Now in Grand Lake, Hailey’s arrival coming quickly, I had to figure out how to use the next couple days productively – i.e. could I hike out of town and still be somewhere useful when she arrived. The answer turned out to be “somewhat”. I couldn’t really get to the next town, but there were some roads that came near the trail high in the mountains. I talked to a ranger and ruled out some of them (a rental car wasn’t going to cut it on some of the roads). Complicating my decision was that I knew Chance’s parents were coming into town, and could probably drive and pick us up on some shorter day-hikes. In the end, the fact that it was still pouring rain made me decide not to do anything, just hang around town for the day and eat.
I finally met Gadget, a hiker who has been out in front of everyone the whole trip, and been posting sometimes useful info to his internet journal about trail conditions. He’s an older guy who used to work for Microsoft, so we had lots to talk about. We had lunch and then ran into Chance and Lucky Joe coming in from the trail (cold and wet). Chance said his parents were delayed, so that killed any possibility of doing hiking that day. Instead, we all went over to the cabin his parents had rented and Chance made us a big dinner later in the evening when his parents showed up. Kevin and Piper also rolled into town in time for a late dinner.
The next morning Chance made us breakfast and then his mom drove us out to the trail south of town. Chance’s dad hiked with us and we walked back to town by mid-afternoon. The trail actually turned out to be pretty horrible – it was on a ridge above a big lake and totally swamped with blown-down trees. There were large parts where it was impossible to even find the trail under all the trees, so I got lost a fair bit. My legs got totally scratched up hoping over the trees, and then I jammed a big toe later, so that nail is going to come off eventually. After that the trail levelled out and we were able to get moving. Even without my big pack on I can only go so fast, and the hike dragged a bit as it wound through forest. The views out over the lake improved at the end though and it was great to walk back into town and go directly to a restaurant 🙂
I checked into a motel and waited for Hailey to show up, which she did right around dark. We were both really tired and were asleep by 9:30pm.
Date: Sept 7-8, 2011
Daily Distance: 13.5 miles
Trip Distance: 1498 miles