131 to Leadville
We woke up and waited about an hour and sure enough Christian showed up. He told us the whole story of how he left his bag and had to go back and get it. He couldn’t make it to our camp before it got dark so he sleep right up on the pass.
The walk in the morning dropped us down into meadows and sagebrush. Because of all the rain we’ve been getting everything is lush and green. A cowboy and his dog are riding around a heard of sheep. We stay near him for almost a mile or so. We pass by the 10th mountain division military barracks from World War Two which still sit right on the Colorado Trail. They’re all graffitied with “Cops ruin lives.” Which have then augmented by others to say “Cops ruin lives of criminals.” We take a break on a bridge near the barracks and soak up some sun. I managed to contact Twinkle Toes and he’s arranged to get me tonight when we reach Leadville. Not a Chance will be with him too!!
The rest of the day is hiking through the lush and very scenic meadows all the way to Tennessee Pass. Just before then I run into a hiker northbound CDT hiker who say, “Hey! Don’t I know you? Sheriff Woody, right?” Sure am! Turns out the hiker is a guy named Ledge who I ran into last year on the Arizona Trail near Pine! The trail world is so small. We chat for a bit and then move on. We get to Tennessee pass and there is a good amount of traffic there. Should be an easy hitch. Just a few minutes after we stand there with our thumbs out, a van pulls over and a guy gets out. He seems excited to pick up hitch hikers but then has some sort of internal conflict. He says he needs to go ask his wife and mother if it’s okay to take us. But before he even does that he says, “Yeaaaa I don’t know if I can. It’s just, I don’t think they’d want me to.” We say it’s okay and he drives off. Why even pull over? After getting blue balled it takes us 45 minutes to finally get a ride. Turns out it’s a lady we passed earlier today while hiking near the barracks! We had chatted for awhile there and she remembered us. Easy ride into Leadville.
Once in town out first priority was food. We find a subway and gorge ourselves and utilize the wifi. Gordon goes to buy food and comes back with some cards as well. We play rummy until it is time for them to head back to trail. This is where I get off for now. Twinkle is going to meet me at the subway at 6 pm and I’ve got lots of time to kill. I say farewell to my friends and then head to the Leadville Hostel where I have a resupply box. I get there and chat with the caretaker for about a half hour and then go to a coffee shop to charge my gear and use wifi until it’s time to get picked up. I head to the subway and soon after Twinkle and Chance show up! Some big hugs and a sandwich for them, we are en route to Aspen. I had no idea where we were going, all I knew was they were giving me a ride. “We’re heading to the Maroon Bells!” Twinkle says. Tomorrow he, Chance, and their friend Dustin are going to try to climb to the top of Maroon Peak. We drive up and over a pass and through Aspen on our way there. We reach the trailhead after dark and decide to stealth camp in the weeds up on a hill to avoid detection until morning. I’m going to try and go as far as I can with them tomorrow, but I’m not much of a mountain climber, precipices freak me out so I don’t know how far I’ll get! So much for a rest day!