Crewing the CT: Chimney Rock and AirTag Drama

The longest drive of the trip was from Spring Creek Pass to Little Molas Lake, where I would be doing the next pick up. The driving options were the 4 hour northern route around the San Juans (which I’d already done part of) the direct route across the mountains (67 miles that google maps thought would also take 4 hours) or the 4 hour southern route around the San Juans (through Creede and later through Durango). I opted to take my 2 wheel drive Hyundai Tucson on the southern route and get some coffee in Creede where I’d gotten great coffee and pastries two years before when we got snowed out at Monarch Pass and flipped down to Durango. I was also doing a lot of work on a great audiobook by Pam Houston about her time at her ranch in Creede, Finding Hope in the High Country. It’s an amazing book, I loved being in the places she wrote about as I was listening to it, and she does the audiobook which I think makes the whole experience better. I think it’s fun when traveling to listen to a book set in the place you are, it makes the book much more alive to you and when you see locations that were in the book you have a little extra connection. Granted usually I listen to murder mysteries so it’s like “oh my god that’s where they found the first body!” but still fun.

I hadn’t done any research on the route so I was delighted when halfway through the drive I saw a sign for Chimney Rock National Monument. I decided to stop and I’m so glad I did. The new visitor center is amazing, and you can really tell that the NPS has been making a huge effort to update their exhibits and information at historical sites to keep up with current historiography and archeological research. The site was part of the Chaco Culture, and the rock formations were significant because of the alignment with the lunar standstill, which also lined up with the Great House on site.

After Chimney Rock I continued on to Durango, where I could look up to the mountains I would be driving to and see that there was a massive storm. So I made the strategic choice to hang out at Starbucks until it passed, and even Starbucks lost power, so I’m glad I wasn’t driving over the pass and setting up camp during the storm. When it cleared up enough I headed up to Molas pass and took the dirt “road” to Little Molas Lake Campground. There weren’t any tent spots left but fortunately all I needed was a parking spot.

At this point I got an alert on my phone. An unknown airtag had been detected near me. I checked the map and it was with me since I was in Creed, when I did step away from my car to get my coffee. Had someone been stalking me for four hours? I tried to disable it but I had to find it first and when I pinged it to make the alert noise I couldn’t hear anything. Clearly this stalker was a genius that had disabled the sound. I didn’t have enough service to look this up online so I called my husband who was honestly more concerned than me. I looked in all the wheel wells, every spot outside the car. Maybe I had run one over and it got kicked up into the undercarriage but the sound was destroyed. And then I remembered a conversation I’d had with my mom about airtags and I realized, maybe it was in her bag. I opened the roof box and pinged the airtag again and I could hear it, very very muffled. My heart rate returned to normal. It had only started in Creed because that was the first time there was any reception. It turned out to be my brother’s since his luggage was basically everything he had as he moved from New Zealand to British Columbia. So we all learned an important lesson here. And by we all I mean people with airtags. If you have an airtag you need to tell the people who are going to be carrying your luggage around because we really thought someone might be coming to kidnap me. He was appropriately apologetic.

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