Daily Miles: 16
Total Miles: 238
The rain came back overnight and was still sprinkling when our alarms went off. We started packing up under our hammock tarps (a big benefit of hammocking – you get to pack everything up under the dry tarp). By the time we were ready to take our tarps down, the rain had stopped…perfect timing!
Our walk started off like a lovely stroll through a ponderosa pine forest. Gentle rolling hills and nice views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The sky was still grey, but we could see bits of blue off in the distance.
In the morning, we came upon a woman and her young grandson who were out for about ten days on the trail. They were hiking with llamas, which we always find so interesting. It is kind of funny to see the llamas just chilling out in the woods.
We passed by Rick and Dina breaking camp. We talked with them for a few minutes and then continued on, knowing they would catch up to us soon enough.
We took several breaks, and gave some attention to SweetPea’s hip. It wasn’t feeling as bad today, since the trail was pretty mild. It was nice to have a break from the steep ups and downs from the past few days.
We passed a big Boy Scout group from Missouri who were finishing up a five day backpacking trip. We also passed our second north-bound CT hiker. He said the southern end of the trail in the San Juan mountains was full of snow and super difficult. We’re figuring that we will be in the San Juans about a month later than him, so hopefully the snow won’t be a problem. Even though the Collegiate East Route we chose to take hasn’t been particularly notable, we’ve been thankful that we haven’t had any snow to deal with.
We ended up hiking the last few hours with Rick and Dina to the road and then they gave us a ride into Salida. For the second time on the CT, we got turned away from a hostel, even though we called six days ago to reserve a room. It was pretty frustrating, but we ended up getting a room in a hotel which is quite nice and comfortable.
We went out to dinner with Rick and Dina and had a great time talking with them. One of our favorite parts of hiking is all the different people we meet. It is interesting how so many people we meet seem to have stories and experiences involving things we have been discussing recently… topics ranging from AirBnB to Croatia. It is weird how people cross paths with you at different times.
We are looking forward to having a zero day tomorrow. The plan is then for Beardoh to hike the Collegiate West trail for three days while SweetPea rests in Salida. This will give Beardoh a chance to hike at his full pace for a few days. SweetPea has said though, that if the CW Route is truly spectacular, and she is feeling good at the end of the trail, she might want to hike it also. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.