Since Tim had been up late we slept in until 830 only to crawl out of bed to pack. Chris told us the night before that there was a trail following the highway for at least a few miles that we could take from the YMCA into Winter Park, so we planned to have part of the day off the roadway. We knew there was a McDonald’s down the road, and even though we’d had WiFi all night, we couldn’t resist the calling of it as we got close.
While we waited for our food, Tony started talking to us. He mentioned that he met a guy last year who walked across the country with a goat (we still haven’t looked this guy up yet). He gave us some advice on where to camp and how steep the road was. He even suggested we could stay in his cabin in the woods, but it would be too long of a walk for us that day. So he headed off to fish and we sat in silence on the internet for a few minutes before starting toward Winter Park. It was a hot day and the heat started to get to us by the time we found the trail Chris had suggested to us.
Sometimes trails are the perfect break for us. They provide some sound protection from cars on the road and are often more shaded than the highway. The first few miles on this trail were just that. We were glad to have a break from the sun and the noise as the day continued to get hotter.
We stopped for lunch just outside of Tabernash where we decided to get back onto the highway because the trail led into a subdivision and got confusing after this. We stopped at a convenience store for some cold Gatorade. The cashier was also the cashier for the liquor store next door and just kept the connecting door open so she could help at either counter. She wished us luck on our journey as we headed out, warning us that Berthoud Pass was a steep one.
It was starting to get a little late (already 330) when we walked into Fraser and heard our names being called from across the street. It was a little scary because we don’t know anyone around here, but we soon realized it was Tony, who we meet this morning. He offered to buy us a drink and we crossed the street to join him at the local bar. He told us all about the area and his life, which was one filled with adventure, so we loved the stories. His wife came in to join us at about 430 and happy hour ended at 5 so he took off on his bike to pick up his children and we slowly made our way to the grocery store up the street. We planned to make it about 4 miles past Winter Park, but we were both feeling exhausted. We hopped on the trail from Fraser to Winter Park and slowed to a steady crawl.
The trail came back up on the road in Winter Park and we heard someone call out our names. It was Chris and his wife Maggie (who we hadn’t met the night before) eating dinner at a pizza place. We talked a bit, she joked about not believing we were real, and left them to enjoy their meal. We’d bought a giant sandwich at the grocery store and we weren’t tempted by pizza at all. We stopped to use the bathroom in the park before crossing to the shady side of the street, and Tim loved how fancy the bathroom seemed.
Once we were in the shady side of the street a couple passed us and we heard them remark about seeing us earlier. We paused to decide if we should talk to them, but they turned around and called out to ask what we were up to. They were from Indiana (and she was wearing an Indiana shirt) so we quickly learned they were from Greenwood (the same town Scott and Tim’s sister are connected to). We let them try our packs on and talked about the book Wild before heading out of town.
We walked back onto the trail outside of town and decided we’d stop at the first campground, making today only an 18 mile day. Some days are more exhausting than others. We ate our giant sandwich, set up our tent, and relaxed for our last evening on the west side of the Rockies.
Today we walked through:
Rebecca: 54,061 steps
Tim: 48,563 steps
1251 miles finished