Thursday, August 14, 2008

(Day 13) These Rocky Mountains are a cakewalk…

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
Day 13
Trinidad State Park, CO to Salida, CO

At 7:35am, I was on the bike and making my way back to the trail. Rather than riding all the way back through Trinidad to pick up the trail where I had left it, I made a 20 mile short cut through Reilly Canyon and intersected the TAT here:

Locked. Bummer. But, by having taking this shortcut, I saved myself 9 miles of backtracking, and backtracking was never fun. I believe this is the Reilly Canyon area:

After a 13 mile re-route through Aguilar, I was back on the trail. More moo…

Indian tribes called what we know as the Spanish Peaks, “Wahatoya”, meaning “Breasts of the Earth”:

A TAT report wouldn’t be complete without a picture of this old church:

One thing about Colorado is that all the roads are in excellent shape. Good for those who like to boogie down:

That’s a cabin back there. No driveway, no crops, no barns or shed. I dunno:

There were some distinctive birds in the area, one of which you can see in the picture above. They were solid black and solid white, the first and only time I’ve seen these types.

Almost 2 miles above the ocean:

…where I got into my first section of birch trees:

Here is where I thought I was in Jellystone National Park and thought for sure I’d eventually see Yogi and Boo Boo around the next corner:

Another locked gate, but I could see National Forest trail markers on the other side…weird:

More scenery:

I could have spent months taking pictures around here. Every 100 yards you’d see another angle of the mountain range and want to take another picture… a new mountain back there, birch trees here, rock slides there, a waterfall in the distance, so forth and so on. Finally, I just stopped here, sat on a rock ledge, ate some granola bars and soaked it all in for myself:

Hrmph? A leak?

Doh, must have busted an oil bottle in my pack. What a mess, but no need to tear into it now:

Eventually I made it into Salida. The chain hotels were going for 90 bucks and the private motels…80 bucks… Next stop was Hayduke’s shop to get the skinny on where to stay. He wasn’t too hard to find:

And just as I had hoped, he told me about a hostel a couple blocks down that had beds for 23 bucks. I had never heard of these before, and it sounded sort of peculiar to me at first, but I figure saving 57 bucks and being located downtown would set me up nicely for touring the area. But, before I headed out, Hayduke got my priorities in order:

The Hostel didn’t open until 5pm, so I looked for a gas station to re-supply and organize. On the way, I spot the 3 guys that I had been following the tracks of for the second time (the first was at Valcom in Trinidad):

I never got their names or handles, so if any of you guys are reading this, post up and let me know how the rest of your trip went! The guy on the right had a little spill on a gravel switchback and got some top-notch medical care from the guys on the left.

I find a gas station and start investigate my oil spill a little further:

One of the oil containers had pinched itself and was leaking, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be; I only got oil on a spare tube and gear shifter. A local phone
company guy had some crazy tape that he patched it up with:

This worked well. Everyone in Salida was really cool. The vibe here was much more active and friendly than that of Trinidad. Hindsight is 20/20, but it was obvious that I should have spent my rest day here instead… oh well.

Anyway, it was around 5pm, so I head back to the hostel and get a bed for 23 bucks:

The girl running this place was really cool. I think she just opened it up making this her 3rd concurrent job. As I was unloading my bike, I met Bronco638 who had just finished up 4 days on the trail. I was hoping I’d have a riding partner for the mountain passes tomorrow, but unfortunately Salida was his final destination this go around.

So, the rest of the night was a blur. I unpack, shower and purchase another quick dry shirt (lost one in Alma, AR) and dry bag (for the clean clothes). I go to a bar called Benson’s and eat this:

I try a couple pale ales, hit another bar/pale ale and then head off to Amica’s Pizza/Brewery where I order another pale ale. The older guy sitting next to me was telling me all kind of cool stories. So, I go ahead and order a beer sampler too. Every sampler I’ve ever had has been served in shot glasses. These guys serve their sampler in what seemed like pint glasses and there were 6 or 8 of them (can’t remember, go figure). Soon after I sample the first, the guy with the cool stories leaves. So, now it’s just me and about 40 more ounces of beer. All of the cute waitresses made comments about my task and how strong some of the samples were, so there was no bailing out. I get the job done, pay my tab, get out the door without running into anyone and walk back to the hostel. Lights out.

Total mileage: 2706
Daily mileage: 255
Wildlife observed: Mule deer (they pranced on all 4 legs, unlike the white-tail deer around home who actually run instead of skip, it was actually kind of weird seeing this), ground hogs.
Favorite Sight: Birch tree forest at 10k feet
Favorite Scent: Probably that first pale ale
Favorite Sound: Hayduke: “There’s a hostel down the street for like 20 bucks”
Favorite Taste: Probably the Amica’s India Pale Ale…I think.
Favorite Feel: Just the general kindness of everyone I met in Salida.
Ailments: Nothing at all at this point… maybe tomorrow morning will be different.

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