Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 7-8: The Breckenridge Zeros

Aug 31-Sept 1: The hostel provided a fabulous breakfast with bacon, eggs, and I don't even remember what all. It was a better breakfast than any hotel I'd ever stayed at! And it was included with the room price. This might very well be the best hostel ever!


Then I headed into Breckenridge for the day. Breckenridge was an exciting town for me to explore. Most trail towns are small places that I never heard of before I did whatever trail I was hiking, but I'd actually heard of Breckenridge before. Mostly in regards to the winter skiing there, which obviously wasn't happening on this last day of August, but it's always cool to finally see a place you've heard about for years.

I found a thrift store in town which I explored looking for a new set of pants. Nothing I found fit particularly well, but I was desperate for anything to cover me properly and wound up buying pants that were much too large for me--I figured that's what belts were for. And I definitely would need a belt with these pants. They were so loose, they'd fall off completely without a belt to hold them up. In all, it set me back $10. I also found a shirt  to wear while I was doing laundry. I could ship that with my laptop from town to town since the only time I would want to wear it was while doing laundry.

I also decided that I really needed a new raincoat given the regularity of the afternoon thunderstorms. I was still using the same one I bought while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. In 2003. It was thin, worn, and falling apart. It didn't really keep rain off anymore. So I would up purchasing a shiny new raincoat at an outlet store in town. I also decided that I needed to replace my umbrella which had seen better days. Seemed like I my gear needed a lot of upgrades! But that would be sufficient. For now, at least. =)

Then I headed to the gondola for a ride, which was free (!!!) and--even more important--fun. =) I rode it to the end of the line and stepped out for a quick look around. There were all sorts of activities around like a maze one could run through or a small putt-putt course. And ski lifts that would take you ever higher up the mountain (but those would cost money).

I hadn't been walking around for a minute before I heard someone trying to get my attention. "Why do you have a Polish flag on your pack?!"

Yes! A free gondola ride! I'll take it! =)

I hooked a Polish-speaking person! The flag worked! =) I started referring to the flag as a "lure." Or bait. I was fishing for Polish-speaking people, and I hooked one! Most Americans aren't going to recognize or care about a Polish flag, but it's unusual enough that it would certainly get the attention of anyone actually from Poland--and it worked!

"Dzień dobry!" I replied--good morning!--suddenly trying to think in Polish. I hadn't been thinking about Polish at all--my thoughts had been in English and the sudden change was a little disorienting and I had trouble thinking of what I wanted to say in Polish. "Uczę się po polsku." I'm learning Polish.

"Why would you do that?" she asked, confused.

"It's an interesting language," I replied.

The woman was from Łódź, the third-largest city in Poland. I tried speaking Polish for maybe two minutes at most before we fell into English at which point I learned that she was in the United States for the summer working (she was wearing a uniform that the employees there were wearing) but would have to return to Poland at the end of the season which I assumed would be relatively soon considering it was the last day of August. I asked her about Łódź--was it an interesting city? Would it be a good place to hang out for several weeks learning Polish? She didn't seem to have a high opinion of the city, though. I wouldn't say that she bad-mouthed the city, but she didn't seem very excited or complimentary about it either.

I wanted to practice speaking Polish a bit more, but she did have work to do. I thought about asking if she'd like to meet up for lunch or dinner--whenever she got off work--where I might be able to practice Polish some more, but the woman was quite young and drop-dead gorgeous and I didn't really want to make her think I was trying to hit on her or anything and decided just to let it go.

I've never seen heated sidewalks before! I might have to
come back here sometime in the winter and check them out. =)

Mostly, I was happy to see that my flag worked in drawing out a Polish-speaking person. It seemed liked a sound theory, but now I had actual proof that it worked! And if I could find one Polish-speaking person, I could find others! Not that I expected to find a lot of them, but I knew they were out there!

Late in the afternoon, I eventually headed back to the hostel where I spent much of the evening chatting with the other guests. When I checked the weather forecast for the next day, though, it called for a light steady rain all day from sunrise to sunset--which sounded pretty awful to me and I decided that I'd rather take another zero day and wait it out. Maybe switch it out for a sunny day at the end of the trail. That would be nice. =)

I asked if there was space for me the next night, which there was, and I booked the hostel for another night.

With the extra day in town, I decided that I'd take the free bus to Frisco and explore that area. I mostly emptied out my pack because there was a Walmart in Frisco and I figured I'd resupply there and I'd have to bring my haul back. But before leaving, I couldn't find my Polish flag. Sadly, I left for Frisco without it. I could walk right past a Polish-speaking person and not even know it. I looked everywhere for that flag and feared that it might have fallen out of my pack the day before without my realizing it.

The bus ride to Frisco was uneventful, and I walked around town a bit. It's a cute town, but I didn't really linger very long before heading to Walmart where I resupplied. The customer in front of me spoke Spanish with the clerk, so when I went up, I decided to speak Spanish too saying--in Spanish--I know you speak Spanish! I heard you speak Spanish! I want to speak Spanish!

I wouldn't trust any of these characters!

Actually, I wanted to speak Polish, but I doubted that would get me anywhere. But hey, I'd have fun speaking Spanish too, although I think I confused the woman when I forgot I was speaking Spanish and started saying "Tak!" (or yes in Polish). "Err... I mean sí!" I don't know how people can speak multiple foreign languages. I seem to get Polish and Spanish mixed up all the time.

But eventually I finished and took the bus back to Breckenridge. I was a little annoyed with the weather. I expected light rain all day never materialized. In fact, it didn't rain at all! And it really irritated me because I felt like I wasted a beautiful day for hiking, but it was too late to do anything about it then. I enjoyed my second day off, but I'd have enjoyed it more if it was pouring buckets of rain and I could watch it from under the protective cover of a roof or hot tub. (Oh, did I forget the mention? The hostel also had a hot tub. Best hostel ever!)

That's the Walmart in Frisco across the street.

1 comment:

Lou Catozzi said...

I think a great caption for that picture of the three cowboys statue would be "Who farted?!?"

PI Joe