As we hiked towards the highway, we passed through old mining towns which boomed back during the Silver Era. Now nothing but a couple of restored buildings and historic signs. The sound of the river remaining constant through time now is the only sound of what used to be.
To get to Leadville once we reached the highway, we received two hitches. The first hitch was from a woman in a old school bus which was now a rafting shuttle. The second hitch was from a man in his van, which he lived in. During this hitch, Critter got into a deep conversation with the driver about human connectedness and the inhibiting nature of technology to this crucial connection.
Once in downtown Leadville, we got dropped off near the Tennessee Pass Cafe, a lunch recommendation we received during the second hitch. We stumbled in, leaving our packs outside, and sat down at a table in the window. Our waitress brought up hiking and asked which trail we were doing. We talked about the trail, introduced ourselves, and we were even offered a place to stay for the night. We were currently picking apart the internet trying to find an inexpensive place for all four of us to stay, so this offer was perfectly time and much appreciated! She gave us her contact information, and even mentioned that she was going to make dinner and have a bonfire that evening. We paid our bill then headed across the street to run into an outdoor gear shop. Critter's Sawyer Squeeze bag finally busted and one of her socks had fallen out of her pack somewhere near Mirror Lake. She was able to grab exactly what she needed, a new pair of socks and new Sawyer bags. Afterwards, we headed up the street to the laundromat and took care of washing our clothes. Next, we headed over to Safeway to shop for our resupplies. While we were moseying around, Jess walked in and offered to give us a ride after she picked up dinner supplies. We loaded up, packs, groceries, and all, into her car, and she drove us to her house up the road. There we were greeted by her husband, Dave, and their young, black Lab, Lucy.
Jess and Dave welcomed us into their home as if we were long time friends. As we all took turns showering, Jess prepared an amazing dinner while Dave started the grill and built a fire. Friends came over and there we were four strangers completely taken in and made part of the family. It was amazing how small talk was tossed aside and in its place genuine friendship sat. How fortunate we are to connect and build relationships with people as we journey North.
Garbelly & Critter