Steamboat Springs, CO to Encampment, WY

Day 105

Woke up reluctantly having not slept too well in town. I miss my queen sized bed and cuddling a dog or cat. We packed a bit then went off to breakfast where I had a Bfast burger with an egg on top with French fries on the side. Decent. I showered one last time and packed everything up. Leaving town behind is tough lately as I just wanted a full day of resting in bed with all our chores done. We jumped on the free public transit and rode the bus for twenty minutes to the farthest point out of town leading back to the trail. I have loved all of the free transit in these Colorado towns. We stood on the side of the road for close to two hours in the blazing sun with no luck. Lots of thumbs ups, waves, shaking finger pointing, pretty sure one gave us the middle finger, a few piece signs, and too many people using their phones while driving to even notice us. Chipmunk gave up after the fifth town bus came back to the stop where we got off. She was heading back to town for ice cream. As she was getting on the bus, a car stopped for us and the two of us climbed in. Bad timing for Chipmunk. Our driver had just finished hiking the CT yesterday and was paying back the kindness she had received by going out of her way to drop us off. To my surprise her boyfriend is someone I hiked with last year on the PCT, Zoolander. What a small world. It down poured as she drove us closer to where we hitched in. We said thank you and put on all our rain gear. We had a few more hundred yards along the highway before turning on to an old dirt road. The rain let up and the sun warmed us up. We passed through a campground near Dumont Lake where we took a break. I had left over pizza and also packed out a soda which made a nice treat. The walking was pleasant and dense trees. It was a wildlife day for sure. First we saw a Moose in the lake swimming across, a mama and baby moose together, and a solo moose thrashing through the trees. I also heard an animal crashing through the campsite. We went a bit off the trail as it was getting dark to camp.

Moose in the lake

Day 106

We got moving early this morning like we have all of Colorado. The terrain was easy to start as we walked through two parking lots before entering Mt. Zirkel wilderness. This area is one of my many favorites. We began climbing uphill then dipping with stunning views and gorgeous lakes. I began the climb up Mt. Zirkel as Paperweight was ahead and ran into Jaz. I crossed our last snowy pass in this section it was maybe 75 feet long, but I took it slow and steady as usual. The sky was threatening and I could see the smoke from the wildfire in the distance. It was a pleasant hike uphill followed by a steep downhill where I caught up with the boys at the stream. We caught up with Jaz who we hadn’t seen since Twin Lakes before heading on. The afternoon miles were nice and it only sprinkled a little bit. We dropped lower and lower before following a road then dipping into the trees then following the same road again. We missed our turn back to the trail since it wasn’t marked and took the road back to the next CDT intersection. It was getting late so we started looking for a spot in a burn section and found nothing. We pushed on and camped near a river on one side with Jaz on the other. We did some solid miles today over 28 for sure. Tonight is my last time sleeping in Colorado… For now!wildfire in the distance

Day 107

We got moving quickly this morning with own goal… Get to Wyoming. I saw a huge moose right on the trail within .1 of our campsite, but I scared him away. The birds were singing today and the sun was out. I came to the sign that read a bridge out use detour. I decided to take a quick snack break and wait for Paperweight to decide what to do. He said “we should just go for it it can’t be that bad.” The trail was very overgrown but we were able to make it through to the spot where the bridge used to be. It was going to be a fun ford. He took his turn very quickly moving over some fallen logs and almost slipping into the river. I walked a log about halfway across and then I just decided to ford it with my shoes on. So I continued on up-and-down paths letting my feet dry out and getting closer and closer to the new state of Wyoming. Most of the roads were ATV roads and pretty wide. I ended up fording another stream this afternoon. Paperweight got ahead of me and I just took my time slowly making my way out of Colorado. He welcomed me to the new state of Wyoming. Colorado was certainly a challenge, but beautiful in every aspect. The Wyoming border had a small sign, rocks showing the border, and a funny note that I included in the pictures before. We took a break here reflecting on our journey before walking into Wyoming. We are back again and the Basin is already complete meaning this state will go very quickly. We walked a few more miles before we camped off the trail hidden in the aspen trees. One of my favorite campsites! Feeling proud.

Day 108

Woke up in Wyoming and it felt great. We weren’t too far from town, but we still are quite a few miles to put in. The trailer is marked for the first bit but then it just turned into a field marked occasionally with cairns. I used my app to help find my way in a few spots. It was pleasant, but not super fast going. We met a couple moving in town and she actually lived in my hometown of Mansfield, MA for a few years actually growing up in Foxboro. She told me it was time to get out of Mansfield and enjoy the rest of this beautiful world. She loves this area and I do too! Actually, I will not be returning to Mansfield! My family is moving away and we will see where I end up. So many options for me! We busted out the last few miles and made it to the paved road. It took 6 cars and about twenty minutes to get a ride into Encampment. I rode in the back with a cute dog. She dropped us off at the Post Office. Well at the post office three different people offered us a ride back to the trail but we explained he had just got into town and was looking forward to lunch. There isn’t much in encampment so we walked a little under a mile down the road to the small town of Riverside. The restaurant there was delicious and I had a huge burger and we split an appetizer. Then we went across the street to the small convenience store that was very overpriced pick up a few items. Chipmunk showed up and joined us as we decided we should just spend the night at the RV park. So off to the RV park where we showered, did laundry, and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. We went across the street again to have one more meal at the restaurant for dinner and a beer. Another great day in the life of a thru hiker.

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