Somehow we have managed to make it halfway through Colorado to Leadville. Leadville is the highest town in the USA at 10 152ft. It’s a neat town with an old mining culture. I could stay here for awhile, but with Old Man Winter nipping at our heels, it’s time to move on. As you can see, we have been incredibly lucky with weather thus far (for the most part). See for yourself:
Being November, we spend many hours each day hiking in the dark. Mostly we hike to a predetermined spot on the map, just so we get the right mileage. Sometimes it’s a shock in the morning when we see where we are…
When planning trips, we never factor in lost time. Time when you wander off the beaten path and thrash your way up mountainsides, cursing your stupidity. However, no one is perfect. Every one, at times, gets lost. Or gets lost twice, badly, through snow at -20C, and lose a tooth filling in the process. All on the same day. In the end, it’s all part of the adventure. Or at least, you hope.
Some how, Jake and I are 1/4 of the way through Colorado. Huzzah! Here are some pics of the last week:
The halfway point.
Going up Parkview Mountain.
The Never Summer Mountain Range of Colorado, eh? I beg to differ!
A Crown Royal Welcome, that is. Everything can change in an instant on this trail, usually the best things happen in less than 5 minutes. A few days ago, we were walking down the highway to avoid a piece of private property on the divide. A truck slowed beside us. Turned out it was the owner of the land. “What the hell are you guys still doing here?! Pick it up! You’re way behind!” We just smiled and nodded. We get it all the time. “You guys want a shot?” And so, we had shots of Crown Royal beside the highway. After a few minutes he left, and Jake and I continued down the road.
Three minutes later, the same truck came back. “Do you want to come stay on my ranch? Although I have hunters there right now, it doesn’t matter. I’m the boss and what I say, goes. You guys can have your own cabin”. Um say WHAT?!
We jumped in the back on the truck (where we certainly discovered that they were indeed hunters. Deer blood was everywhere, or at least we hoped it was deer…). Brad (or Bradass as he liked to be called) would stop every few minutes to point things out to us about his land. It turned out Brad was also a hunting guide and took clients out to hunt elk on his land. For $6000 you can stay at his ranch. Apparently his ranch is kind of a big deal, even the president of the NRA is coming next month. While he drove, a client was in the truck, drunk out of his mind, but apparently he was a millionaire from Texas and could do whatever the hell he wanted. He tipped well.
And so, Brad took us back to his ranch, gave us a cabin, a shower, and fed us roast pork and french toast. The chef, Ken, weighed our packs down with all the leftovers. They lasted us three days. We ate and drank with guests paying $6000 to be there. They all wanted to hear our stories and couldn’t believe we didn’t carry a gun.
The next day, Brad took us back to where he picked us up, so we could continue. But not before leaving a little treat for us up the road…Thanks for everything Bradass! We will never forget the experience! And if anyone wants to splurg and go on a hunting holiday, check this out: http://bearmountainranch.com
For over a month, Jake and I have passed dead and withered plants. And now snow. However, every once in awhile we pass some colour, and it warms the heart.
Even though it is the end of October, amazingly some life still hangs on in the alpine, sticking it to Old Man Winter. Every few days we pass a blue bell ignoring the frost, and arnicas still brilliant yellow amongst a sea of brown. These flowers are kinda like us – the hiking season is over, but we still carry on. Although summer is gone, it doesn’t mean that summer is truly gone. SE Hinton had it right – Just stay gold Ponyboy, stay gold…
And so we crossed the Great Basin Red Desert. The divide gets weird here, it splits and does a circle. What happens to the water in the middle? No idea…It was strange to go right from the Winds and lots and lots of water to sand and dust. However, it was still interesting (In a I’mneverdoingthatagain sort of way)…
The Oregon Trail.
The California Trail.
To pass the time (flatness and sage brush is only interesting for so long) we knitted. I made two hats! However, we did knit ourselves through an intersection and missed a turning. How embarrassing. ..
Oh look. I can see three days away. Yay!
And where we were last week.
A foot shot. I’m bored.
The final miles into Rawlins. An oasis town.
How we look after 40 miles (65 km) of desert walking. After this shot was taken, we passed out in a road ditch. It was the best ditch I’ve ever slept in.
From the moment we stepped onto the CDT we have heard about the Winds. It is everyone’s favorite. And I think it might have been ours. Just have a look:
A jackolope (world’s largest!) in Duboise. The town before the Winds.
Hunting is kind of a big deal here.
Entering the Winds. I don’t think we’re in sage brush country anymore, Toto.
Did I mention how high they are? Giants! This is on the summit of Winifred Peak – 12 700ft. That’s higher than this:
And 200 ft less than Mount Robson. Say WHAT!?
Summit of Winifred Peak with American Legion to the right.
See the snowy peak in the background – that’s Gannett Peak, it’s a 13 000er AND the highest point in Wyoming.
Climbing Baldy Pass.
Gannett Peak again on the left.
Group summit shot. Jake pointing out his baldness on baldy… (roll eyes).
Summit of Texas Pass and entering the Cirque of the Towers. Wow! Just wow!
Cirque of the Towers.
Jake and the Towers.
Looking towards a stormy future.
Summit of East Temple Peak.
Our last day in the Winds.
Nevertheless, the good times didn’t end there. We found two beers in a stream. Sure they were covered in algae and faded. But they still tasted amazing.
Our ride into Lander during a blizzard. They didn’t have room for both Jake and myself inside, so we took turns being outside. I think I put on every single piece of clothing I owned afterwards.
Well folks we are 21 miles (and halfway done the CDT! YEEHAW!) from the Colorado border and it’s time we share our adventures in Wyoming. First with Jellystone…
It was great to be amongst so much hot water. Yellowstone isn’t breathtaking. It’s rather flat and lots of it burnt down in 1988, so the trees are small. But it’s pleasant nevertheless. It’s also the oldest national park in the world.
Unfortunately all sunshine and lollipops must one day end…
This is the first body of water we have forded in 500 miles. There just haven’t been “rivers”. Ah. I’ve missed water.
Neat! Good thing we aren’t following this to the Atlantic…yikes! However, Mexico is further than the Pacific. Oh dear…
Tip-toeing through willows and mud. A main feature in Yellowstone.
Did I mention that I love Yellowstone? Natural hotsprings! We even cooked dinner in one – hamburger helper (minus the hamburger, so really just helper). I think I’m staying here for winter…
Mike and Janet even came for a visit. We even did more hot river swimming. It was superb!
They even brought their trailer. And so we became one of “those” people. Thanks for the visit Mike and Janet! We had a great time and may have even gained a pound (or five)!
This may have helped the weight gain…
Thanks for the Good Times Jellystone!