Monday, November 26, 2012

Back To Civilization - When Do I Get My Shower?

Colorado Hut-to-Hut Adventure – Day 8 – 9/15/12 – Uncle Bud’s Hut to Timberline Lake Trailhead - 4 Miles

Another beautiful early morning, ready for an altogether different kind of adventure.  Today we’re headed to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, for a soak in their famous hot springs, a fancy meal and a cushy night at a famous hotel.  But as with every hike…there were a few twists and turns in the trail.

We packed up, cleaned up and swept up Uncle Bud’s Hut and lingered for a few minutes on the deck to say goodbye.  This was my favorite of all the huts we experienced because of the unparalleled view of Mount Elbert and Mount Massive and our relaxing reading time yesterday morning.  

Still, hiking out to civilization was very exciting – food, showers, food!  We hiked down the CDT, four miles of contemplation of leaving a piece of myself here in the Colorado mountains. 

Here in the Holy Cross Wilderness during deer and elk bow season, we met a crossbow hunter willing to pause to get his picture made.

We passed near Galena Lake on the left and then skirted the edge of this pretty little unnamed lake.


Catching glimpses of tomorrow’s grand finale – Mount Elbert and Mount Massive

One more stroll through the aspens

Up and over one last little mountain, then on the last downhill we met a group of 15 people hiking up to Uncle Bud’s.  They were carrying very little, a few small backpacks and bottles of water, so I assume their gear was being hauled up via the jeep road.  They were laughing and joking, a rowdy crowd, although a couple of them were already sweating the steepness.  Looks like we got out just in time.

At the trailhead parking area, a discovery:  Jeff did not have the keys to the rental car.  Instead, they were in Mike’s van 20-plus miles away.  How long Jeff had known this, I’m not sure, but there was nothing to be done now except beg a ride to the van.  What worked in our favor was that this was a beautiful Saturday morning and this was a popular parking area for multiple trails with many cars coming and going.  A young couple drove up and I asked if they would help us out, give Mike a ride to the main road where he could hitch another ride to his van.  They were very kind, taking Mike all the way to the service road where we had left the van, and from there he walked in less than a mile. 

During our two-hour wait, Cathy explored the trail to Timberline Lake, then read her book on her eReader.  Jeff contemplated the universe.  I spread out my rain jacket, pulled my ball cap over my eyes, and simultaneously napped and acquired a sunburn.  Hey, there are many worse things than sitting outside on a sunny day.

Once we had collected both vehicles, we commenced our long drive to Glenwood Springs, stopping at the funky little town of Red Cliff for fish tacos at Mango's Mountain Grill. 

A little rooftop celebration

On Highway 24, the abandoned mining town of Gilman clings to the side of Battle Mountain, wrapped in aspen yellow.  The view was irresistible.  Cars were screeching to a halt at the pull-off every which way to get a look.

Gilman, Colorado, founded in 1886 for mining zinc and lead, closed in 1984

Highway 70 winds its way through Glenwood Canyon, an engineering feat as it slithers through the narrow twists and turns.  No photos, we just enjoyed the ride.

Our home for the night, Hotel Colorado, reminded me of the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”, wide plushly carpeted hallways perfect for a kid to ride a Big Wheel, beautiful people in the common areas attending wedding receptions.  But it’s all a blur because the real reason for the long drive was …

Glenwood Springs!  The biggest hot tub I’ve ever seen!  The water was waist deep and luxuriously relaxing as the sun set on eight days of outdoor frolicking.  And the shower afterwards was a wonderful thing. 

Then, a glass of wine and dinner at Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse.  That is all.

“You know he’d be a poorer man
If he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky Mountain High”
~ John Denver

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