I'd never really hitchhiked before the Colorado Trail, and consequently, I wasn't very good at it. I'd finally arrived in Poncha Springs in the early afternoon and was eager to get back to Denver for what I assumed would be a bit of a recovery process. It was easier said than done though.
Several people in the Poncha Springs Shell Station told me to try a truckstop in Salida, so I quickly found a ride there. Those people then told me that if I wanted a ride to Denver, I'd need to stay on US Highway 285, as most people in Salida were bound for Colorado Springs or Pueblo. So I quickly found another ride over in that direction. I'd gotten three rides to as many locations in Chaffee County within 10 minutes. Finally, to get a ride to Denver, I left another Shell station (I'd been soliciting rides there for 30 minutes) and started hiking up US-285 after losing my patience.
I hiked for 40 minutes up the highway before someone finally pulled over to pick me up. The two Western State College students from Gunnison, CO were headed to Colorado Springs to visit friends for a week and join a protest at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. They said they could drive me as far as Colorado Springs or Jefferson, (where they were turning off). I figured I'd have more luck in Colorado Springs than I was there, so I agreed to join them till they got to Colorado Springs.
I was immediately greeted (attacked?) by the friendliest golden retriever I'd ever met. Not 0.3 seconds after sitting down the older puppy jumped up on my face and started licking me. He wouldn't stop either! So I spent most of the ride to Colorado Springs fighting off animal dander and doggy slobber to the tune of endless Phish tapes.
My dread-locked hosts were nice for the most part, and we eventually reached Colorado Springs, where they dropped me off at the Interstate-25 junction. I figured from here I could easily get a ride into the Denver area or if worse came to worse, I could call my parents or get a bus.
Well the worse did indeed come to worse. I had ABSOLUTELY NO LUCK getting a ride out of Colorado Springs. I stood on two intersections for 40 minutes each without so much as a passing acknowledgement of my plight. I finally called my parents and they found me sometime about 8 PM for a drive back to their house in Denver.
CT: Analyzing What Went Wrong
Tyler Returns From Andy's Fragments
CT Hiking Photos From Andy's Fragments
The Colorado Trail Story