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Split & Two Step
Begins: May 1, 2017
Date: Wed, Aug 9th, 2017
Start: CDT mile 1765.6, Atlantic City
End: CDT mile 1773.2, Highway 28
Daily Distance: 7.6
Trip Distance: 1,525.8
Hours Hiked: 5.1
Daily Ascent: 821
Daily Descent: 1162
Max Elevation: 8100
Entry Visits: 301
Journal Visits: 36,803
Guestbook Views: 620
Guestbook Entrys: 57
Hiking backwards to go forward
Hiking backwards to go forward
It was cold last night in our little cabin without electricity or heat. But the battery-powered lanterns provided more than enough light, and when we snuggled between the sheets under two comforters, we were more than sufficiently warm. Most importantly, we were not wet - a great comfort.
We presented ourselves promptly at 7:00am for breakfast as instructed, and soon were enjoying a hearty meal of pancakes, waffles, sausage, eggs, and strawberries. There was more than enough for us, CDT hikers Pot and Lid, and two British bicyclists riding from Calgary, Canada, to the US/Mexico border. It was heartening to hear that the Brits had been nearly shocked at how well they had been treated by the Americans they have met. In fact, these small rural western towns seem to treat all visitors with dignity and respect - and outstanding generosity.
We had planned to zero in this small town of Atlantic City, but today looked to be favorable weather-wise, with a brief reprieve from the rain in the morning and early afternoon. So we compromised. Bill, the lodge owner, agreed to take us by car about eight miles up the road where the CDT crossed Highway 28. By 8:30am we were hiking southward on the CDT with lightweight packs and a spring in our steps. In less than an hour we covered three miles and reached the historic town of South Pass City. Before we could cross the final gate into the town we were met by the town's official greeters - three handsome mules that craved attention. To Two Step's delight, they nuzzled her hands for more attention as soon as she stopped petting them, and followed us for a hundred feet or so as we read informational signs.
South Pass City is a gold mining town that has gone through numerous boom and bust cycles since 1868. After the last cycle in the 1990's, the state bought up the remaining buildings, carefully restored them, and furnished them with actual historic artifacts from that time. Now it is an outdoor museum and source of public education available to anyone for a small fee. Entry fees are waved for CDT hikers, since the CDT runs right through the town's Main Street with all its reconstructed homes, shops, and bars/brothels. It also has a small grassy area with picnic tables and a bathroom with hot and cold running water that is made available to CDT hikers. Definitely another kindness to weary travelers. There we found Hotrod, who had stayed overnight waiting for a package - another service they provide to CDT hikers.
We toured all the buildings for over two hours with Hotrod. The most interesting part to me was the detailed description of how the gold was mined and separated from the ore, but the recreated homesteads and businesses were also fascinating. As we were finishing our tour, CDT hikers Bad Camper and Motown arrived, and a brief reunion resulted. We had hiked with them or seen them in town throughout New Mexico, but had last seen them in Pagosa Springs, the first Colorado town. They looked healthy and happy.
A final treat was finding, on sale for $ 1.25 apiece, eclipse glasses for observing the August 21st solar eclipse prior to, and after, totality. We had ordered some on line for much more, paying priority shipping, and they did not appear likely to be delivered in time to our next stop. Weighing next to nothing, we plan to carry them into the zone of totality.
Clouds were rolling in and a chill had materialized in the air by the time we were done sightseeing. Saying goodbye to our friends, we started the last five miles back to Atlantic City. With light packs and dirt roads/trails, the return was fast if unremarkable. Tomorrow, we will get another ride back to Highway 28, not quite eight miles down the trail, but five hours ahead of schedule, having already put our sightseeing behind us.
When we got back to Atlantic City, a couple hours ahead of the rain, we saw CDT hikers Skippy (last seen in Chama), and Molly-Molly (last seen with Motown and Bad Camper in Pagosa Springs). After some discussion, they also decided to stay at Wild Bill's.
We spent the rest of the afternoon on shoe and tent repairs, posting our journals and pictures, and eating homemade warm peanut butter cookies provided by Carmella, the proprietress. When the rain came, we had completed our chores, and retired to our dry cabins, something I suspect I will soon be fondly remembering.
From the CDT,
Split and Two Step
Split And Two Step's CDT Adventure
The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more: www.continentaldividetrail.org
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