Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Day 91: Errands and running around

July 20: I took my time waking up. I wasn't in any particular rush to get out of Steamboat Springs, and I was half-tempted to even take a zero day except for the fact that hotels in Steamboat Springs were so ridiculously expensive. I felt a bit lucky that I managed to score this one for a night for a mere $100 online, but that was not a deal I could snag a second night in a row.

But I was also in the habit of waking up well before 6:00am, and just because I was in town and civilization didn't mean I could change that in a single night, but I did sleep in until closer to 7:00am before heading down to the lobby to grab the complimentary continental breakfast which, I was happy to see, included the waffle maker! I'd missed these machines. Ever since COVID tore through the world, it seemed like those were no longer available--arguably the worst result of the pandemic. A world without waffles is a world not worth living in. *nodding*

I also tried calling the Leadville post office, which I'd been doing semi-regularly whenever I could but never getting through, but today was my lucky day and I finally got them to answer the phone! It took nearly three weeks, but better late than never, I supposed! I asked them to forward my package on to Rawlins, which I expected to reach in a week or so. They had a whole week to get it there before my arrival. I hoped it was enough time. *fingers crossed*

After packing everything up and loaded with waffles, I checked out and waddled down to the Walmart to resupply. There, I ran into Little Cave, a hiker I hadn't met before and we chatted for several minutes. I bought the usual assortment of food and supplies, but before hitting the checkout lanes, I wandered over to the camping section to see what was around and found a mosquito net that could be hung up like a tarp for $15 and grabbed that. For the nights when mosquitoes were bad, that could be a life-saver! It didn't have a bottom to it or zip up to close so it wouldn't keep out everything, and it looked like something I could install under my tarp if bugs were bad. Plus, it was relatively light and compact compared to other options. And for $15, even if it didn't work very well, at least I didn't sink a lot of money into it.

Resupplying at Walmart!

Walking further into town, I headed to the post office to mail some postcards where I ran into Milkshake and Puffy again, and mentioned waiting for them at Willow Creek Pass for the better part of an hour with trail magic but eventually left when they didn't show. What happened?! But apparently, Puffy just hadn't been feeling very well so they didn't go very far or fast that day.

Along with Milkshake and Puffy were a few people who I initially thought must have been trail angels helping them out. They were much too clean to have been hikers themselves and had cars as well, but they turned out to be Milkshakes parents and his sister who had driven out to visit for a few days. They had some left over pizza in a Ziplock bag that they offered me, and I was happy to finish it off for them. =)

Milkshake wanted to head out and look for, appropriately enough, an actual milkshake. Probably how he got his name, but I never actually asked about that. They invited me to join, but I decided to pass wanting to focus on a more proper meal for lunch before leaving town.

I continued onward into town. Steamboat Springs is a bit of a sprawling town, laid out along the main road leading through town. From my hotel near the south end of town to the last real restaurant I could find on Google Maps at the north end of town stretched nearly 5 miles. So even before leaving town, I got a solid 5 miles of walking in along my route.

I wanted to grab lunch on my way out of town, and searched Google Maps around the north end of the city for restaurants finally settling on Big House Burgers. There was an outdoor patio, which I asked to sit at, and I ordered lunch. Which, considering the name of the place was Big House Burgers, I figured I should order the burger. Not surprisingly, it also included fries. And then I ordered a Pepsi to round off the meal. After eating that, plus two refills of the Pepsi and another glass of water, I sat around reading my Kindle for the better part of an hour letting it digest. I was stuffed!

I stopped for lunch at Big House Burgers on my way out of town.

Eventually I paid my bill, picked up my way-too-heavy pack and lumbered out of town.

The trail out of town was along a road walk, and along a busy, paved road no less. Although I had invented my own way into town, the official detour around the wildfires that all the hikers were following had us walking out of town in this direction, so I wasn't the only person walking this route anymore.

