  1. Always amazed reading about your trek and the stamina required to keep going!! Rita