A zero in Leadville and back to Twin Lakes

Day 13, 7/20
Miles: 0

The Leadville Hostel is the type of place that instantly feels like home. It has Christmas lights wrapped around an arch to welcome you onto the property, tables and chairs and benches are set up in the yard and on the front porch, a giant peace sign is lit up out front. You walk in the front door and the living room is cozy and nice, with comfy couches to choose from, a flat screen tv, chairs, blankets, and inviting decor. The kitchen is open for all to use, a coffee pot is always ready for a fresh brew, and the dining area has a large table for family style meals. Downstairs, another comfortable living room area has wrap around couches, another flat screen tv, books, and anything else you might need to relax. Behind the couch you will find a pool table open for anyone to play.

We immediately love this hostel and want to stay for longer than just one night. We take care of business first- laundry, shower, unpack/organize backpack. I don’t have cell service, but the hostel offers free wifi, so I communicate with my family through iMessage, update blogs, and check email and Facebook. We spend the rest of the afternoon socializing with the others in the house, and enjoying the company of fellow CT thru hikers and new friends.

Simone and I ride the bikes provided by the hostel down to a burger joint, I stuff my face with a bacon guacamole burger and fries. Back at home we curl up on the couch for a few to visit a bit more, and eventually tuck ourselves into bed. A real bed. Such a luxury.

I wake, so comfortable and relaxed in this soft bed inside this dark, warm room. I check the time, it’s 9:30. I slept in! Thank God! It feels so good to sleep in and have no responsibilities. To not have to force myself out of a sleeping bag into the cold morning air, take time and energy to pack up camp, then take even more time and energy to walk all day long. Today we have nothing to do. And it feels soo good.

Simone let’s me know she’s a wake by whispering across the room “Bri, I’m hungry”, and that’s that. We decide not to stay another night at the hostel even though we are dying to, so we strip our beds and pack our packs, leaving them by the pool table, then head down to a diner with another CT thru hiker. I order blueberry pancakes, hash browns and bacon. The pancakes are LITERALLY the size of the plate, no joke. I manage to eat a little less then half, which is awesome cause now I have lunch ready for me.

We decide to leave the hostel at 4 to hitch back to Twin Lakes. We figure we can walk a few miles to get a head start for the morning. We say goodbye, saddened to leave this place that already feels like home. The hostel mom let’s us make a sign out of a pizza box that says “Twin Lakes pleeeease :)”.

So here we are walking down the street towards the end of downtown, where we are going to hitch from, when we hear some guy yelling behind us. We turn around and he’s waving us over to his car. Okay?

“I saw your sign! I’m going to Aspen!” The man yells.

Hell yeah, we didn’t even have to hitch! Thank God for pizza boxes! We hop in and it turns out the nice people in the car all work together and they are driving to Aspen for a photo shoot. We spend the car ride quoting Dumb and Dumber- It’s only fitting, seeing that they are driving to Aspen, and they picked up hitch hikers.

Back at Twin Lakes we eat some more food from the store- a hot pocket and an ice cream sandwich, to be exact- then we head out to the road for a 2 mile road walk. After looking at the map we figured out an easier route around the lakes, which will get us back to the trail about 3 miles sooner, and will avoid the 2 mile, non-maintained trail we used to get down into Twin Lakes yesterday. Within 3 minutes a man pulls over in a truck and offers us a ride, which we gladly take, and before we know it we are at our destination for the night without having to walk at all.

We sent up camp, discussing how amazing of a day it was. The perfect zero, we decide. Sleeping in, eating delicious food, relaxing, hanging out with new friends. What could be better? Two men are camped close by, and we end up visiting and eventually they invite us over to their campsite to warm up by the fire. As it turns out, these awesome guys bought a one-way plane ticket to the tip of South America, and they hiked, bused, and hitched their way back to the US over the course of 8 months. These guys are really cool. We spend the rest of the evening picking their brains about the crazy adventures they’ve been on, laughing, swapping stories, and enjoying their company. Before we know it it’s 11:30, which is insanely late for us hikers, so we say goodnight, march back to our tent, and drift off to dreamland almost instantly.

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