Highpoint

Waning Gibbous Moon

So much transpired in the past 30 hours or so that I can’t begin to write it all down. Instead, I’ll hit the highlights and hope you get the gist of it.

Yesterday started with a primo breakfast at the Glen Echo Resort with Hugh and several of his local friends. Every Friday they get together for breakfast to shoot the breeze and to support the restaurant. Great folks and terrific omelets. Hugh is the happy Scotsman to my right.

One of the gents did not believe that I had been walking from the East Coast for five months. So funny. The fourth guy from the front on the left. He just shook his head no, no matter what I or Hugh said. 

Hugh was going to his favorite fishing hole upriver so he dropped me off on the highway and I started pushing Bobalooie up toward Cameron Pass. I was blessed to meet Hugh McKay and his friends. There are no words of gratitude sufficient to express my thanks. Hugh is building a cool web site on Colorado native plants, one of his many hobbies.

Hugh’s Colorado Flora Website

Plopped in the grass next to a rest area, I met Michael the bicyclist who was attempting to get back home to Utah. He barely had any gear, just a knapsack with a sheet and a pillow case and a jacket. He was riding an ill-fitted mountain bike with a busted shifter. So he walked the bike uphill, pedalled as best he could on the straights, and coasted like crazy downhill. Sans helmet or gloves. Michael the Madman! He had a great attitude. I hope he makes it safely all the way home on his adventure.

Close to the pass I met Scott the P.E. teacher from Fort Collins. He works in the mountains in the summertime tending the Greeley waterworks systems in the canyon. Fit as a fiddle, he was enjoying a Friday morning bike ride up to the top.

The road has nice wide shoulders so I could relax and climb the mostly gentle grade. I saw Bullwinkle!

Looked all around for Rocky, Natasha, Boris et al. but sorry, no luck.

Before long, I was at the top of the pass, and pretty darn happy. At 10,276 feet I’m pretty sure this will be the highest point of the whole trip.

Then it was down down beautiful down all the way to Gould. Michael the Madman whooped and waved as he sped past me and I never saw him again. It was slightly overcast. These pictures don’t do justice to the scenery, but take my word for it, this place is awesome.

Two women heading home to Fort Collins stopped to chat for a minute. Kate and Glenda generously gave me three bottles of water, good advice on staying hydrated, and some money toward a cabin in Gould. Glenda, a retired librarian, has achieved some reknown as one of the top authorities on Calamity Jane. Ms. Jane has one of my all time favorite nicknames.

I stopped at the Moose Visitors Center just before Gould and had my picture taken with the moose statue there. It is made entirely from barbed wire. Looks just like Bullwinkle!

When I got to Gould I was footsore and hot. There I learned that all the cabins were rented for the weekend for an ultramarathon trail run. 100 kilometers! I met some cool young runners from Oregon, but struck out on a place to stay indoors.

The next stretch to Walden is a long, shoulderless walk across North Park, a strange high desert looking ocean of grass. This is the classic middle of nowhere. Rumor had it there were yurts for rent on the old KOA property a couple of miles outside of Gould, but nope, no go. I was getting that sinking feeling like my luck had run out until Jack the trash hauler stopped to offer me a ride. Whew! Room in the back for Bobalooie and room up front for me.

So eventually I made it to Walden at the Vic and Sigrid Memorial Park where bicycle travellers and touring strollerists can camp for free. It has soft grass, a gazebo, tables, a bathroom with a sink and running water – it even has outlets where I can charge my phone. 

I already have my breakfast spot picked out for tomorrow. 

My friend and former thesis adviser Geoff Thyne is driving down from Laramie this afternoon to camp out here at the park and catch up after many years. 

I am going to get him to geosplain this North Park business to me. Jack the trash hauler said they found some shark teeth on a ranch nearby. And it looked to me like there were dunes way off in the distance. Splain this place, Dr. Thyne!

Peace, Love, and Geology,

Palomino

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