In no rush to get back on trail, we rolled out of bed with just enough time to pack our bags and load up the truck before check-out. While we packed, Wild Bill fixed Garbelly's Patagonia running shorts that he has hiked in for over 5,000 miles! A couple days earlier he had ripped a hole in one of the legs while climbing over a downed tree. Pretty convenient timing to have a friend that knows how to use a sewing machine! Wild Bill drove us back up to trail. At the trailhead we said a few too many long goodbyes and then watched as WB and the truck drove away down a gravel road leaving us in complete silence. It was time to hike.
As soon as we put our packs on and took our trekking poles in our hands, we heard thunder in the distance. We headed to trail and started to move. The trail followed a river valley where we observed as white capped water rushed by our feet. As dark clouds rolled in, we could see the Zirkels still clear behind us, but soon our dark clouds would move in blanketing the peaks away from view. The rain that fell on us cooled us down, instead of seeking cover or throwing on our rain gear, we embraced the relief from the constant sun and heat. There was a detour on trail to avoid blow downs and a collapsed bridge, so we followed the road for a little over a mile to meet back up with the trail before it started to climb. We ran into dirt-bikers, mountain bikers, and even some backpackers.
We stopped to filter water at a small, but bubbling spring and continued down trail to find a dry, clear spot to camp. So much of the forest had been overcome with beetle kill that finding a safe place to set up was challenging. We finally came upon a large field, and we set up in the middle far away from any trees that could fall.
Cheers to our last night in Colorado!
Garbelly & Critter