Wednesday, September 17, 2008
CT DAY 28: A Parting of Ways
Aptly marking the new low in our drama, the weather turned bad as well. Rain, wind, hail, and thunderstorms raged all night and pounded our tent. We woke to cloudy skies, a cold drizzle, and our first dusting of snow.
Getting up that morning and walking around, I knew that the miraculous ankle recovery I prayed for never came. The wisest course of action (indeed, the ONLY course of action) was making an exit at Marshall Pass. Even if I fought the pain and managed to limp along any further I would soon be forced off regardless and risked serious permanent damage to 1 or both of my feet. Had I gone further, I'd simply be in a much worse state, in far more remote and distant country where necessary help was likely to be much harder to find.
As we left the campground, a light snow dusted us on our remaining three miles to Marshall Pass. This was the first snowfall I'd seen since leaving Japan. David offered to go with me, but I wouldn't let him. He had to finish the trail for Paul and I.
At the Pass we had hoped to find more traffic and people around, so that I might find an easy ride into Poncha Springs. That didn't turn out to be the case though, so I walked along FS-200 hoping to find a ride soon. Several mountain bikers were in the area, but none had vehicles conveniently located. I turned down their offers to call Forest Rangers for a pickup, but I turned them down and took my chances hiking down the trail.
The small, muddy Forest Service road proved quite pretty, but hobbling 15 miles to Poncha Springs in my current state didn't make any sense. I wished I'd taken the bikers up on their offer. Now it was raining again, and I wasn't making very good progress, despite the easy grade. Fortunately, a couple in the area for day hiking passed by after an hour or so. I flagged them down and they gave me a ride to the campground at O'Haver Lake. I soon got another ride into the Shell Station at Poncha Springs along Highway 285.
CT Day 28: Hitching Back to Denver
The Colorado Trail Story