Daily Miles: 21
Total Miles: 222
When the alarm went off at 5am this morning, it felt like a shock. We both got a good night of sleep, but it is still dark at 5am, so it was harder to wake up.
We had camped close to a trailhead last night, so we were happy to be able to use the privy and the black top for stretching before we hit the trail.
The trail was pretty mild today. Beardoh stopped at an early stream to do laundry for both of us while SweetPea kept walking. Her hip was still really bothering her today, so we started to discuss possible scenarios once we arrive in Salida tomorrow. We had been planning to take a zero day in Salida, but SweetPea feels like she needs more than one day of rest for her hip. We’re going to wait until we get to town before we make any decisions, but getting extra rest for SweetPea is a definite.
When Beardoh was catching back up to SweetPea after laundry, he saw the first bear of the trip. The bear was off the trail, ripping the bark off a downed tree with its claws. It didn’t seem like the bear noticed Beardoh as he went by.
The only CT hikers we talked with today, was Rick as he rode by on his bike, and Jukebox who is hiking part of the trail. We talked with Rick for awhile and hopefully we’ll have dinner with him and Dina tomorrow night in Salida.
After about 11 miles, we came out into a dirt road. It was a bit steep and sandy, and we joked that this was the slickest trail so far. We stayed on that dirt road until it became paved and then continued until we reached Mount Princeton Hot Springs. We knew that lunch only ran until 2pm, so we were trying to get there in time, and as it turned out, we made it with lots of time to spare.
The folks at Mt Princeton were super welcoming! As soon as we walked in the front door, they welcomed us, asked about the trail, put our bags in a secure location, got our phones charging, brought us bottles of water, and offered us fruit and hot drinks. We were so surprised after the very UN- welcoming reception we had gotten in Leadville (our last town stop).
We had a nice lunch at the restaurant and then relaxed in their comfy couches and chatted with Jukebox for awhile. We picked up a few snacks from the store and decided it was time to hit the trail. It was sprinkling when we headed out, but didn’t think too much about it. It sprinkles most days, but rarely comes to anything worth putting a rain jacket on for. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes into our walk, it started to downpour and didn’t let up for over an hour. We were walking roads for most of that time, and we’re hoping for a privy to take shelter in when we arrived at the trailhead, but there wasn’t any, so we decided to just keep walking.
Once we were on the trail, the rain started to let up. Beardoh is really digging his poncho/tarp he made before the trail (SweetPea likes to call it his princess mini-dress). SweetPea was getting jealous of the poncho as so much of her clothes were wet from the rain.
Shortly before we stopped for the night, we came across a big group of hikers. There was also a large event-style tent set up. We saw such a thing a few days ago and figured they were setting up an aide station for a race. But it turns out, that they are a guiding company leading 5 day supported hikes of the CT. We talked with a few of the hikers who said they were doing about 70 miles over the five days. We also talked to one of the leaders who was really nice and gave us some water. It was interesting to see such an enterprise existing.
We walked on for maybe ten more minutes and then set up camp. We stopped at 6pm, which is pretty early for us. But it was nice to have time to hang out, and best of all there were no mosquitoes! Now it is nice to be in dry clothes, snuggled up in our sleeping bags. We are looking forward to getting into town tomorrow, and are already talking about the chips and dip we want to eat!