25 mi ::
1228 mi ::
Warm, humid, cloudy
I’ll be on roads all day today, so once I get started I concentrate on making miles. My road stays on the divide for awhile, then descends north at Chimney Rock to avoid private property.
I encounter six large elk bulls walking toward me on the road. We stop and look at each other. Their antlers have grown to a few points now, making them appear larger and more majestic. They turn and run when I start walking again.
Later a coyote-like shape stops in the road in front of me. It has a short snout and a long, bushy tail with a white end. It leaves me unsure what I’ve seen, and I doubt the low-res picture I took will be much help.
At breakfast I pull out my wet tent to dry, but the sun immediately goes behind a cloud. I call Ann and tell her I think I’ll try to make Rabbit Ears Pass today, still over 20 miles away.
The road from here is a good, easy descent through aspen groves and meadows. It’s so humid and there’s so much Chamomile growing here, it feels like I’m swimming in a cup of herbal tea sometimes.
Further down I walk through several herds of large cattle – big, stocky things, maybe black angus. I’m starting to feel like I’m back in New Mexico.
The feeling continues when I reach CO14, filter the brownish water of Grizzly Creek for lunch, and start pounding pavement.
I cover nine miles of highway 14 in about three hours. In the absence of my pedometer I count my steps myself for a mile, coming up with 1,960. My feet are tired and tenderized when I turn onto US40 at Muddy Pass. I haven’t quite made it to Rabbit Ears Pass when Ann pulls up in the Subaru. I’m glad to see her, I’ve had enough highway.
We cruise down to Steamboat Campground on the Yampa river, where my Mom is waiting. She and Ann make a tasty chicken curry soup to celebrate our reunion, and Mom hands me a bag of my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
I’m looking forward to a few rest days here, during which I’ll celebrate my 32nd birthday.