After a long march during a rather dreary morning and early afternoon, we finally reached the US-50 highway. From here we would hitch a ride West to the Monarch Mountain Lodge along the highway, stay the night, and pick up our resupply box(es). We had reached Monarch Pass a day earlier than planned, which made a possible rendezvous with Paul kind of difficult, but we knew we needed to make mileage.
Unfortunately, NOBODY offered us a ride from the Colorado Trail/US-50 junction the four miles up to the lodge, turning an easy 12 mile half day into a full day of hiking. We were shocked, scandalized and outraged that not one of the hundreds of cars passing us bothered to give us a ride. It probably didn't help that the rainy weather made us look wet, turning otherwise good Samaritans into anal-retentive yuppies worried about the upholstery in their cars. I'm also willing to bet most of these people had probably spent the last 40 minutes trying to pass up big trucks and RVs, and were therefore unwilling to fall back behind them.
Either way, we finally reached the Monarch Mountain Lodge, picked up our boxes, and got a room. We had a steak dinner and soaked in their hot tub. And we found the lodge to be quite reasonably priced considering its spectacular location.
We managed to finish the daunting task of sorting through our ENORMOUS 3 boxes of food. We had packed food for 3 people and still had almost TWICE what we needed. Now with only two people, much of it was going to get thrown away. We gave some of it away to some friends we made at the resort, and still shipped a lot of the food back.
After that I went outside for one last soak in the hot tub.
SHAMELESS PLUG!: The owner of the Monarch Mountain Lodge was also kind enough to let us stash three big boxes at his business free of charge and without any expectation of reciprocity. Pretty cool I thought! So if you ever find yourself around Salida, Poncha Springs, or Monarch Pass and you are in need of a place to stay, consider heading up Highway 50 just east of Monarch Pass. The accomodations are simple, but well maintained and reasonably priced. It would be an IDEAL location to stay in the winter if you were to spend a long weekend skiing on the slopes at Monarch.
CT Day 27: Approaching Marshall Pass
Report On CT Hikers from Andy's Fragments
The Colorado Trail Story