I woke up with the cough still hanging on. Sleepy and slowly getting my things together, again, I got started hiking around 7:45.
The trail was on the shady side of the mountain, so there were a lot of snow piles in the trail among the blowdowns. After a stop at a small stream to get some water, I decided to follow a suggestion in a FarOut comment, and climbed straight up to the ridge to avoid the trail issues. It was a steep and difficult climb, even once I was out of the trees and deadfall and snow and onto the rocks. It took over 15 straight minutes just to get to the nearest ridgetop.
The traveling and views and breeze were much better up there, sure, but I don’t know if it was worth the extra effort. A half-hour or so later, I reached the warming hut tucked into a low part of the narrow ridge. I was feeling washed out from the heat and the hard climb, and just went inside and took a seat. There was good cell service, so I watched some videos and made a nice drink and chilled for half an hour.
Waldo came up and peaked in for a minute or less. He had followed the normal trail up to the ridge and didn’t seem to think it was much of an issue. He ran on ahead.
The last three miles up and then down to Wolf Creek Pass featured the most people (and their dogs) I’ve seen out hiking since I started this year. A dozen different groups, maybe nearly 50 people headed up the hill, and this despite all the snow and blowdowns in the trail.
There was road work right at the pass where the trail crosses, so I went out in the middle of the road where it was forced together by cones and tried to thumb down rides got either direction. With no success that way, I managed to convince a young woman named Molly returning to her truck after a hike with her dog Zia. She worked in Pagosa Springs, so that is where I went.
She dropped me at a laundromat on the west end of town (‘uptown’), so I got all my clothes washed in the next couple of hours while booking a motel just down the street.
I stopped at the Dollar General next to the motel for razors and spicy Pringles before checking into the motel. After a thorough scrub in the shower and an hour or two of relaxing, it was time to head to Walmart to resupply. An hour later, I was walking back with a pack full thinking about where to have dinner. The brewery with the famous salmon fish and chips was closed at 8pm, so maybe the Mexican place Molly recommended?
Waldo passed me on the sidewalk headed to get his own resupply. He had found his way to the same area and had decided to stay in town for the night too. But I didn’t know where or see him again.
Soon, the smell of baking pizza reached out to me from half a mile away, and I found my way to Rosie’s Pizzeria and Bar, where everyone else in town was as well. It was full with a wait, but there was a seat at the bar, and the guy next to me, Shane, started chatting with me the moment I sat down.
I had three beers, Greek salad, and a pizza and chatted with Shane and his friend about 80s movies until the place closed. I had to finally tear myself away so that I could take my resupply back to the motel and pack it up.
I didn’t get to sleep until midnight.
Trail miles: 4.6