The sun peaked over the hillside illuminating our tent and casting an orange glow on everything within its walls. The air was still crisp and frost covered every thing around us, including the foot box of our sleeping bags.
After packing up, we bushwhacked a few hundred yards back to trail. On the way we ran into a few mule deer who curiously stared on as we marched by. Moments later we had arrived back to the forest service road. Walking up the road we saw one of our old friends. His name is snow and he covered everything for the next few miles.
Walking on snow this early was no problem because it was as hard as concrete. We looked at our maps and headed across a valley where we passed a small cabin available for rent through the forest service. Stacks of firewood lined its walls. It was evident no one had stayed here in quite some time. We marched along talking to each other about all of the places we needed to come back and visit.
Reaching Elwood Pass, we decided to drop down towards Park Creek. A dirt road would take us out of the mountains and down to the highway. The road followed Park Creek where giant green fields with freckles of yellow stood in between us and the water. We ate lunch among an aspen grove, and we eyed the water for fishy looking areas. As we grew closer to the highway, we stopped to filter water when a car pulled up headed in the opposite direction. Garbelly started talking to the couple in the car and answering questions about what we were doing out there. They mentioned they were visiting the area to fish and were staying in Pagosa Springs. When they found out we were headed into Pagosa, they offered to give us a ride to town. Perfect! They drove up the road to scout the water out, and on their way back to the highway, we loaded up in their car.
Meet Ray and Sally, our Pagosa Springs Trail Angels. They drove us into town and then continued on to the place they were staying. They let us shower, store our packs, and then took us out to dinner. After dinner, they insisted we stay on a Murphy bed in their living room. Right off the bat, they treated us like family. Ray and Sally took us in and took such good care of us.
Garbelly & Critter