START: Tennessee Pass/Leadville
FINISH: Monarch Pass/Salida
DISTANCE: 100.2 miles (161.2 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 33.4 miles (53.7 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1693.2 miles (2724.4 km)
Four Breakfasts: The morning of the 18th saw me make a late start out of Leadville. At the hostel, I had lingered over a couple of largish breakfast burritos, numerous coffees and a rare opportunity to read the morning paper. I eventually departed, planning on paying a visit to the highly regarded High Mountain Pies shop before hitching back to Tennessee Pass. On my way I ran into Snorkel and Willoughby, two Colorado Trail hikers whom I had met at the hostel the previous evening. They informed me that the pie shop wouldn’t be open for another hour and a half, but as an alternative, there was a decent breakfast place just a couple of blocks away. I acquiesced and subsequently proceeded to put away another two breakfasts whilst chatting to Snorkel and Willoughby. When it was time to leave, I checked my watch and realized that the pie shop would be open in another 20 minutes. Yep, you guessed it, I made one final food stop before leaving town. Funnily enough, it was at the pie shop that I met a local resident who just happened to be headed to Frisco, and without me even having to ask, I was offered a ride back to Tennessee Pass. What a wonderful thing it is when serendipity fuses with a full stomach.
Bar-hopping in Salida: I arrived in Salida around 8.15 pm, feeling very fortunate to have procured a ride from Monarch Pass in the encroaching darkness. Upon reaching town, I made a beeline for Liv’s, a Salida trail angel who had hiked the CDT last year. Upon walking through the front door, verily before a word was spoken, I was handed a beer……….a sign of things to come. Some seven hours, three bars and I’m not sure how many drinks later, we were back at Liv’s……..I had barely eaten, hadn’t taken a shower and was still wearing the trail clothes I had arrived in. A few words of warning to all future CDT hikers who go to Salida and stay with Liv………1. Bring your drinking hat and maybe even a wooden leg ; 2. Beware of the “robot” dance, and; 3. Be ready to converse about all facets of “hiker hygiene” – Liv is a nurse by profession and trail-induced labial chafing just happens to be her favourite subject. Thanks again, Liv, for your wonderful hospitality and a very funny and memorable evening (Note: That’s the lady herself in the final photo below).