Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 97: Into the San Juans!

Colorado has been a state of extremes: spectacular vistas, terrible wet weather, and some of the best towns on the trail. Yesterday was our only day in CO without rain. Granted, we were in the lowlands in Salida, so it is possible it rained on the Divide. Even so, I'll take it!

Today, we begin the section known as the "San Juans" even though we don't enter for the San Juans for a few days. We started by finishing the last few miles up to Monarch Pass, to connect our footsteps from where we were kicked off by the film crew.

At Monarch Pass, I came across the local Porsche club out on a joyride. Seeing these well-heeled people zipping around in Italian sports cars made me feel extra like a hobo. Then, I really hoboed it up by lingering in the store to warm up from the chilly weather. The store also had a mini-museum with moth-eaten taxidermy animals common in the area.

From Monarch Pass, we set off South, following the Colorado Trail. This is an especially popular section for mountain bikers, as we were warned by Ted, who we met in the Wind River Range. Sobos, be warned, the weekends may be busy with bikes.

The views were lovely today, with clear vistas all around as we traversed the ridge. We saw a few people on foot, most notably a trio of hunters (father, two sons) from Green Bay, WI. The father was agog that we were walking from Canada, and insisted on shaking our hands, and taking both solo photos and photos with his sons. He kept insisting that we would be famous someday. I'm not sure having a blog which my mom reads makes us famous. But he kept saying that it took something to walk across the country, and that something would make us famous.

The day was otherwise uneventful, except that it did seem as though it might not rain! The forecast called for 20% chance, but we were hit with rain in the afternoon, and again as the sun was setting. You win again, Colorado.

However, the worst weather is expected tomorrow, including snow, lightning, and strong gusts. However, the day after is supposed to be sunny and clear. I'm a little worried about tomorrow's storm, but if we make it through that, I think we'll be in fine shape for the rest of the stretch.

p.s., Crossed a lean-to today, reminiscent of an AT shelter. One of the few on the CDT.

Mileage: 21mi from shy of Monarch Pass to beyond Windy Pass

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