Well I did a silly thing and my entire post got deleted without a backup so I’m rewriting it now. If there’s a slight tone of frustration here that’s where it’s coming from.
From Curecanti I headed to Lake City (and easy hour drive down 149) for a day of wifi and then the plan was to head up to Spring Creek Pass where according to the National Forest website there was a campground right where the Colorado Trail hits the parking lot. I posted up at the Lake City Cafe which had breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and let me sit outside and use the wifi after they closed so I could send some emails and, importantly, download a few more episodes of Love Island for the evening. In the early afternoon I headed up to the pass and it was a good thing I went up early because the campground at the trailhead was no more and there was no camping in the parking lot. I probably would have been fine there to be honest but the parking lot was jam packed full so I started driving down from the pass looking for another campground or dispersed camping, I had passed a few on the way up. There was a dirt roadish situation pretty close to the pass that I drove down but I couldn’t tell on the map if it was private land or National Forest land and it was very visible from the road so I turned around and headed back out. A few miles down there was what appeared to be an abandoned National Forest Campground, and there was someone with an RV already there so I pulled in to a spot with a good view and set up for the night. Picked some strawberries and enjoyed them while storms rolled in for the afternoon.
I had wanted to get in position early in case Mom and Ben were ahead of schedule, and sure enough at 7:30 my InReach beeped. They were on their way out and based on the message I had no idea when they had sent the message or what time they would be out so I booked it up there. I threw some oranges, a bottle of fresh water, a bottle of electrolyte drink and a couple bars in my bag for whatever they needed and headed up the trail very slowly with lots of breathing breaks. I had ben up and down elevation this trip but this was my first hike at elevation.
Driving down to Lake City (with one small stop to cool my brakes) we arrived after 9pm which meant it was dark, everything was closed, and the streets were empty. We parked in front of the cafe to use the wifi to find a place to stay but unfortunately it was the weekend and there was no room at the inn. We started driving around looking for campgrounds. Suddenly there was a crowd of people walking down the middle of the road with flashlights that we had to navigate. Turns out it was a ghost tour, but shortly afterward we saw the same hiker I’d seen on the trail (that mom and Ben had met before) walking around, also looking for a place to stay. We started following him in the car before realizing that was wildly creepy behavior so mom jumped out and ran after him, silhouetted in the headlights, yelling “hey hiker!” So he definitely thought he was going to get murdered. With his help we found an RV park that had hiker camping around the back. Ben and mom had certainly earned their extra zero day and we got to enjoy breakfast at the Lake City Cafe, laundry, the sights of Lake City, and beers and deviled egg flights at Lake City Brewing Company.
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