8/18: 20.9 mi (1463.9 – 1482.8 + 2mi fire alternate)
We awoke to an awesome sunrise, and then it was downhill…very downhill, to coffee. Steep and rocky with no switchbacks, made for tedious foot work to keep from descending out of control.
Today was the day we would finish our third state of the CDT, Wyoming. Today we cross into Colorado. Breakfast in Wyoming and lunch in Colorado. Pretty cool we thought. There’s something special and invigorating about walking from one state to another.
Even better is coming upon impromptu trail magic. Just as we exited the single track trail, we came upon Mark, who, with his red truck and mountain bike, had “escaped” California, and the smoke from it’s fires.
He was on a lengthy camping/cycling/fishing trip. We talked at length about his, and our travels. He shared fresh fruit, and much needed water with us. He told us about the devastation the fires had near his home. It was when his cousin, around his age, who had completed a portion of the PCT died recently, that he realized life was short and he’d always wanted to do a “drive about” and see other states. We agreed that life is short and that’s why we take on the adventures we do.
Eventually it was time to get moving and make our way down the wide forest road, that was shared with massive logging trucks. Needless to say we have them wide berth when we heard them coming.
Forest road led to single track forest trail, and finally to our much anticipated Wyoming/Colorado border. No fan fare. No one to greet us, except maybe a curious doe, who wanted us to share our lunch with her.
Our foray and excitement into Colorado was somewhat thwarted, as at mile 1482.8 we had to begin an alternate path to skirt a fire closure. This entailed taking two forest roads to Hwy 129, and into Steamboat Springs.
Colorado also “welcomed” us with our first real rain of the hiking season. We donned our rain jackets and hoisted our umbrellas, but the rain became so intense that we had to duck under a stand of trees for nearly an hour, before venturing back on trail.
Because we were on a temporary alternate, we had no water information. We did however discover a spring nearly a mile into the alternate. It was more of a seep, but we were able to improve it, in true “hiker trash” ingenuity, so that collecting water would be infinitely easier.
We knew a storm was brewing, and we were hoping to get into Steamboat Springs before it let loose. In true 2moremiles fashion, we had no such luck.
We had barely set up our tent on an old (unused) spur road off FSR 500 when the skies turned black and the wind began to roar…and then, the deluge began. The rain and wind did it’s best to punch it’s way through my side of our tent’s vestibule. Thunder rumbled for hours as flashes of lightning accented the night…and the interior of our tent.
8/19: FSR 500-550 to Hwy 129
The alarm went off at it’s usual ungodly hour. No audible signs of rain, even though a good portion of my sleeping bag and gear stowed inside was damp. (Paul’s side was nearly dry) I was thankful that I had decided before the deluge began to pull my pack inside the tent and stow it at my feet. Otherwise, everything would have been a sopping muddy mess.
Reluctantly we packed in a hurry and began our march to Hwy 129 via FSR 550. Gray skies threatened as we walked, and then fulfilled upon their “promise”. It rained. The wind blew fiercely. We kept walking, not only to keep ourselves “warm”, but also because we knew it was only going to get worse. We stopped twice. Once to make coffee, in a tired attempt to warm up, and the second time, when we came upon a Forest Service bathroom, that was warm and dry…to put on an additional layer of dry clothing.
Fully drenched and now road walking down Hwy 129 several miles past Columbine, a couple from Salida Colorado, picked us up and gave us a ride in the back of their pick-up truck, we were so pathetic. They took us a few miles down the road to where they were headed out for a hike, and where it was NOT raining.
From there, Katie picked us up and brought us all the way into Steamboat Springs, where we had packages to pick up at the post office.
She recommended Loco Taco Mexican Grill for quality Mexican food (of which we were craving), and The Rabbit Ears Motel. It was centrally located to where we needed to be.
8/19-20 Zero Miles!
We lounged and ate our way through Steamboat Springs and even caught the last weekend of the Steamboat Rodeo for an evening of entertainment. We even went to the Big Agnes outlet store in hopes of finding a bigger version of our tent (Tiger Wall UL2). No three person version available, but we did find out that if we contact BA, they often do trade-in, or trade ups of their products. We send them our TWUL2 and they will evaluate it’s condition, and allow us to apply that to, let’s say a Tiger Wall UL3. Pretty cool!
Resupply completed. Packages forwarded, and some articles sent home, we were ready to get back on trail, and see what Colorado has to offer.