Saturday, June 22, 2024

Salida to Leadville

We woke up early and TBD made vegan pancakes with blueberries for breakfast. We cleaned up, packed up and then delayed. By the time we left the hostel it looked like it was going to rain out. We stopped at Bunny & Clyde’s for roasted veggie burritos and fruit smoothies and then walked to hwy 50 and stuck out our thumbs. We needed to get back to Poncha Springs and start walking from there. A lady in a jeep stopped and offered us a ride dropping us off at the coffee shop we went to when we first arrived in Poncha Springs. Thank you! Of course we walked right into the coffee shop and sat down acting as though we meant to stop for coffee and not hike up the hill.  We took our time. It was late when we started the road walk to the trail. We walked by a KOA and contemplated stopping. We walked up to Monarch Spur Campground and decided to check out the camp store. We bought root beers, cookies and a sticker and then walked the last mile to the trailhead. 

It felt awesome to be back on real trail after a roadwalk. Even though we started with an up, it was enjoyable. We hiked by several perfect campsites but it wasn’t dark yet. We did end up stopping before dark though because we came to a campsite and a stream  and saw the up on the other side of the stream and decided to stop. We hadn’t had dinner yet so once the tent was up we had to walk away from it to eat. We were too lazy to cook so we just ate some bugles and our cookies. In the tent while looking at the map we discovered that the trail would be going right by Mount Princeton Resort. We had already heard about this place because of the hot springs and it has a restaurant! We made plans to get up early and get there while it’s open. 

The next morning the alarm went off at 4:45 but we didn’t move till 5am. We packed up and hiked up, up, up. We weren’t even at the top when we stopped a few hours later for breakfast.  This is a beautiful trail! And at every water crossing there is a bridge! Even though it was so nice it was still a hot, exhausting day. Our goal was to get to the resort before 4pm so that we could order from the lunch menu. We got down to the road at 3:15 and decided to try to hitch there which would mean we would have to hitch back to continue walking. We weren’t happy with the plan but we wanted the Beyond Meat burgers on the lunch menu. We didn’t even have to hitch! Someone going the opposite direction stopped and asked us if we needed a ride. It turns out she had hiked the Colorado Trail and her trail name is Shine. Thanks Shine!  We walked into the resort and headed straight for the dining room. We made it! We made it on time for burgers! It was a crazy expensive meal but it was good! 

Next we went to check out the pools. They were all in the full sun and I was already hot. It was also $45 per person so we decided to just ask if we could have showers. The guy behind the desk said go ahead so we enjoyed free showers and while we were in the change room we met Solar who was hiking the PCT this year but had to get off due to an injury. She was here with another injured PCT hiker named Purple Hat. Solar gave us her number and said to call if we need help anywhere in Colorado and when I mentioned that we need to get back to the trailhead tonight she offered to take us.  We made plans to meet in an hour and then headed up to the store for drinks. Expensive drinks. So much for the Colorado budget! Solar and Purple Hat met us in front of the store and we headed back to the trailhead where we chatted for a bit and took pictures before saying thank you and heading back across the bridge to set up for the night.

We slept in a bit because we were planning on walking back to the resort for breakfast and it didn’t open until 8. We still ended up arriving before it was open and used the time to charge our devices on an outside outlet. After our breakfast we topped up our water and hiked down the road. The wrong road. Luckily TBD caught the mistake quickly and we turned around and headed for the resort one last time. The road we should have taken went up Mount Princeton. We walked up and ended up on a dirt road near a camp and then finally trail. 

Our original plan was to go to Leadville next but TBD noticed all the comments in FarOut about the vegan restaurants in Buena Vista. We could be in Buena Vista tonight if we changed our plans. And so it was decided. We stopped for a break and met Sideburn and then later on another break Murphy (who we haven’t seen in ages) hiked by. We had around 6 miles left when we came down to a road and there was a trail Angel with chairs and Gatorade and clementines and chocolate bars! Her name was Grace and she has section hiked the entire trail. Murphy and Steele were already there. We sat and drank and ate and chatted for a bit but then it was time to get to town. We made it to the brewery 5 minutes before the kitchen closed and managed to order our impossible burgers and fries just in time.

After dinner we went to an ice cream shop that had vegan ice cream where I beat TBD at a game of chess. By the time we left it was dark and we still needed to find a place in town to set up the tent. We settled for a spot with a raging river on one side of us and a park on the other. If we pack up early enough it will be ok. 

We packed up and headed to a coffee shop and then after an hour switched to another coffee shop for an amazing breakfast. 

We had planned on sticking around till the afternoon for free showers but ended up going for paid showers at the laundromat. When our chores were done we sat at a park and thought about leaving town. Finally sometime in the afternoon we hiked out of town. We made it a full 2 miles before we saw a white water rafting place and stopped to check it out. We were too late to go today but if we hung around till tomorrow we could go white water rafting. It was definitely a distraction. After a break on the chairs out front we decided to leave the rafting for another time and continue down the road. It was hot and the sun was intense. It felt like we were moving super slow on what should have been an easy roadwalk. 

When we got to the far edge of San Isabel National Forest we found a place to set up the tent even though it was still light out. It had been a long day.

I don’t think we started walking until 7am. Our goal was Winmar Cabins five miles down the road where we hoped for showers and drinks. When we got there the owner opened the store for us and we bought 2 drinks each. We decided to not bother with showers since we would be in a town later anyway and continued down the road. A car pulling a small camper trailer pulled over and it was Grace our trail Angel! We each had another Gatorade. Thanks Grace! 

The road walk was brutal but there were huge white capped mountains in view the entire day. We did stop for a proper break on the side of the road at one point but other than that didn’t stop till we saw a gas station about 3 miles from town. The convenience store was really good and had all the options to resupply (too bad we didn’t need anything right now). By the time we walked into High Mountain Pies I was tired! 

We ordered a pizza and someone who worked here came over and told us we could stay the night in the backyard. Awesome! Thanks! It was a bit too early so after the pizza was gone  we went to the hostel to have showers . Teddy Bear and Rosita were there and said they had decided to end the trail . The are taking a train trip across the country before flying back to Germany. As we were about to leave the hostel Kodak arrived. We told him we were staying at High Mountain Pies and we made plans to meet him for a drink later. Back at the pizza shop we met the owners of a restaurant I went to while on the PCT. They paid for our food and when they left came over and handed us cards for free meals if we ever go back. Thank you! Kodak arrived and we chatted about gear, trails and unfortunate incidents involving tents and sprinklers. 


Day 50.   11.9 miles/19.1 km

Day 51.    18 miles/28.9km

Day 52.    19 miles/30.5km

Doy 53.     13.5 miles/21.7km

Day 54.      21.1 miles/34.6km

918.3  miles/1477.8km so far!

  • “Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.”Roy Bennett

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