Total Miles: 395.9
Another town, come and gone. Like always, the town tasks pile one on top of another and the temptation to fall back into a later bedtime proves too hard to resist. Turning off the lights at 11:15pm, the only thing we missed was the drunken argument and subsequent arrest a floor above us later in the night that Beardoh and Sweet Pea were treated to and we managed to sleep through. Real shame.
After a leisurely morning, Scott, the friendly owner of the Viking Lodge where we'd spent the night, was kind enough to drive us back up to Berthoud Pass where we'd left the trail yesterday afternoon. The carbon copy days are beginning to feel like the best kind of Groundhog Day—each one nearly identical to the last without a cloud to blot out the giant yellow orb in the sky. Fortunately, the wind has been a constant companion, and a frisky one at that. By day’s end, weathered is the best description of how our faces feel.
Hours after leaving the pass and climbing beyond the reach of the day hiker crowd, we turned at a switchback to see a mother ptarmigan and a handful of her tiny chicks scattering frantically to all points of the compass. So sure of her incredible camouflage, the hen simply stood her ground a mere three feet away from me as I took her photo.
Only a few hundred yards beyond, I marveled at a sparse patch of what looked like mini sunflowers daring to thrive in an environment where very little else was bold enough to. In spite of everything working against them, they seemed to belong there, as if no other place would be more appropriate, more home to them. It's a rare thing to be of a place in such a way, belonging so deeply. Strolling by them, it reminded me of the feeling that takes hold on each of these hikes—that this is where I most belong.
Latitude/Longitude: 39.76149, -105.90651