Total Miles: 266.3
The cloudless sky was one giveaway. The temperature in the 80s was another. I don’t think we’re in Montana anymore.
Eleven hours of driving behind us, the grand repositioning was complete and it was finally time to get back on the trail after sitting on the sidelines for far longer than any of us would have liked. The sequence of the past few days since we stepped off trail and into Jackson, MT went something like the stages of a twelve step program in hyper speed. First was the relief of being out of the impending doom that was the oncoming weather, then came the bargaining of exactly what changes we’d need to make to our plans, followed by the execution of those new plans and now, at last, their ultimate resolution, delivering us back to where we belong. The dirt underneath my feet felt infinitely more befitting than the accelerator and brake pedal of the past three days.
Though logistically annoying, the move to tackle Colorado in the peak of summer already feels like the right one. After watching the mountains in Montana become enveloped by a curtain of clouds with bad intentions, we managed our way to Butte, MT where we rented a car for the trip to Colorado. Our first stops, however, were to a couple of nearby trail towns to collect resupply packages that had already been sent. By the time we finally shoved off for the trip south, the weather had begun to clear after 3 days of ugliness, revealing a snow line that had dropped another few thousand feet below where it had been.
The hardest part of the journey was getting from the tiny regional airport where we returned the rental car back up to the CDT, some 40 miles away to the east of Steamboat Springs. Luckily, a customer service agent was able to suggest someone who might be able to help and 45 minutes later they had arrived, the final piece in our transportation puzzle. By 5pm, our feet were back on the ground at last only to walk 50 feet before stumbling into our first dose of trail magic—a small cache of Gatorade, stashed for CDT thru-hikers. Perhaps our fortunes are starting to turn after all.
Hanging among a stand of stately aspens for the night, even the mosquitoes have rolled out the red carpet, their collective buzz like a discordant chorus of violently played string instruments. I wonder what Colorado has in store for us tomorrow.