Friday, April 8, 2022

Day 77: Four trail towns in ONE DAY!!!! The insanity!

July 6: I slept well despite the traffic from Interstate 70. Today I had a short walk into Frisco, at which point I could catch the free bus into Breckenridge and call it a day. Easy peasy! No need to rush, so I didn't get on the trail and start hiking until a little after 7:00am.

Pez had texted me the approximate location where he had camped, a few miles up the bike path, and I found him breaking down the last of his campsite about an hour later, and we walked together the rest of the way into Frisco.

Pez had reported seeing a pine martin since I last saw him--one animal I had not yet seen. But on the other hand, he had yet to see a bear or a moose which disappointed him immensely. "Don't worry," I told him. "It's still a long way to Canada. You'll almost certainly see both before finishing!"

The walk into town was quick and easy, and at the edge of town Wi-fi caught up with us as well. I hadn't seen Wi-fi since the morning I took the Creede Cutoff which seemed like years ago, so it was good catching up with Him. Him and Pez had yet to meet, though, so I made introductions.

Pez was anxious to resupply and camp somewhere just outside of town to save money, so we headed to the Walmart to do that. I intended to take a zero day in civilization tomorrow, however, and didn't really need to resupply. Not at the moment, at least, but I was happy to pick up snacks and a cold drink for later. =)

Wi-fi didn't have much to buy and said he was going across the street to eat at Wendy's, and we said we'd drop in and meet with him after we finished shopping.

In the Walmart, we also ran into another thru-hiker named Chocolate Chip. I first met him back in Leadville at the hostel, but he had already forgotten my name by the time we crossed paths again. I was a little surprised to run into him, however, since he had hitched into Leadville from Tennessee Pass and was a couple of days ahead of me on the trail. Clearly, I had caught up despite my not doing big miles!


I picked up some snacks and drinks, then headed over to Wendy's to meet up with Wi-fi. I didn't order anything--it was still too early for lunch in my book, and I could eat later. Just hung out with with Wi-fi for a bit, who told me that he planned to walk into Dillon where there was an REI to replace his shoes. He had gotten new shoes 200 miles earlier and they were already falling apart, so he planned to get them replaced. The problem with Dillon, however, was that it was in the opposite direction of the main red-line CDT. For me, however, who intended to take the Silverthorne Alternate out of town, it wasn't terribly far out of my way, so I said I'd join him and we could walk over together. Pez wanted to go to the REI--he had certainly heard about the chain by now and wanted to see one in person, but he had no intention of walking off trail to go there. To get to the main redline CDT, he needed to hike south out of town toward Breckenridge--a completely different direction. So Pez and Chocolate Chip decided to take the free bus over there.

So we all parted ways. Pez and Chocolate Chip taking the bus to REI, while Wi-fi and I planned to walk.

It was a few relatively pleasant miles largely following nice bike trails and along the shores of the Dillon Reservoir and over the Dillon Dam. Relatively uneventful, but it gave Wi-fi and I plenty of time to catch up with each other's stories of the trail.

Wi-fi checks out the signage along the bike path while heading toward Dillon.

When we arrived at the REI, I didn't really need anything. My gear was holding up well, my shoes were fine, so I decided to sit outside and wait, offering to keep an eye on Wi-fi's pack while he was inside taking care of his shoe exchange. We wound up arriving there almost precisely as Chocolate Chip and Pez had arrived as well. I was the only one who didn't go inside, though.

I sat in the shade under the covered area at the entrance of the store, keeping out of the hot sun. I hadn't been there for more than a minute when I heard someone say, "Kurwa mać!" My head snapped up. That was Polish! A Polish curse, in fact. Although, I realized, it was possible that it might be some other Slavic language. They can often sound similar, but it was definitely a Polish curse which grabbed my attention.

And it came from a woman getting out of a car that had just stopped in front of REI and I realized it was the same woman from the hostel that I met a few days earlier! "Hey!"

And she joked... at least I think it was a joke... that she thought it was me she had seen walking through the parking lot then threw out the Polish curse to see if I would look up which would confirm it. "Only someone who knew Polish would have looked up," she told me.

"Well, it worked! It's definitely me! And it was definitely hearing the Polish that got my attention!"

So we started chatting for a bit, and she had more questions about my learning Polish. While chatting with her, Wi-fi and Chocolate Chip had come out. Wi-fi needed something out of his pack and I introduced them to each other, also telling her that Wi-fi had been to Poland as well but didn't really know any Polish. "What?! You've both been to Poland?!" She was shocked to be meeting so many Americans who had been to Poland.

Chocolate Chip piped in: "I've been to Poland too." 

"What?!" He was from Israel, and I hadn't known he'd been to Poland as well, but he explained that he had Polish roots but his ancestors had escaped to Israel, and so had gone to visit Poland a few years back. The Polish woman seemed in shock. "Nobody ever visits Poland! How is it that all of you have been there?! That is so awesome!" Her mind seemed in shock.

Her boyfriend was still in the car, trying to encourage her to get back in. "This isn't a parking spot," he tried to insist. "We really need to move!" and eventually the Polish woman got back in the car and they continued on their way.

