Saturday, August 22nd, 2020
The night had been frigid, but we had plans to get up early anyway. We worked hard all day yesterday and wanted to to reward ourselves with hot food, clean clothes, and showers in Silverton. We heard good things about Silverton, so we were excited to get there and see it for ourselves.
Darwin would catch up to us in the morning and we hiked with him for a while. He was in more of a hurry to arrive in town than we were. He had a package he had to pick up at the post office and had little time to do so once he got there. The dude is fast too! I guess it helps to have long legs. I’m vertically challenged, so I often have to double the number of steps my trail family makes. Most of them are pretty tall. Well, I suppose most people are taller than me in general, but I’d say a good chunk of them are 5’10” and above.
We hiked with him for about 8 miles and had to climb over a few sections of avalanche debris. A lot of people find this sort of stuff annoying and tricky. Oddly enough, I find this, as well as rock scrambles to be strangely gratifying. Maybe it’s the amount of focus it takes to zero in on each movement. I get in the zone and I quite enjoy it!
After we reached the base of a steep climb, we went our separate ways. We crossed railroad tracks and a river on the way there. Either I just never adjusted to the altitude or my lung capacity is shoddy, but I struggle with the climbs out here. Especially anything above 9,000 feet. But throw me on the steep inclines of the Appalachian Trail (AT), and I’ll put in some work! Maybe hiking the AT is just like going through rock scrambles for me. More focus is required. Maybe I’ll never know.
I reached the top and hiked through a few exposed sections in the blazing sun before meeting up with Frisbee by the road at mile 411.1. I was so happy to get there. It was finally time to explore Silverton! We caught a hitch in the back of truck. The people were from Texas, but happened to be from Colorado originally. They were really interested in our hike and asked us about it after dropping us off. The scenery was pretty amazing during the drive in, I might add.
We made our first stop at “Smedley’s Ice Cream Parlor” to grab a milkshake and a smoothie. We needed to cool off. I was glad we came into town when we did, because the owner was closing down for the season the next day.
We had booked a room for tomorrow at the “Kendall Mountain Lodge.” We got into town a day early, so we tried to find a place to stay for the night. It would be a challenge. It was Saturday and we found ourselves surrounded by tourists, a lot of them driving up and down the main drag on their “Side-by-Sides.” We got lucky! The lodge was owned by the same people who owned the “Triangle Motel” and they had a room available.
It was early in the morning, so we had a long wait until check in at 3pm. We sat out front of the motel, which also had a convenience store and gas station attached to it. This was great place for people watching! As we waited for 3:00, “Celebrity hiker dude” spotted us across the street and joined us. He fortunately got his package in time and was staying at the motel. So we all parked it on the asphalt and waited.
He told us about his Arizona Trail (AZT) project. The same year we hiked the Arizona Trail, he was just ahead of us filming a documentary to bring attention to the trail and to raise funds for the AZT Association. He’s a huge success on YouTube, but the film didn’t do as well as he anticipated. He was frustrated over the sudden realization that much of his fanbase was more concerned with the gear he was using versus supporting the trails. This frustration I could understand.
I wouldn’t know from personal experience, but this is the sort of disconnect I always imagined went hand-and-hand with the lifestyle. But you gotta draw the line somewhere. It’s either their happiness or yours. Frisbee and I suggested he put the vlog on hold to focus his energy on projects he felt passionate about.
It was time to check in our room at the lodge. His room wasn’t ready yet, so we invited him to our place to get out of the sun and to ditch his bag to go resupply. I hightailed it to the shower. Showers are one necessity that I feel is often taken for granted in the real world. Most people won’t ever experience how incredibly satisfying it is to scrub off layers upon layers of grime. We needed to make the trip to the laundromat down the street to reverse the offensive odors and textures from our clothes. Later that evening, after all of our errands were complete, we ordered take out from “Handlebars Saloon”. I had an intense craving for fried chicken and they were the only place with it. The food was good, but my hunger was insatiable. “Celebrity hiker dude” gave us a few items from his drop box that he didn’t want, which included Oreo’s. They didn’t have a chance in the world.
12.6 miles (20.3 km)
Jump Ahead to The Colorado Trail: Part 22
Jump Back to The Colorado Trail: Part 20
Start from the Beginning: The Colorado Trail: Part 1