Zero day Wooooooohooooo. Our first one since starting the CT on July 5th. It was a much needed day of eating and just laying around at Ravens Rest Hostel. I really don’t have much exciting to say about the zero day. Most hiker zero days are simply eating, drinking, and sleeping. That’s exactly what my day was.
The day started with 6 people all crammed into one bunk room at the hostel. You can imagine the smells and sounds that happen in these rooms. We awoke took showers and searched out more food before finally getting a ride back to the trailhead around noon. It’s only 53.3 miles to Silverton from Lake City. We plan to do a very short day today to take advantage of a yurt that is on trail and then two big days to get into Silverton late on the third day. Once we got on trail the skies immediately began to darken. We only had hiked for about 3 miles before the skies opened with rain and hail. We tucked ourselves under a tree and put the Tyvek over us as usual to stay dry. The delay didn’t last long and though the skies remained threatening we stayed dry for the next 6 or so miles before reaching the yurt. Another group of hikers were taking refuge in the yurt but said they weren’t staying the night and would be leaving soon. We began to settle in as the other hikers left and soon after a parade of hikers began to show up. The yurt was available for anyone to reserve, which we hadn’t done. These hikers had reserved the whole yurt for the 3 of them. Then another two hikers arrived, at this point we had 8 hikers in the yurt. The hikers said we could all stay, the yurt had 4 bunks and 4 cots so this was perfect. We were very thankful that they had let us stay. We all sat around and shared stories and life experiences for a few hours. It was truly the best night in trail so far. So many pleasant people in one place, all warm and dry. Well we were warm till going to bed. The yurt got really really cold, and I had forgotten to put my inflatable mat under me on the cot. I froze most of the night, it didn’t help I was too stubborn to get up and go pee for about a five hour period during the night. Oh well at least I didn’t have to pack up a wet tent :).
The thought was that by staying in a yurt we would wake up early and have much less packing up to do in the morning, meaning we would be in trail early. Yeah….so we left the yurt around 8am, so much for early. We spent the morning heading towards the high point on the Colorado Trail. It was a slow and steady climb across exposed high alpine plains and boulder fields. Again we saw countless marmots and pikas during the day. I’m not sure what life will be like when I don’t hear the loud meeping of pikas all day. We reached the high point on the trail which is higher then Forester Pass, the high point of the PCT, but far less dramatic and difficult. Clouds began to build as usual and a light rain eventually began to fall. The rain only lasted alittle while and the rest of the day was generally cloudy but very pleasant. After having some lunch at the bottom of a small valley we began climbing again. We were surrounded by willow bushes and a few small ponds. My eyes were constantly scanning for moose. All of a sudden I spotted one in the distance, then another, and then a third. This drainage was moose paradise evidently. It was great to see some large wildlife rather then just our friends the marmots and pikas. The bulk of the afternoon was spent between 11.5k and 12.8k going up over ridges and then back down. It was a huge series of climbing over them and then descending. By the end of our day, 22 miles later we were hurting. We made camp at 12.8k feet, the highest I’ve ever camped. I slept pretty well, but even sleeping was a bit difficult at this elevation. It was a productive and beautiful day, probably the prettiest day of hiking I’ve had this year and probably since Washington on the PCT last year.
It was a very cold morning at almost 13k. I did not want to get out of the sleeping bag and certainly didn’t want to leave the tent. That being said it was time to head into Silverton and get some more food, new shoes, and get cleaned up again. It wasn’t very long till we had made it to the Stony Pass Trailhead. It’s a remote trail head high in the mountains on a dirt road. Not the type of place you would be hitching from very easily. We decided we wouldn’t be hitching today and instead walked the 10.8 miles down the long and sometimes steep dirt road to Silverton. With the hiking to the trailhead it was 13.3 miles for the day, a pretty short and easy day. We checked into the Blair Street Hostel, not as nice as the Leadville Hostel which was the nicest on trail, and immediately went to get a pizza each. After eating it was time for a short nap, followed by showering and then repacking our bags with more food that was sent to us by my wonderful sister. We did a bit of laundry and then it was time to eat again. We had dinner at a nice little restaurant called the Eureka Station. They had some wonderful veggie tacos, salads, and hand cut french fries. Just what the doctor ordered. Tomorrow is my 34th birthday, trail birthdays are abit strange. Rather then relaxing and celebrating with a nice dinner and a drink or two I’ll be hiking around 20 miles and eating granola bars. Hmmm kind of anti climactic but at least the scenery will be good. We will be making our final push to Durango and should be in Durango on Saturday. Once arriving we will be rating with either my friend Clark or Ben and relaxing for a couple days before heading to New Mexico to jump back on the CDT. That’s all for tonight, it’s time for bed.