Sunday, May 26, 2013

Monday June 14, 2010
Camp 44: Rainbow Motel, South Fork, Colorado
Camp 45: Alder/Palisades Trail

A little catch up…after hiking out of Platoro we had a crazy series of hitches to get to Highway 160.  Because we were in the middle of nowhere and far from the actual CDT we had no idea how or when we would get back on track…but it’s all part of the journey!  The first hitch was about 40 miles in the back of a pick-up truck going entirely in the wrong direction.  We hadn’t studied a map and didn’t realize it at the time.  The man dropped us off at an intersection that was 12 miles from Monte Vista on a deserted old road with no cars. Awesome.  He assured us it got busier and we wouldn’t have a hard time catching a ride…wrong.  We walked a few miles in the warm desert scrub and out of the snowy mountains.  We passed by a house where a man and woman are on their porch.  I asked how far Monte Vista was and the man says he’s heading that way (yes!) so we hopped in the back of his truck.  He dropped us off at the intersection of Hwy 160 and a woman on her cell phone stopped to give us a lift in just a matter of minutes; despite the warning from her mother in law on the other end of the phone!  She took us to Del Norte which is where we luckily got another quick hitch into South Fork with a guy and his 5 year old son.  The little boy told us their life story on the way J  I was shocked at our hitching luck as it could have taken days to get to South Fork.  We got a room at the Rainbow Motel and then headed to the local “outfitter” to look for proper shoes for Eric.  No luck, no shoes in South Fork, Colorado.  So we decided to stop at a bar and have a few cold $1.75 PBR drafts before heading to the steakhouse next door.  These days, food comes way before shower on the priority list, even if they choose to seat us in the closed section of a restaurant!  I’m pretty sure we set a record on consumption with huge steaks, loaded baked potatoes and ice cream to fill in the cracks. We slept like it was our job, grabbed coffee and a burger AND a milkshake at the malt shop before heading out of town.  I may be over my quota for red meat but I can’t say I regret a single bite!  We pieced together some trails which, in theory, would take us to Creede.  So here we are, creating our own adventure, our own trail, our own hike.  It has been a beautiful, quiet walk today and it seems the storms are making their way out so hopefully it will be nice and sunny tomorrow.  What a fun town stop and a crazy turn of events these past few days.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday June 12, 2010

Camp 43: cabin at Skyline Lodge in Platoro, Colorado

We woke to the sound of pelting rain and the occasional drop in the eyeball as the wind shook our single wall tarp tent.  We were both mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.  Yesterday it seemed we couldn’t catch a break and I could only wonder what Mother Nature had in store for today.  Although extremely beautiful, rugged and unique; the southern San Juan’s proved unforgiving.  We both dreaded the stream crossing ahead…if one of us fell in the swift current we would face a large boulder or the dead tree that spanned the stream.  After packing up I took a look at the terrain to see if we could go off trail and stay high instead of crossing the stream at that particular spot.  It looked like a possibility so we decided to give it a shot.  We found an old use trail and were able to traverse the mountainside fairly easily.  We then made our way down to the river where it soon opened up into a wide beautiful canyon.  The grey sky had given way to blue and big puffy white clouds.  The river was wide, snaking through the canyon while waterfalls plummeted from the walls.  We looked up at the mountain that we had been on top of yesterday.  It was snow covered and a huge storm cloud still loomed above.  Things were looking up and we both breathed a sigh of relief.  We had made it down in one piece.  We still had to cross the river so we could catch the trail on the other side which would eventually lead to a reservoir.  It looked fairly easy and didn’t seem to be flowing as fast but it was wide and high.  Eric crossed first and I wasn’t far behind.  I watched as the water went above his knees and his rain pants created more drag than expected.  I was trying to stay upright and steadily making my way across as Eric scrambled up the bank.  I was so close but the water had risen to my hips and the swift current had me shaking.  I knew if I fell with full pack it would be tough to recover.  I inched my way closer and finally reached the edge.  Eric grabbed my pack and hoisted me up.  We exploded into laughter as I looked up and said, “huh, it looked a little easier than that!”  As always, it was a reminder to never let your guard down out here.  That’s when you get into trouble!  We pushed on to connect with a flat meandering trail that skirted the edge of the river.  It was nice to be mindlessly walking and chatting.  It almost seemed too easy!  We soon found ourselves at a trailhead with parked cars!  We looked at a map and a fisherman walked by and we started chatting.  He was fishing with his brothers so the three of them took us to nearby Sky Line Lodge in historic Platoro, Colorado.  Apparently it was once a bustling little town but now a simple lodge with cabins, a store and café.  Being a gateway to the San Juan Wilderness it brought in a lot of fisherman and hikers.  We thanked the guys and waved goodbye before making our way to the café to grab some warm food.  We sat in an exhausted daze as we finished our burgers and chatted with surrounding tables about the trail.  Everyone was extremely nice and had tons of questions about what in the heck we were doing!  After another beer we agreed to splurge on a cabin and hot shower and decide what to do tomorrow.  An employee gave us a ride to our cabin on his 4-wheeler so we wouldn’t have to walk! It seemed funny but my feet were thankful for the hospitality.  I just showered and did some sink laundry and I am just sitting here and it feels beyond amazing.  The wind is howling outside our door and the ominous sky promises another storm.  The locals say a cold front is moving through but it should clear in a couple days.  For now, all I know is I am inside, protected from the elements, warm and smelling of soap!  What a crazy trail so far and with each day Eric and I grow a little closer.  Sometimes I wonder how that can even be possible but with all of the craziness, the extreme highs and lows and never knowing what to expect, it makes us a stronger team.  We trust each other with our lives each and every day and push forward, knowing that anything can happen but together we will get through it.  It’s simply amazing to share that.