Monday, September 2, 2013
Day 76 - Steamboat!
We set our alarm clocks early, and it was off to the races. The walking was easy and pretty, with views of small lakes all the way to the adorably named Rabbit Ears Pass. I thought the pass would be on a major highway, but it was marked simply with a plaque-embossed monolith, on a decommissioned dirt road. When we arrived, Gangles made the obligatory bunny pose, and we pushed on.
Shortly before we hit highway 40, we ran into Steve. Always a pleasure to see our favorite two-time CDTer. He had pitched his tent, and was drying out his things on the decommissioned road in high hobo style. After Rabbit Ears Pass, the CDT is a roadwalk for ~10-15mi, first joining with busy Hwy 40. Steve mentioned his buddy Toek from 2007 waited almost an hour to hitch at this point, on a dangerous curve on Hwy 40. He suggested we walk down to Muddy Gap Pass, and get some of the roadwalk under our belts.
Walking down the highway was terrible. We were at the far edge of the shoulder, and had to jump into the weedy ditch whenever a car approached. On the plus side, there was road construction, which kept the cars down to 45mph instead of the typical 65mph. When we finally made it to the gap, we were lucky to get a ride almost immediately from Sandy, a paddling guide and AT hiker from GA. He was so nice to take us into the post office, which we made with 15m to spare.
We had lunch at the Steamboat farmer's market, noshing on some excellent local foods. The Steamboat food scene is pretty impressive. We had some spanakopita, a burrito, and got caught up on the latest in pastries. We tried a cronut! Croissant-donut mix! It was so delicious, and so obviously bad for my cholesterol that I will probably never eat another one. When I bit into this airy little concoction, a stream of butter dribbled down my wrist. It may be the richest pastry I've ever eaten. The gent who ran the simply named 'Bakery' was fascinated to hear that we were hiking the trail. He kindly insisted we take another cronut--my first cronut trail magic. Alert to neo-classical economists everywhere--the second cronut was just as delicious as the first, debunking the theory of diminishing marginal returns.
Oh, and thanks to Robyn for the thoughtful care package of much needed food and snacks. We'll be dining in high style. Appreciate the love!
We stocked up at the Natural Grocer (think independent Whole Foods) and took the free local bus to our hotel. This is the first and only SPG on the entire trail, and the staff has been wonderful. Though we look homeless, we really aren't. We are just in dire need of shower and laundry. Despite our appearance (and smell), the SPG staff was so gracious and hospitable. Thank you.
Mileage: 10mi from near Lake Elmo to Muddy Gap Pass