Daily Miles: 8
Total Miles: 1430
Even though we only hiked eight miles today, it feels like it has been three days rolled into one.
We were woken up at 5:00am, when first horses and the quads came by our camp. We stayed in our hammocks another half hour, but then got up in the dark. We packed up and headed out by 6:00am. It is becoming obvious how the summer is fading, when it used to be light by 6am and now it is still completely dark. In fact, we probably used our headlamps for at least twenty minutes after leaving camp.
Pretty soon after starting, we left the forest roads behind and started in on a trail. At first, it looked like it was going to be hard to follow, which is even tougher in the dark, but then it got quite good for awhile.
Sadly, it didn’t last and we were just bushwhacking through piles of downed trees. We came out into a clearing and met a hunter who was out early. When we told him the route we were planning for today, he told us we would be going through private land.
We always try to avoid private land, and just hadn’t realized on our maps that it was private. The National Forest border was actually not correct on our background layer on our phone GPS according to his GPS maps (which were probably more accurate). He gave us a suggestion of an alternate route to avoid private land, which we decided to take. We followed a two track for a bit which took us into a patch of state trust land.
When we got to the fence line for the private land, we were happy to see a path following the fence line. We made our way around the private land and came out to a paved road through a little corner of public land. When we got to the road, there was a sign for the state land, which we read. Turns out we weren’t completely in the right by going through the state trust land, as it was reserved for only hunters at this time of year. But, we decided that the path we took was the most legitimate and respectful of land owners that we could put together, since we didn’t want to just skip the section between Encampment and Steamboat Springs.
When we got to the road, we just waited a few minutes and then were picked up by a taxi we had requested. We were brought to the airport in Hayden in hopes of getting a rental car to drive down to New Mexico. Sadly, there weren’t any cars available, so the taxi drove us to the airport in Eagle, CO (2 hours away) where we were able to get a car.
We then started our drive down to Santa Fe. Of course, we were already tired by the time we got in the rental car, so our motivation to drive late was non-existent. We made it as far as Salida, CO and called it a day.