Day 51 - welcome to mosquito country (32.0 miles)
June 29, 2021
Miles: 32.0 miles
I did it. I wanted to wake up at 4:30am and I did. I knew I had to wake up early and get hiking just as it was light enough because I had a 11.5 mile paved road walk on a somewhat busy highway.
It was very cold when I got up. I had frost on part of my rain fly but didn’t seem that cold inside my tent.
I got moving just as it was light enough. I wanted cool weather as it would normally be a warm road walk but not that cold. I kept my gloves and jacket on for about 9 miles.
I got to the where I leave the highway around 8:20am, took me right out 3 hours to hike the 11.5 miles.
Now the hard part of hitching 20 miles into Steamboat Springs early in the morning. Took about 25 minutes and 25 cars to pass before someone stopped.
A very nice package delivery guy picked me up. The only thing was he had to make some deliveries before he could drop me off by the grocery store. I figured this was my best bet and all the delivers were on the way, or so he thought. There was some road construction and he was on a timed scheduled so after the 3rd stop I was about a 1.5 miles from McDonalds and he was going in the opposite direction. I thanked him and walked to get breakfast.
I got the big deluxe breakfast of pancakes, sausage, biscuit, hash-browns and eggs. Also order another sausage biscuit. One of the main reasons to stopping at McDonald’s was because they have very good wifi plus lots of outlets to charge my stuff. Got all my pictures and videoed uploaded. Also got to FaceTime with my dad. Since I was there so long I ended up having a hamburger.
Then it was off to Walmart down the road to resupply. Got about 2.5 days of food to get me to Wyoming.
As I was finishing up packing up all my gear in front of Walmart and ready to start walking to the road to hitch a man saw me and asked if I was hiking. I told him I was hiking the CDT. He then asked if I wanted a ride back to the trail, which I said yes. He told me to wait 10 minutes and would be back.
The guy was very nice as he has hiked all around the area. He told me a lot of what to expect on trail. I got very lucky with this ride. I figured it would be like trying to hitch out of Pagosa Springs, lots of cars but no one wanting to pick up a stranger. I find the smaller the town the easier the hitch.
Got back to trail pretty close to when I wanted to. I was very thankful to the guy and I was off, trying for about 20 more miles to go with my early morning miles. I knew it was doable as I had mainly flat trails for awhile. However I knew I wouldn’t be able to hike that pace from this morning but should be able to hike about 3.2-3.5 mph.
It’s a good thing I wanted to hike that far as there was no time to stop. Anytime I tried to take a break I would get swarmed by mosquitos. It’s no surprised as it was thick forest with lots and lots of snow melt ponds, perfect for them.
About half way I ran into a group of girls who were looking for a specific lake to camp at. I talked with the leaders but couldn’t find it on my map. I told them there were plenty of lakes and ponds ahead. After walking away I think I saw their lake, they had passed it by about half a mile.
By now I was starting to get pretty tired and wanted a break but didn’t want to deal with those mosquitos. Then I saw on my map a campground with a pit toilet. I figured the wide open space might have less of the flying insects so I got moving. By now I’m starting to notice how dark it’s getting. I figured the rain with scary off the mosquitos. I got to the campground and within 5 minutes it starts to rain and hail a little. Luckily there was a little shelter underneath the pit toilet building. So I waited the storm out then started hiking the 4 miles to camp.
Soon after leaving another storm starts rolling in with thunder. It appeared it was passing over and the thunder stopped for awhile.
Right before camp the sun was starting to set but I wasn’t in the best spot, behind too many trees but it was still pretty cool. It looked like the trees were on fire.
About a quarter of a mile from camp the thunder started back up along with lighting. I went searching for a good spot before the storm got closer. There were some nice spots along the cliffs but figured not a smart spot. Found some tree cover and got my tent up before the rain started.
Not sure how far I’ll go tomorrow. I may even sleep in.