Miles: 5

Camp: Grand Lake, CO at my CDT mile 1203.2

Elevation at camp: 8500 feet

Well, it was a short hike today, mostly through fields of beautiful tall grass, on a trail that was barely beat down by the ones who traveled through before me. The path was clearly defined at times, and other times it didn’t exist…or was straight up swamp. The weather was very mild and comfortable though, and the walking easy, I really enjoyed the morning.

I thought of the trail as a metaphor for life. Sometimes we are on a clearly defined path and sometimes that path just disappears, or there is a rock or tree in the way, unexpected water, a turn we missed…or things just don’t end up being what they seem. So much of the trail can be seen as metaphor. 
I thought about these things as I hiked the short distance to town today, eager to catch up with family and friends. When I got into Grand Lake, it was such a foreign world. It is definitely a tourist town, the place was crawling with them…especially on a Sunday. Slightly overwhelming, but sort of becoming the norm in these Colorado Trail towns.

I went straight to the hostel where they were kind enough to let me shower before checking in. I was going to meet my family for breakfast and was hoping not to smell too much like the trail. Unfortunately, there is no laundry in this town though…so I’m glad I took the opportunity do it in Winter Park. It is 4 days to Steamboat Springs and it will be a week of unwashed, sweaty clothes…oh trail life. Good thing I acquired a town dress in Frisco anyway. Hiking clothes don’t smell great…and I do like being somehwhat civilized in civilization.

My family arrived around 11:00 and it was so cool to see them. My uncle Craig, aunt Pam, cousin Jason and his daughter Caitlin all drove over from the other side of Rocky Mountain National Park today. We went to the breakfast buffet and then walked around the town stopping at the shore of the lake and the playground. It’s pretty cool to see them as I walk through their neck of the woods. Seeing family is a rare treat for me…let alone on trail! Thanks so much for coming to see me, for the meal, the ice cream, the VIA and the all around great company. I love you guys! XOXO 

After my family left, Tickled Pink arrived. We spent the rest of the day together walking around by the lake, eating pizza and exploring town. He used to live here, so he had a few hidden spots up his sleeve…including a rad spot we could have camped for free…but I had already paid for the hostel. He had surprised me by being a day early, so I had planned to spend a night alone and unfortunately there was no room for him at the inn (he slept in his truck). Perhaps tomorrow night we will take advantage of the spectacular free camping, as a zero is on the agenda.

Now, it is time to curl up in my cozy hostel bed and get some rest. I’ll have some errands to run in the morning, but nothing too major. I’m looking forward to spending the day with Pink in and around Grand Lake. It’s going to be another great day.

Dinner: pizza!

When the trail is a stream…and a tunnel
Osprey nest
Oh, deer!
They don’t mince words…or do they?