Aug 28th-31st, 2019
Salida provided the perfect rest day for the crew. To celebrate Katie’s birthday we had dinner at The Boathouse Cantina. We enjoyed good food and shared stories of our adventure while watching the Arkansas River flow by. Following dinner we soaked our swollen feet in the cool water of the river. To cap off the day we sang happy birthday and enjoyed a berry pie that Torsten had secretly picked up at the market.
The following day we got a LYFT back to the trailhead. With the three of us the ride was surprisingly reasonable and our driver was very entertaining to talk to.
In theory hitch hiking is one of the easiest things to do. You stand on the side of the road, preferable close to a pullout where cars can safely stop, and you smile at oncoming traffic while giving them your most enthusiastic thumbs up. At which point oncoming drivers smile back, pull into the pullout, and offer you a ride. In practice it doesn’t always work out that way. On our final day we woke early and pushed the pace in order to get to highway 114 with plenty of time to catch a ride into Gunnison, where we’d be picking up a rental car for the drive back to Denver. The holiday weekend traffic made our chances of catching a ride very promising. Car after car sped by without giving us a second glance. After an hour our optimism began to wain. After two hours pessimism prevailed. After three hours it began to feel hopeless. Our hopelessness manifested as snide comments for every car that passed. Finally a black pickup truck approached. Pickup trucks are every hitchhiker’s dream. They are a perfect way for someone to transport stinky hikers, without having to fill their cab with the stench of hiker. The truck sped by without stopping and we muttered after it “douche…thanks for nothing”. Our mean comments turned out to be very premature, as just a few minutes later that same black truck came barreling into the pullout next to us. Dust kicked up around the truck and a friendly guy yelled out the window, “hop in kids”. We were ecstatic!
Our second section of the Colorado trail was complete. Over 14 days the three of us completed another 171 miles of the trail. With 300 miles now complete we had just 182 miles to hike before we’d be officially done with the Colorado Trail! We picked up our rental car at the airport in Gunnison and made our way back to Denver, where the following day we’d be catching flights home. That evening we celebrated with good food and cold beers at a local brewery. Another successful trip in the books!