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Carl "Z-man" Zimmerman
Begins: Jul 10, 2014
Date: Sun, Jul 13th, 2014
Start: Headwaters of Craig Creek
End: Brookside McCurdy TH
Daily Distance: 4.4
Trip Distance: 49.5
Entry Lat: 39.31756
Entry Lng: -105.4595
Entry Visits: 1,800
Journal Visits: 5,528
Guestbook Views: 683
Guestbook Entrys: 5
Colorado Trail Map
It was a soggy night. I got up w/ my back killing me again. It was dark when I woke. I decided to get up & start hiking. I had some miles to my planned stop for the night. As I broke down the tent, I went to where I'd left my pack (underneath a tree, shoulder-strap side down, covered w/ the pack rain cover). I discovered that some small creature had chewed my right should strap into. My sternum strap was also chewed off. Another elastic cord on my shoulder strap was also chewed off. Rats! I was screwed. I went about gathering up my gear & food that I'd hung in the trees. I ate breakfast pondering what I could do. I thought I might be able to use some cord to make the right shoulder strap somewhat functional. I knew that I would be reaching a 4-wheel drive TH about 4.6 miles into today's hike. I thought that I might be able to catch a ride if I walked down that road (it was Sunday).
I did manage to make the right shoulder strap functional enough to use. Obviously, I needed a new pack or the access to an industrial sewing machine to repair the strap. My choices for a new pack were Denver (further but possibly easier to get to) or Breckenridge (closer but potentially harder to get to). I began hiking uphill. It was a long slog mostly uphill. The abandoned road eventually ended being a portion of the 'official trail.' The foot trail turned off the road. There were numerous blowdown trees on the trail. It slowed me down some. Most had visible use trails around them.
After about 2 hrs of hiking, I came to Brookside McCurdy TH. It was a pretty meadow with a creek running through it. Next to the creek, there was a large campsite area with tents set up. I also saw one 4-wheel drive Suzuki Samarai parked. I walked into camp. I met the black backpacker & a couple of other CT thru-hikers. I told them about my problems w/ my backpack. The guy who owned the Suzuki said he'd give me a ride to Denver if I wanted a ride. I said that I did & offered to give him some gas money for his problem. I learned that he was friends w/ a couple of the thru-hikers in camp. He'd driven up to the camp to meet them on their hike. He had to go back this morning. So, I had me a ride. Sweet!
After about an hour, we loaded up in his vehicle. This vehicle was at least 20 yrs old. I wasn't sure it would get me all the way to Denver. I got to sit in the front passenger seat, the spot where his dog normally sat. The dog didn't like that much. She kept trying to inch her way up to the seat. The dog was much too big to be a lap dog.
The road was really rough. Very rough. It was longer that I thought it was. Eventually, I started seeing other vehicles parked/camped along the road. It would have been a long walk if I had tried to do it. I was glad I had a ride. After about 20 miles or so (guess), we hit Hwy 285. We took a left to hit Jefferson (2 miles away) to get a bite to eat & some gas. I gave Jason (my ride) $ 20 for some gas. I tried to give him $ 40 but he'd only take $ 20. We grabbed a sandwich & some other food to go. Got a few gallons of gas and headed toward Denver. The first sign showed that it was 68 miles there.
As we neared Denver, I told Jason that I would like to find a motel near the downtown REI store if possible. If I was near there, I could walk to REI and/or the nearby Union Station (where I could catch a bus to the Airport). He dropped me off at a La Quinta about 1.4M from REI. I found out that they did have rooms available. I thanked Jason again for the ride.
After I checked it, I tried calling my wife. No answer at home or on her cell. I called a couple of other numbers of people who she might be with. Eventually, I found her. I told her my situation. I told her that my back was still giving me problems & that I would check to see if it was possible to get a reasonably price airfare back to Austin. I checked my SW Airlines App on my phone & found a $ 300 fare for the next day. I booked it & called my wife back w/ the return flight info.
I walked over to REI & bought a pack duffel bag. I use the duffel to put my pack inside so the straps don't get caught in the conveyor belts that airlines use to transport luggage. I then walked back & took a shower. I then used the laundry at the motel & cleaned my clothes.
The rest of the day, I watched Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup. I still don't understand all the rules of soccer. I'm glad the game was determined in extra time instead of a shoot-out.
I was bummed about not being able to finish this hike. One the plus side, I would be able to go home & see my Granddaughter & her two small kids. She was home on leave in Austin. She hadn't been able to get leave prior to when I left to go on this hike. Now, I'd be able to see her & her two kids. I was bummed about missing that opportunity. Now, I'd get to see them. One door closes, another door opens.
Hike to be continued on a later date...
Almost there, just around the corner.