Unfortunately leaving Rawlins didn’t mean immediately leaving the desert. It took two full days of hiking to get back to the forest. Every mile we went however, was greener. We were reminded that the desert was still there by seeing two rattlesnakes not long after we started. The first one was halfway through a meal of chipmunk when we came across him (I was unable to tell if the unlucky chipmunk was Alvin, Simon or Theodore and emails to their agent haven’t been returned). These were our first venomous snakes of the trail and they made Kevin pretty nervous for the rest of the morning. Once we made it back to forest, the change in my attitude was profound. We were once again hiking in shade and on actual trail instead of jeep tracks. It kind of felt like coming home after a long absence.
On the fourth day we crossed the Colorado state line first thing in the morning. True to form the weather changed as well. That afternoon we had small but thick clouds blowing overhead. Some of them produced thunder and lightning along with rain, but none of them lasted more than five minutes. At one point we were running for shelter from pea sized hail while still in full sun.
I got a special welcome to Colorado – ripe berries. It started with raspberries and was followed by thimble berries and either blueberries or huckleberries (I can’t tell the difference.) I found myself literally eating my way down the trail. It’s a good thing more of the hike doesn’t have these or I’m not sure I’d make it to Mexico.
For our last full day we were treated to an extended walk along the divide above 11,000 feet. It was miles of open country with lakes and wildflowers. We might have actually burst out singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music” a time or two. Also to herald in September the morning was noticeably cooler and I didn’t switch to shorts until well after lunch.
I’ll be taking a long weekend off as Rebecca is flying out to visit. Neither of us have been to Steamboat before so it should be a grand old adventure. I’m planning on heading back to the trail sometime Monday afternoon. That should clear the hoardes of weekend warriors out who were getting their last nature fix for the summer.