START: Muddy Pass (more or less)
FINISH: Grand Lake
DISTANCE: 74 miles (119.1 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 37 miles (59.5 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1488 miles (2394.2 km)
“He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before.“
– John Denver, Rocky Mountain High
Five Favourite Songs with “Mountain” in the Title:
Entering the Colorado Rockies, the following Top 5 naturally came to mind:
– Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)
– King of the Mountain (Midnight Oil)
– River Deep, Mountain High (Ike & Tina Turner)
– Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zeppelin)
– Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead)
Parkview Lookout: Situated on an exposed ridge at just over 12,200 feet above sea level, I stayed the night in Parkview Peak Lookout on September 13. Arriving at sunset and departing at dawn the following day, the 360 degree panorama was sublime. The weather? In a word, baltic; temps in the low 20’s, combined with gale force winds, made me very glad to be indoors. There was just one catch; a high altitude mouse that was scampering about all night, seemingly with the sole objective of not allowing his unexpected guest a wink of sleep.
Moose Gone Wild: Just before hitting the paved road which leads to Grand Lake, I was fortunate to spot a moose and it’s calf enjoying an afternoon dip. They were the first moose I had seen since the Superior Hiking Trail last October.
Southbounder!: Mid-morning on the 14th, I ran into another CDT hiker by the name of Caveman. He was the first southbounder I had met since having breakfast with Mr Clean and Terrapin, just before the mighty metropolis of Leadore some 800 miles ago! I should note that there had been a group of five hikers heading south (including Yogi, Worldwide, Fix It, Tamir and Doobie), whom I had missed/bypassed when resupplying at Togowotee Lodge.
‘We’re not in Wyoming anymore, Toto’……: Such was the stark contrast between the mostly arid final 200 miles of Wyoming and the sea of autumnal colours which is presently the Colorado Rockies, that I couldn’t help but think of Dorothy arriving from the black and white of her native Kansas to the technicolour wonder of the land of Oz. Indeed all that was missing was a pair of ruby slippers and a ‘chippy’ little canine of mixed parentage. Actually, it also would have been pretty cool if those munchkins from the Lollipop Guild showed up and did that little song and dance routine of theirs. Those guys used to crack me up every time I watched that movie…….particularly the one that’s a dead ringer for WC Fields.