Forest Rd 380 to Highway 160- 12 Miles
Total Miles: 731.9
Elevation: 7,320 feet
What a difference a day can make. After we made our decision to bail on the high route through the San Juans life has really improved. This is not how I imagined this hike going, but on the cdt you have to be flexible. I didn’t get much sleep last night. My mind was working overtime trying to figure out how to proceed from here. I don’t feel like I can hike any farther into Colorado right now. I don’t want to just sit in town and wait for the snow to melt. I’m considering a complicated flip flop. A flip flop is where you move(flip) to a different section of the trail, hike that section, then go back to where you left off(flop) and continue hiking again. I was up most of the night weighing my options. The only thing I had figured out this morning was that I was really tired because I didn’t sleep.
Mangas and I left camp at 5 am so we could get to town early. It was another cold morning, but with the prospect of town ahead of us we didn’t seem to mind. Since we were out of the cold, wet, snowy ground we really weren’t that cold. The miles seemed to fly by. We hiked to highway 160 by 9:15. From there we had a 35 mile hitch into town. Turtle got to the road over an hour ahead of us and had no luck getting a ride. It is well known that women hikers have better luck securing a hitch so the guys hung back and I stepped up to the road. We waited about another 45 minutes before a pickup truck finally stopped. Mangas and I rode in the front of the truck and Turtle jumped into the bed. The man who gave us a ride, I can’t remember his name, was really nice. We chatted amicably for the drive into town.
Elk posing for the camera
Middle stage of beetle kill on this pine tree
Pretty hike for a gravel road
Once into town we immediately found a place for breakfast. If you ever find yourself in Pagosa Springs, CO for breakfast I highly recommend The Rose. The staff was friendly, the portions were ginormous, and for a resort town the prices were fair. I ordered my favorite breakfast meal, a burrito. I also wanted some hash browns so I ordered a side as well. When my breakfast burrito was delivered I was shocked to see that it was the size of a newborn baby. I am proud to say that after 5 days of decreased calories, extremely hard physical workouts, and cold temperatures my hiker hunger kicked in big time. I ate the whole burrito and most of the giant plate of hash browns.
Normal sized fork for scale
Once our hunger was satisfied we went in search of lodging. Turtle and I had different priorities for lodging than Mangas. Turtle and I split a room so price wasn’t as much of a concern, but we wanted onsite laundry. Mangas got his own room so a cheaper price was key. We ended up about 2 blocks away from each other. It is with great sadness that I have to announce that Mangas has officially called it quits on his section hike. He had originally planned on hiking through Colorado, but with these conditions and being a local he can come back out when things improve. I will really miss his company, zen like attitude, and encyclopedic knowledge.
Mangas on day 1
After we checked in to the hotel we got our laundry started and I made some phone calls. My parents sounded very relieved to hear from me. I tried to assure them that I was fine, just humbled and a little shaken from my recent experiences. Turtle and I, with help from Mangas started to develop a plan to move forward. When I have a better idea of what we decide I will let you know. We planned while our laundry finished and then went out to a brewery for dinner. The Riff Raff brewery was pretty darn good. I had a few delicious jalapeño margaritas. The menu had a theme going from the movie The Big Lebowski. I had The Dude burger and added a Walter. It was a burger with cheddar cheese, carmelized onions, garlic aioli, and bacon. Making it a Walter added bbq shredded pork. It was fantastic. We also split some bbq pork nachos. Dinner really hit the spot.
Trail cairn in front of a message parlor that uses marijuana infused oils. We are definitely in Colorado
The rest of the night went by quickly. Turtle and I have really been studying our maps to come up with a viable option to move forward safely. Hopefully tomorrow I can update you with a fully fledged plan.
"Unfortunately, we can never truly know if we're making the right decision. What we do know is that wherever we are, that's where the Light wants us to be. It's the best place for us to be now. And as long as we don't try to control the situation, then we won't end up in the place we shouldn't be."