Day 5, 7/12
Mileage: 57.1 – 71.7
After the rain subsides, we sleep deep and wake to the first alarm, sitting up in bed immediately. Hitting snooze is not a game anymore, we know now. Getting up and on the trail by 5am is the difference between making it back into tree line, into safety, before the storm hits, or getting caught in the storm with no where to hide. Two hikers have been struck by lightening in the last two days. Both of them fatalities.
We let this news sink in, and we spend the next 14.6 miles pondering what our next move shall be. The first 7 miles pass quickly. We get down to a creek and forest service road, our half way point for the day, at 10am. The next 5 miles consist of a 1200 ft. climb, followed by a 2 mile decent to highway 258 at Kenosha Pass. 1200 ft. climb’s got nothin’ on me! Piece of cake! Onward we walk.
It’s gorgeous on this part of the trail. We get our first good views of the mountains that we will be in in just a few days. REAL mountains. Mountains with snow on them and beautiful rocky peaks, not just unimpressive looking hills. Simone’s feet are hurting bad again today. She is walking slow, and trying to enjoy the view, but she can’t quite break a smile, even when I yell stupid things to lighten the mood. I feel bad for her. I want her to experience what I feel… The views, the excitement, the wonder of nature and all it holds, without pain.
Carolyn, one of our new trail friends who we’ve seen multiple times per day, is getting off the trail and offers for her husband to give us a ride to Fairplay. Awesome! Our first hitch and we didn’t even have to hitch! By the time we get to the highway, Simome is limping and hardly walking, and she throws her pack off and sits in the dirt.
Fairplay is an awesome, tiny little hick trail town at 10,000 feet of elevation. It is actually the town that the tv show “South Park” is based off of, and everything is named after the show. Everyone is beautiful and friendly and awesome. Simone and I decide we want to be just like them. It just so happens that we arrive in town the same Saturday as a biker convention, and we get the last motel room available in the whole town, which just so happens to be a smoker room. Ugh. At least it’s a bed and shower, right?
So we’re in this tiny little town with one Main Street down the middle, shops and houses lined up and down the few side streets, which are only about 3 blocks long. There are literally hundreds of bikes revving their engines up and down Main Street, and about 500 hot, old, overweight, beautiful biker dudes and chicks roaming around like they own the place. This. Is. AWESOME! We eat at a little diner next to a bunch of townies and bikers, then roam around for a bit. By the time we make it back to the motel it is down pouring and thundering and lightening, just like it does every day here in Colorado. We watch the storm from the window, thankful we are not out there. Oh wait, we’ll be out there tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and the next day after that…. We are scared.
A quick break in the clouds means it’s time for us to make a break for the laundromat. Of course, washing all of our clothes means we have nothing to wear but our rain gear. So here we are, walking down the street to the laundromat with only rain pants, a down coat and a rain coat on. We talk to a nice, cute girl while figuring out how to use laundry machines that take coins (what? How does this work? I am not accustomed to wash machines that take coins..?), and just like everyone else in the town, she wants to help us! Apparently the kind of help we need is directions to the nearest bar. She calls her friend who is at the bar, and tells her two cute girls are headed her way in rain gear, and to look out for us. Actually, on second thought, it would just be better to give us a ride! We hop into the back of a van with 4 kids who are just sitting back there, seats folded down, enjoying the heck outa themselves.
And then there’s the bar. God I wish we had our phones to take videos of this bar. Coolest. Bar. EVER. A hundred bikers are smashed into this tiny bar yelling and acting like complete bad-asses and causing a ruckus. Simone and I walk in, still in our rain gear of course, and everyone all the sudden loves us. We sit at the bar and order a beer, and several drunk old fat men walk up asking us in the drunkest voices possible “shwwhheeerrre are youuuush ffffrom?” And “howww old are ya giiirlsh?” Over and over again they ask us the same two questions once per minute, as if they never asked us a minute ago. We cheers our beers to young girls, bikers, and freedom about 15 times. This place is so cool! These people are so cool!
Alas, the night winds down and we walk to the supermarket just as they are closing, grab a few snacks, and head back to the motel. Simone’s feet are not looking good. They are swollen and blotchy red, possibly infected, and we have to make a hard decision. We decide to see a clinic, and the only clinic near is in Breckenridge. We need to take a “0” tomorrow to go to the clinic, buy Simome new shoes, a new water filter, and do grocery shopping. Tomorrow we will hitch to Breck, and we will skip the 2 day segment of the trail between Kenosha Pass and Breckenridge. I am saddened by the thought of skipping any part of the trail, but my options are limited: hike on without Simone and meet her back in Breckenridge in 3 days, or wait with her and skip 30 miles of the trail. Our decision is made.
So many crazy things have already happened in only 5 days! We are making the best out of all that comes our way. What will you bring next, Colorado?