Day 81: Into Winter Park


We know camping by water always makes for a chilly morning yet for some reason we always are surprised. Sounds of movement could not be heard from Charlie and Hannah's tent so we stayed in our sleeping bags for as long as possible. Finally we worked up the courage to get moving and break down camp. Endless and Queen Bee passed by along the trail so Garbelly ran over to catch up with them. Critter kept packing up, and by the time Garbelly returned to camp, everything was ready to go.


We did not have to hike far down the trail before we were hit by the warm sun-filled air of a meadow. We immediately packed all of our layers away and felt silly for not setting camp up just a couple steps through the trees. Hiking up towards Herman Lake brought gorgeous views of mountains with snowy veins and green meadows painted with wildflowers. Rounding over a pass we dropped back down before beginning our climb up to a summit of 13,207 feet.


Dark clouds appeared behind Greys and Torres, and they would soon engulf the already omninous peaks. We hiked quickly to get as low as possible as we followed a ridge around through the Vasquez Wilderness area.  A strong wind carried the storm clouds closer, and we just could not quite get away so we headed off of the ridge the first chance we got. You cannot control Mother Nature and her weathered ways. You just have to be smart and play it safe. Most of all you have to be ready for anything. 

We were able to get a hitch into Winter Park in the bed of a truck. We sat down at the Ditch on 40 and stared blankly at our menus and then at the least busy place on the wall. We were worn out and wind beaten. We were overwhelmed by the loudness, brightness, and crowdedness of society. Two men who must have been the floor manager and owner sensed our unease and treated us to chips and salsa while we waited for our food and even two shots of whiskey for the boys.


That night we camped in free camping outside of town, which aside from our initial assumptions was actually really nice and secluded. Garbelly cooked up some brats for an early 4th of July celebration with the group. He also cooked a family size Velveeta shells and cheese, which he didn't share. We hung our first bear bags and went to bed enjoying the quietness and peace of the forest. 


Garbelly & Critter