August 24, 2015
The hot springs at Mt. Princeton were hard to leave behind but our little trail family pushed onward, after a morning soak of course.
Dan and Lyndsey were leaving us and walked with Ryan and Julie to the top of the 1,000 foot climb above the Chalk Creek Trailhead. They turned around while Ryan and Julie continued on. Holli and I walked ahead to try and get a jump on our 20 mile push to Salida for resupply.
The day was going well and the first six miles went by relatively easy. However, we took a wrong turn at an intersection that was clearly marked. We both interpreted the sign incorrectly and walked a mile and a half to a trailhead.
Our three mile mistake was easy enough to correct but it took the steam out of our attitudes. We ended up stopping to camp 10 miles into segment 14 when we should have had 12 or more miles done. Ryan and Julie already had camp set up and were working on supper. On a positive note, mile 242 from Denverput our camp near the midway point of the Colorado Trail.
August 25, 2015
After a warm night and pleasant morning we broke camp and headed for highway 50. The trail was pleasant as it passed through some cattle pastures, aspen groves, and pine forests.
We talked to local hikers Jim and Mary at one point near a trailhead. They lived on a ranch a few miles away and knew this section well. They told us about wild turkeys, elk, moose, and bear they had seen over the years. We told them about the squirrels and marmots we had seen on the trail.
We then hiker further and met Ryan and Julie for lunch at the North Fork of the Arkansas River. Soon after we caught up with hikers Connie and Judy. We had met them at the Leadville hostel a few days earlier. We hiked together the last couple of miles to the highway as rain and thunder escorted us out of the mountains.
Lucky for us, Connie and Judy had a ride prearranged at the trailhead. Ron and Connie happily drove us to Salida and dropped us off near the Simple Lodge Hostel. The hostel owner double booked the private room we were given and gave us free bunks in the dormitory. We offered to pay at least something but he insisted our lodging was on the house.