I left work on Tuesday the 12th, and began my 6.5 Hr. drive down to Silverton- most of the time was spent listening to “Denali Howl’s”- by Andy Hall. It was a fantastic book, and kept me occupied for the entire drive!
When I got to the town of Montrose, I’d been in the car for around five hours, so it was time to take a quick break. I stopped at a small liquor store, and picked out my last beer before my trip….an interesting brew by Rogue made with Beard Yeast. Yes. Beard Yeast.
Beard Beer- ingredients:
Water, Hops, Barley, Beard Yeast.
Surprisingly good– an interested twang from the yeast- tasty golden-ish ale.
I continued my drive towards the town of Ouray- and around Ridgeway- got monstrously exhausted. I took a side road that said “National Forest Access”– expecting it to be not too far….however after about 45 mins of driving I saw a pull off. I had no idea where I was, but I had to sleep.
I climbed into the bed of my truck, and hoped that one of the valley farmers would not be banging on my truck with a loaded shotgun pointed at me– yelling to get off their property. Luckily that didn’t happen and I was able to wake up to a beautiful scene….on private property.
I climbed into the cab of the truck, and took off down the country road, back to the center of Ridgeway- then made my way up Red Mountain Pass. I’ve heard horror stories about this pass, there are no guard rails, and long drops. It really wasn’t that bad, though I could see it being awful in winter.
Not a good sign.
I arrived in Silverton around 8:00AM, and immediately sought out coffee and breakfast– I didn’t have to catch the train until 2:30PM.
The Avalanche Cafe- which also happens to be Avalanche Brewing Company- a coffee, food, and beer establishment.
Great place to get some local flavor- and that includes the people!
I spent the better part of my morning chatting with an interesting elderly local, and another transient traveler who was mountain biking the Colorado Trail.
The old guy that I met when I first arrived, told me stories about when he used to drive for a rafting company in Utah(very Edward Abbey sort of stories), his stint as a trucker going over mountain passes, and stories from his teen drug use years. He was truly a fascinating character, we were joined by another character- about 35- from Grand Junction- who was telling us about mountain biking the Colorado Trail.
I ended up sitting with them until around noon, then went to my truck to organize the rest of my gear and charge my phone(which was used as a camera/alarm clock for most of the trip).
My goal was to compete this trip with a pack under 30 lbs, which I succeeded in doing 26.2 lbs, when I got on the trail at 2:30.
Me and the 26.2 lb pack.
It was a dreary afternoon, and by the time I had exited the train, it was pouring, and it finally stopped around 6 or 7 PM.
Trail– all the way to treeline.
I made it to treeline around 7, and began searching for a place to set camp- a half an hour later, I was setting up my tent, and making dinner. I chose a location across the river, quiet, sheltered, and secluded. I was looking for a quiet reflective trip, needed time to think, put things back into perspective. It’s been a rough year, I had a lot to think about.
It began to rain again, so I crawled into my tent, hoping it’d clear over night so I could climb the next day.