Day 64: 911 to 920 (Monarch Pass)

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Town day was upon us again. We were nine miles away from a shower, clean clothes, and food. Ready to get to town, we woke up a whole thirty minutes earlier than usual, and regardless of the cold that had set in over night, we threw together our packs as we broke down camp. Charlie and Hannah were ready to go about the same time as we were. They were all bundled up in their warm layers  and had as much determination as us to get to town. Garbelly filtered some water before we set off up the trail, but then we were off. Rotten snow mounds littered the trail, and as we approached each one we decided either to go up and over or around on dry ground.

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Once we left the forest, big fields of snow layed before us with deep sun cups appearing like the scales of a fish. The sun was still tucked behind the mountains so the snow was icy but firm. We stepped on the small ridges protruding from the ground being careful not to misstep into the awkward depressions. Charlie and Hannah were moving with a little more determination and intent then we were, but as soon as we climbed up to the ridge and out of the snow a fire was lit under our feet.

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We followed a ridge trail, exposed, dry, and covered with colorful wildflowers and marble-like quartz. From the trail we could see down into the valleys below and even the mountains range of the Collegiates in the distance. Snow capped and majestic, we could tell that snow remained in our future. We began our descent towards Monarch Pass, and we knew we were getting close as we started to see more day hikers appear up trail. Hanging high in the air were retro ski lifts painted bright colors that popped against the blue sky and surrounding greenery.

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The Monarch Crest Store awaited us at the pass where we were quickly overwhelmed by food. After grabbing a bite to eat, we got our thumbs ready and started to hitch a ride to Salida. A hitch did not come easily at first, but finally a bright green Crosstrek pulled over and waved us in. The two were fellow hikers so we talked about the trail all the way down the pass.

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We met back up with Charlie and Hannah at the Post Office and from there headed to official lunch at Moonlight Pizza. Next came laundry then came checking into our room at the Silver Ridge Lodge and showers. Town days are not entirely relaxing due to how much has to get done in such a short time, but clean clothes are worth it! Our room was very cozy, and that night we made rice, steamed vegetables, and an Amy's pasta dish for dinner in the microwave. It was nice to stay in for the night.  

Cheers!  

Garbelly & Critter