Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 16: And into Salida!

September 9: I woke up to another clear and sunny morning and hit the trail by 7:00. I hiked quickly with minimal breaks trying to cover 13.4 miles to Highway 50 as quickly as possible. If all went well, I'd get there before the afternoon thunderstorms started and hitch a ride into the town of Salida to resupply safe and dry. That was my plan!

The day's hike was uneventful. Ominous clouds started rolling in late in the morning and for the last mile or so, I heard thunder rolling around the mountains. A couple of drop of rain threatened me, and I picked up my pace, but the rain held off and I reached the trailhead just before 2:00 in the afternoon.

The town of Salida--which I kept mispronouncing like the Spanish word for "salida" (salida translates to exit, in Spanish) and every local would tell me that I was pronouncing it incorrectly. "You're not from around here, are you? It's sa-LIE-da," they'd tell me. After the tenth time of this happening, I knew it was sa-LIE-da, but I'd still say sa-LEE-da out of my bad Spanish habits! I'd have to stop and think about the correct way to say the name of the town.

But I digress.... I reached the trailhead, stuck out my thumb and waited for a ride. Salida was about 15 miles away and I had absolutely no intention of walking!

Within a couple of minutes, though, the rain had finally caught up with me. I pulled out my umbrella, rested my pack down by my feet where both it and myself would be under the protection of the umbrella, and continued to wait for a ride.

I'd never hitchhiked in the rain, and I wondered if it would improve my chances of a ride (oh, look at that poor, wet hiker--let's pick him up!) or decrease my chances of a ride (oh, look at that ugly, wet rat--I don't want that in my car!)

I have no idea what this teepee-like thing is for!

Car after car passed by me, and I counted them. Five, six, seven.... A couple of motorcycles passed by as well, and I waved to them. I didn't expect a ride from a motorcycle, so I didn't count them. The rain came down harder. 32, 33, 34....

After about 20 minutes and 50 cars, a large SUV pulled over. A couple of tourists from another part of the state. They cleared a small area for me in the backseat and said that they could only take me as far as Poncha Springs--just a few miles short of Salida. Not quite to my destination, but I would take it. At least it was getting me closer!

They dropped me off at a corner in Poncha Springs, and I was happy to be out of the rain and even had a little sun to brighten my day. The rain had only been in the mountains. Lower down, where I was now, there were no clouds or rain.

I stuck out my thumb and tried hitching another ride, and this time it only took 12 cars and a couple of minutes to get a ride.

A woman who introduced herself as Mave (I could be butchering the spelling of that--it's an unusual name and I hadn't asked how she spelled it!) pulled over. The car looked like it would fall apart if it tried to go over a speed bump, but I found myself enjoying it. I imagined she had all sorts of horror stories about it breaking down, but the kind of stories that you'd enjoy telling for the rest of your life. The ride probably lasted all of about five minutes, but I really enjoyed her upbeat attitude and was a little disappointed when we reached our destination so quickly.

But we made it to Salida without any breakdowns, and Mave dropped me off by the hostel where I checked in for two nights. I was planning to take a zero day!

First thing I did was take a shower and do some laundry to feel a little more human again. Then I picked up my laptop and spent most of the rest of the day online catching up with work, only going out long enough to grab dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Life was good!

Moonset in the morning!

A snake sighting! My second one of the trail! =)

Highway 50 down below! And my route into Salida!
Highway 50, and the trailhead from which I'd hitchhike into Salida
Angry-looking clouds!
But sunny in Salida! =)

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