After breakfast I contemplated Steamboat Springs and how much money lived in this town… people who’d made their fortune on good business investment, or people who’d made their money on flash in the pan investment like the current technology industry, or, people who simply didn’t have the easy script to write but that had lots of spare money nonetheless… to by a second, third, or even fourth vacation home in Steamboat Springs. This is the thing that struck me about Steamboat – nothing seemed authentic. Nothing and no one seemed like they were “originally” from Steamboat. The downtown felt manufactured and the “industrial” areas seemed only obligatory- and our trail magic hookup at Freshies, Natural and I walked to the bus stop where we went one long stop down to the Exxon station south of town and began to hitch. Same story as into town – car after car – with room, passed us by until another young woman in her 20’s picked us up who had previously been working for REI in Massachusetts (before moving to Steamboat), and who also had a friend who was currently hiking the trail. Madeline drove us to the point on the highway where we had stopped the day before and hitched to Steamboat, so we had her drop us off on the same spot and started hiking again from there. We hiked through very gradual and moderate terrain… mostly high, alpine lakes, marshy meadows, rolling openness kind of stuff.
After an hour or so we came up on Fishhook Lake. I stopped and took a beauty break here and paused to reflect on a sign I’d seen earlier… “Rabbit Ears Pass…” and it said ‘named because of it’s appearance,’ which had to have looked like two rabbit ears, wouldn’t you think? Anyway… yes, I stopped and lingered here on a beautiful, late June afternoon in the middle of north-central Colorado. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.
On a day that had started off with lots of threatening clouds, got windy and “meh,” it then settled down into a beautiful June afternoon in Colorado and in retrospect, turned out to be another wonderful and lush Colorado afternoon.
We passed by a series of lakes… Lake Elmo, Round Lake, Lost Lake, Grizzly Lake, and then cruised by several more potholes and tarns above 10,000 feet on a trail appropriately named at this juncture, the Wyoming Trail. The trail cut through Routt and Jackson Counties in Colorado and wove us between the aforementioned alpine areas above 10k feet and lush, sparsely-treed meadows and soggy water features in their peak summer form.
On day two out of Steamboat we had much more aggressive plans, and that was to simply get closer to hiking 30 miles for the day. We entered the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness area and upon reflection I was blown away by the views, the bird wildlife and just the fact that I’m half way across the Rocky Mountain west, in the middle of summer, in the middle of drought season, and in the middle of… just the darned middle of everything! I … Damn. I’m hiking the Continental Divide Trail.
Day 1: 15.7 miles 1462 to 1477.7
Day 2: 30.4 miles 1477 to 1507.4
Day 3: 31 miles 1507.4 to 1538.4