Zero Miles Hiked!!!
I wake early and lay in bed as long as possible before getting up in search of coffee. I find it at the San Juan coffee house – yum coffee if you are ever in Lake City – and catch up on wifi things before heading back to the hostel with a birthday muffin in hand for Lindsay, a badass hiker staying at the hostel. Everyone has to have at least one little birthday surprise!
Our ride back to the pass is leaving earlier than we anticipated, so we decide to hang at the hostel for a while instead and get a ride later. We need a morning off as we are both exhausted. It doesn’t take long to decide that a morning off might not be enough, and we cave in and put our names on the bunk list for tonight – we’ve been vortexed into a zero day! Our first zero day for the CT – 357 miles of hard hiking and we’ve earned it 😀
The rest of the day is a wonderful lazy day of eating, baking, eating the baked things, buying expensive food from the market across the road, sitting, going for a walk around the entire town, chatting about hiking and post-hiking futures and dreams, a failed attempt at a nap, eating some more.
It’s just what the doctor ordered. It’s an uncomfortably full house tonight as there are some extra people that are tenting in the yard and staying in their cars that are hanging in the hostel. Not quite the perfect quiet rest day I’d hoped for but good nonetheless.
The day passes way too quickly and it’s bedtime. My earplugs are doing a perfect job of keeping me nicely asleep, until the 6’10” guy in the bunk perpendicular to mine manages to stretch out his legs and kick me in the face. Oh joy. Oh hostels. I try to head to the couch to sleep but it’s already occupied. Bah!!! So much for a restful pillowed sleep! I curl up as small as I can and doze on and off in fear of giant feet for the rest of the night. Can’t win them all!
16.6 miles hiked, staying in Lake City
The vampires got me. The flying mosquito vampires have taken all my blood and my silly body hasn’t figured out it needs to produce more to keep me moving up here at altitude. Yesterday when we crossed over the pass we entered the San Juan mountains, which look to me like big sleeping giants curved around forming peaks and valleys, covered in a soft green fur. The trail is very skinny so looking back up at San Luis peak makes me dizzy and feel tiny tiny tiny.
We have 4 climbs today before we get into town. 2 big steep ones, 1 little steep one and 1 less steep but looooong one that heads over an exposed mesa.
I’m so very tired right now – sleeping at such high elevation is rough and I don’t think my body rested well. I feel as though I’ve just finished a massive set of lunges or squats. With just a couple of steps my legs are feeling burning and shakey. As always I just have to take it 1 step at a time – there’s only one way to get into town and get a rest!
It’s beautiful scenery and I’m going slowly. We stop at the top for a few minutes of each climb, at the bottom for a few minutes less. I don’t even know what I’m thinking about today – thinking takes too much energy.
3 climbs down before the clouds start congregating and inevitably exploding on us. There’s thunder but it luckily seems to be skirting either side of us. Finally we’ve finished all the climbing and all that’s left is the mesa. Big flat expanse of grass and scattered flowers, with giant storm clouds right in front of us. Zoom zoom as fast as I can go. I love the big wide open space here- it would be cool to camp on but the clouds are booming and town is calling! It’s sprinkling but nothing crazy and amazingly I make it to the bottom of the hill to the road where two other hikers are trying to hitch in as well. There’s not much traffic at all, until a giant car pulls over and beckons the four of us at the trailhead over. Just then it starts to pour. Absolutely buckets down. These amazing people in their giant car are angels! It turns out they are CT hikers who had to get off trail due to illness, so they and their giant dog are doing trail magic runs for a couple of days. Awesome people!
It’s beautiful scenery surrounding Lake City; the town is plonked in a valley with mountains all around. We find some bunks at the hostel which is filled with hikers, shower, don some strange loaner clothes, then wander down the end of the road to do laundry and buy our food resupply.
Yay for rest and awesome hiker people to hang with. I eat a can of soup and a pint of icecream and chat around the big table in the hostel with the other CT hikers. Yay for trail community! So many have been hiking right around us but we’ve never met – it’s amazing how you can hike the same pace as someone for weeks and not cross paths.
I say my prayers of thanks to the gods of earplugs and pass out fast. I will sleep haaaard tonight.