Colorado Trail, Day 6: Trail Angels

Today is an exciting day for us! We have come to our first resupply, and our new friends, Margaret and Larry, whom we only met 6 days ago for the first time, are meeting us at Kenosha Pass to pass on some much-anticipated goodies and join us on the trail for a short bit. So we are up and at ‘em early once again.

When we peek our heads outside the tent we discover clear blue skies and a crisp, but inviting morning as the sun is just cresting the hill and casting its first rays on the meadow in front of us. Our first task is to climb six miles up to Kenosha Pass. We are greeted by several hummingbirds and a mountain bluebird along the way.

It turns out to be a very social day on the trail. We run into Juli and Eden, the mother/daughter team from Fresno that we met on Day 1, and are glad to see they are still on the trail despite Eden’s blisters. Then we meet Cowboy Kyle from Montana and Anna/Achilles, whose father reads Greek and hopes to retire to teaching!

Moments later we meet the Orchestra, three musicians from the Naples (Florida) Symphony—Jenny the bassoonist, Ellen on horns and Paul the clarinetist. In a freaky small-world-after-all moment, it turns out that Jenny knows Stephanie, our summer renter and they all know Jonas, the son of our Duluth bird guide whom we met back in February.

We all chat amiably as we make our way up to a panoramic view point—our first look down into the valley where the tiny town of Jefferson lies. The trail threads its way through stands of aspen in dappled sunlight, highlighted by backlit sunflowers. We can hear the highway approaching so we know Kenosha Pass must be just around the corner.

We arrive there precisely at 11, just as Margaret and Larry pull into the parking lot. The timing could not be more perfect. We greet one another and jump in their SUV to run down to Jefferson and pick up the resupply box we mailed to ourselves. The town consists of little more than a general store, a burger and shake shack, and the tiny post office, but the town is hopping with tourists and thru-hikers eager for real food, ice cream and a chance to pick up resupplies.

When we arrive at the post office, we discover we are 30 minutes early. At the same time, a woman with long red hair in a flower dress rides up on her motorcycle and cheerfully says, “Can I help you?” Turns out she is the owner/operator of this tiny post office that she runs more-or-less as a service on contract, explaining that this tiny town would not have a way to receive mail and packages without it.

The postmistress is quite a character and understanding of thru-hikers’ needs. “Oh, honey, there’s a hiker box with all sorts of food if you need it or need to leave extras!” she tells us.

Other hikers are arriving for their packages, so we grab our box, pile back in the SUV and head back up to Kenosha Pass for the most amazing trail lunch—a hot, breakfast burrito (Margaret kept it warm all morning in a crock pot) and icy cold IPAs, the combination of which, though perhaps strange, was nothing short of heavenly!

We chat rapidly with Margaret and Larry, between bites of delicious cheesy eggy potatoey goodness, about life on the trail so far. They offer the remaining beers to fellow hikers who are surprised and grateful and then we set off down the trail.

We chat about travel abroad and life in Turkey as we descend 2.5 miles down from Kenosha Pass with stunning views of the mountains leading toward Breckenridge. All too soon it’s time for them to turn around for the hike back up the hill and the drive to Denver. We are so grateful to have met them and for their generosity of spirit.

We trundle on down the trail feeling so enthusiastic and positive about the day that we decide to push on 3 extra miles to Jefferson Creek. Once again, the skies over South Park darken and the sound of thunder rumbles in the distance. Luckily, we only have to put on rain gear for a short while before the skies clear.

We cross Jefferson Creek where we find a delightful site near the fast flowing water.

We see what appears to be snow on the ground and find out from some day hikers that yesterday’s storm produced ankle-deep grovel on this side of Kenosha Pass. We set out the dew-soaked tent to dry and enjoy the sound of the stream as the sun goes down on our heavenly day.

Day 6 Trail Stats

Starting Point: Trailside camp above Johnson Gulch, mile 65.5
End Point: Jefferson Creek, mile 77.7
Mileage: 12.2
Segments: 5 & 6
Date on Trail: July 6, 2018

6 thoughts on “Colorado Trail, Day 6: Trail Angels

  1. Looks like you two are having a grand time! Peru is amazing as are your photos! See you on the other side of the divide!

  2. The Colorado trail has been on my wish list for a while and your wonderful photos and commentary about your hike only serve to move it closer to the top. I am lucky enough to live in Vermont near the northern end of the Long Trail. My dog and I have hiked extensively around home and in the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. However, I have never been hiking much above 6000 ft. How have you found the adjustment to hiking at 8000 ft and higher? Have a great hike and keep your excellent posts coming!

    1. Thanks so much for following along, Steven! We are absolutely loving the CT and can’t recommend it highly enough. The altitude can be an issue for some, so it is important to acclimate before setting out. A few days in Denver and taking it easy on the first few segments of the trail usually does the trick.
      The Long Trail is on our bucket list, too, but we are thinking that it would be best in the fall. What do you think?

      1. I agree that fall would be best. Maybe I am biased because its also my favorite season but I think early fall is the best time to hike the Long Trail. Cool, but not terribly cold, minimal bugs, low humidity, and glorious fall colors make it hard to beat!

      2. Thanks for adding in your two cents, Steven. As teachers, we will have to wait until we are retired to do the Long Trail in the fall, but we are hoping that’s not SO far away now!

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