Somewhat annoyingly, only a couple of miles out of town, I reached another construction zone. Were all the roads into and out of Steamboat Springs being repaved?! But this time it wasn't as much of an issue for me because it appeared that the paving crew had stopped for the day before I reached them. I did see a few abandoned construction vehicles parked off the side of the road, but no actual work being done nor was the road partially closed like the route into town that I followed.

Several miles out of town, I caught up with Little Cave, so we walked together a bit and chatted. Milkshake and Puffy we caught up with a couple of miles later. They didn't want to camp on the side of the road, however, and decided to try knocking on the door of a random house hoping to find someone who would let them camp in their yard at the very least and perhaps let them sleep indoors or even feed them dinner at the very best.

The road out of town was being repaved, just like the road into town!

Little Cave and I had no intention of knocking on random people's doors, though, so we passed them as they veered off the road down someone's driveway. Several minutes later, looking behind us, we saw the two continuing down the road. I guess they were turned down at that house, but it wasn't long before they veered off the road again down another driveway to give it another go.

Sunset was fast approaching, but the roads were mostly straight enough that we could see behind us for close to a mile and we never saw Milkshake or Puffy again. I joked with Little Cave that I hoped that meant they knocked on the door of a friendly person who let them stay rather than the door of a serial killer and that they'd never been seen again. Not alive, in any case. And it was, in fact, the last time I would ever see Milkshake or Puffy again. I'm still optimistic that they found a friendly house that allowed them to crash at their property.

As for Little Cave and I, we pushed onward. With less than an hour left until sunset, I kept my eyes open for any good stealth camp sites, but the pickings were slim. The road largely led by farms so there was plenty of land to camp on, but it was all very exposed and neither of us wanted to wake up with a gun in our faces and a rancher telling us to get off of his property in the middle of the night either.

About 12 miles down the road, we found an ice chest at a small intersection, which turned out to be full of cold drinks for the passing thru-hikers. Sweet! I popped open a Coke and was glad to drink it. Although the skies were overcast and ugly, it was still horribly hot and very humid. A cold drink felt wonderful!

Trail magic at Moon Hill Meadows!

I also noticed that across the street from the ice chest was a small rise, almost like a dike, with tall grass and a few trees on the top, and it looked like a potentially good stealth camp site. I scrambled up the hillside to check it out a bit closer and, indeed, it looked perfect!

I headed behind some trees that would obscure much of my camp, and laid out in the tall grass. The top of the hill was completely flat, a sure sign to me that it was an artificially created hill but for what reason I couldn't guess. When I laid down, the tall grass easily hid me from any passing traffic, and if I sat up, the trees largely hid me. I liked the site and set up camp.

Rain wasn't in the forecast so I decided to cowboy camp it, and Little Cave--who had fallen a bit behind me on the road at this point--soon joined me when he arrived and I waved him up. There was plenty of space for the both of us.

While he was setting up camp, I walked over to the ice chest and grabbed another drink. It must have been freshly stocked just today since there was still plenty of ice to keep the drinks cold. A bag on the side was left for empty cans as well, so I didn't have to carry the cans out later.

By the time it got dark, Little Cave and I would turn off our headlamps whenever we heard or saw a vehicle approaching. They couldn't really see us through the trees and grass, but they'd definitely be able to see any lights if they were on at the time and we didn't want to draw attention to ourselves. We wanted it to look like we were never there.....

I was really fascinated by this sign. If you notice, there's not actually a name for a single business in this marketplace, just a description of what each business does. Kitchen design, pizza, take out, dining, pet supplies, title company, architecture, cinema, pub, salon, sub shop, home interiors and.... "Strings Pavilion" parking. Does the parking lot have a name, but nothing else does?! It was weird....

Not sure what Amelia Earhart has to do with Steamboat Springs, but they do have a statue of her!

Bubbling hot springs!

Don't think you were allowed to swim in the river, though. That was temporarily off limits.

I really like how they put real wagon wheels on this painted mural of a wagon. Cute!

Where was I possibly going to find a place to camp along this road?!

The trail magic... was most excellent!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love those waffle makers. I agree one of the worse effects of Covid.