Tuesday, October 20, 2015

July 10-17 Day 75-82 Fun as a Family Darby - Leadore

As a chef, I pride myself on being able to feed my fellow hikers in town when we have access to a kitchen. This was not so in Darby. We went to the nearest grocery store, where we, in true hiker fashion, couldn't decide on anything, so we picked up frozen pizzas. When we were back at the cabin I cooked up some pasta I had in my hiker box and we popped our pizzas in the small oven, one at a time. I managed to forget my pizza and burn the entire thing, setting off the smoke alarm in the process. Well done chef NomNom. 
(Guy, me, Mehap, Apache)

Mehap and I were sharing the no longer edible pizza, and so we satiated our hunger with the various types of pastas set out.
(Rose and her dog!)

We spent our zero day at a couchsurfer's house. Rose is her name and it was her first time hosting. She was a doll and actually hosted 5 out of 7 of us! Wow! 
We hope we got her revved about long distance hiking! Darby is a cute town, filled with small stores and people who know each other. Even Rose, who had just moved there a month before was chatting with new friends she had made at the various businesses she took us to.

The next day we headed back to trail. Our goal for this leg was to do big miles at the start and then slow down when we got about 40 miles away. This was to allow Whistle to hike with us for a part of the leg. 
(Whistle and Grim)

You see, Whistle had started the CDT in March and, as would be expected, ran into snow in Colorado, so after realizing the snow wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, she decided to jump around and hike different parts of the trail and the surrounding areas. It also meant that she didn't quite have her trail legs in the same way that we did, so, in order for her to hike with us and for us to do things in the time we wanted to, we had to get the big miles done sooner.
(Mehap and Guy)
(Choo choo train!)

Plans inevitably change and so they did. We couldn't seem to manage big miles. It wasn't like we tried particularly hard though! We were all finally really enjoying ourselves! Camp fires, giggles and belly laughs, late nights and sleeping in. We became a little hiker family and we loved it! This is what trail life was supposed to feel like!

It had been getting rainier and rainier. We had one night during which it rained for hours, soaking our stuff and chilling us. Apache and I seem to have the hardest time maintaining our body heat during cold rains. Luckily it was near enough the end of the day that we all agreed to set up shelter and get dry and warm. Of course the rain stopped as soon as we set up. Typical.

It was around the 15th that we caught Whistle. She was waiting patiently at a trail head where she had been camped for a whole day already! Poor girl had to wait longer than expected fro us to get there. Grim and I arrived first and immediately gave her big hugs followed by a yard sale, setting all our stuff out in the sun to dry. The warm sun was becoming less frequent, so we needed to take advantage when we could. Whistle had brought extra food, thank goodness because I was a bit tight on food this stretch for whatever reason. Poor planning. It happens.
(Wonderer, Guy, Mehap, Apache, Whistle, Grim- waiting for a storm
To pass)

I was just finishing shoving cheese, crackers, and Oreos into my mouth when the others began to trickle in. We quickly put the rest of the food away because there wasn't enough for everyone, and spent another hour chatting and getting to know Whistle more.
(Whistle left us jokes to find along the way)

On we hiked, dodging thunderstorms along the way and seeing nature at its best. In such a large group, we couldn't help having an awesome time, even when the weather wasn't ideal.

Leadore was the next town down a long dirt road. There were too many of us to fit in Whistle's car, which she had parked at the trail head, so Apache drove Mehap, Guy on a Buffalo, and me. He returned and grabbed Grim, Whistle, and Wonderer.  Leadore was hardly a town. One restaurant catered to our needs with a sassy waitress/owner/cook. Yup, one lady ran the whole place. We stayed at a 4 room motel where the owner also carved wood into animals to make extra money. He said that the hikers are the reason he can even stay open. Towns like these get hit hard during tough economic times. Once a mining town full with life, it was now crumbling, losing its residents as children become adults and want somewhere with more opportunity.
(Whistle and Mehap)

The morning we headed out we stopped in for breakfast to the only restaurant. The waitress informed us that she was not in the mood to cook today, so we should pick easy things. We did our best, choosing simple things, and when Mehap arrived belatedly, the spunky owner overheard Whistle offer him her leftover biscuits, gravy, and hash-browns, grabbed the plate and offered to throw some more gravy onto the plate. When she returned, she eyed Grim's plate and told him matter of factly, "You're not going to finish those potatoes. Put them on here for your friend." And so Mehap got a free meal and we all got a good laugh.

Frodo arrived with the RV that morning resulting in a bit of catch up on how Scout was doing with his hike. Then we all got back on trail sometime in the afternoon. 7.5 miles later we found a fire ring and set up camp. No need to rush right?

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