Wi-fi went back in the store to continue his shoe exchange, and Chocolate Chip and I kept chatting a bit longer. He noticed my Jordan Trail t-shirt and asked if I had really hiked the Jordan Trail. "Yep! Awesome trail!" 

He expressed an interest in doing it, but explained that some people in Jordan didn't care too much for Israelis and wondered if it was possible for him to do. I didn't know about that. I can't say that I heard anyone in Jordan wishing death or ill-well to Israelis, but it's not like I brought the topic up with everyone either.

Then I mentioned that while hiking that trail, I had heard about the Lebanon Trail which really sounded appealing to me and Chocolate Chip's eyes about bugged out. "You can go to Lebanon?!"

"Well, yeah.... I mean, the past year maybe it wouldn't have been a good idea." The country seemed to have destabilized badly in the past year.

"But you can actually use your passport and just go there?"

"Well, yeah."

"I can't," he told me. "I live just a few miles from the border, but they would kill me if they found out I was Israeli! They would literally kill me," he insisted, and I believed him. "Well, at least some of them would. I can never go to Lebanon."

Wow. I hadn't really thought about it, but there are a lot of places that Israelis really can't travel to safely in the Middle East.

Wi-fi eventually came out with new shoes. Pez bought some gear, but I don't remember what. I don't think he really needed any gear, but mostly wanted to check out the store. I got tired of sitting around doing nothing, however, and decided to start making my way to Breckenridge where I had already made a reservation for a hostel when I was back in Leadville.

The Dillon Reservoir

That town, however, was well off the trail from where I currently was, but with three free short bus rides, I could get there. So I found the bus stop that would take me from Dillon to Silverthorne, then switched buses to ride from Silverthorne to Frisco.

In Frisco, before boarding the third and final bus, I stopped at Taco Bell for lunch.

They had a wi-fi connection there, so I pulled out my smartphone and got online checking, among other things, the tracking number for my laptop. Could I get to the Breckenridge post office in time to pick it up? But there was no rush. According to the website, my package was at the Leadville post office "waiting for pickup." WTF?!!! I had literally walked into that post office and told them to forward it to Breckenridge when it arrived, and now it was sitting in Leadville collecting dust?! ARGH!  

Another trail town. Another missed connection. I couldn't believe it. That laptop had now been to Pagosa Springs, Creede, Salida, Leadville as well as spending some serious time in Denver since I had last used it. When was I ever going to see it again? I didn't have high hopes that it would arrive in Breckenridge in time for me to make use of it. *sigh*

Then I headed to the bus stop for the last leg to Breckenridge. In hindsight, if I realized I was going to walk all the way into Dillon today, I would have preferred finding a closer hostel, but I remembered Breckenridge and the hostel from the Colorado Trail thru-hike and knew I'd enjoy it there. The riding the buses part wasn't particularly fun, however.

While waiting for the bus to Breckenridge, a local who was also waiting for the bus struck up a conversation with me. I immediately pegged him as a meth head--mostly due to the severe lack of teeth in his mouth--but he started telling me that the pyramids in Egypt had been built by aliens. As in, actual aliens. From outer space.

"Ohh.... I see...." A crazy meth-head. Even better. =)

I think he sensed my skepticism, however. "No really! And there's proof!"

"Really?" I asked, a little curious where this was leading.

"Yes! No mass graves. They've never found any mass graves."

I must have had a confused look on my face, because then he elaborated. "There's no way an ancient civilization could have constructed such a massive structure that wouldn't have killed hundreds or thousands of workers, and if that many workers died, where are the mass graves?"

"Ahh, yes! Of course! That's a good point!" I said enthusiastically. "Where are the mass graves?! That's what I want to know!"

So yeah, the pyramids were clearly built with alien technology. That's obviously the most logical explanation for the lack of mass graves. The beauty of this logic was that I couldn't really refute it. I had absolutely zero proof that his theory was wrong. Privately, I didn't really buy into the theory, but admittedly, I couldn't refute it either.

Then he changed topics and asked if I had seen the troll. "Troll? What troll?"

"The troll of Breckenridge!"

Oh.... that troll. "No, I haven't seen that yet."

"You definitely need to stop there and check it out. It's worth going a bit out of your way for," he assured me.

I actually did have a vague memory in the dark corners of my mind about a giant troll in Breckenridge, but I had forgotten about it. I didn't learn about it until after passing through on my Colorado Trail thru-hike but then hearing about it later and kicking myself for missing it, and here I was, about to do it again!

I assured him that I'd definitely check out the troll while I was in town, but then the bus showed and we boarded. I was happy the conversation finally ended, but I have to admit that I did find it very interesting and--in the case of the troll--actually a nice reminder!

The bus dropped me off in Breckenridge, then I hoofed it over to the Bivvi hostel where I checked in and hung out for the rest of the day, doing what I could do with my smartphone online, but still annoyed not having my laptop.

I prefer to call them "bicyclists," but who am I to judge? =)

I just love this sort of artwork with the forced perspective!

Pez and Wi-fi head into Walmart

Home, sweet home. For a couple of nights, at least!

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