The Promised Land

Welcome to Salida.

Day 52: June 14, 2019

Destination: Salida

Today’s Miles: 21.8

Start Location: US Hwy 225 five miles north of Villa Grove

Trip Miles: 861.0

I wasn’t sure if I would make it to Salida today. When I woke up, I told myself I would see what time I got to Poncha Springs.

The road walk there wasn’t super pleasant. The shoulder became narrower and the traffic was loud. I walked pretty fast and rolled into Poncha Springs around noon. That left 4.8 miles to get to Salida.

To get to Poncha Springs the road goes over Poncha Pass. It was uphill (gradual) to the pass and then downhill the rest of the way. On the way I found a wallet. It had IDs, cards, and some cash in it. Sigh.... I’m feeling a bit like St. Anthony with a backpack - a collector of lost things. I suppose that’s better than a collector of lost souls. I pocketed the wallet with a plan to try and find the owner online.

One interesting thing about Poncha Pass is that everything south is part of the Rio Grande Watershed, and everything north is part of the Arkansas River Watershed. Hiking a divide has the benefit of cool things like this. I continued downhill and stopped at a deli and convenience store in Poncha Springs.

I wolfed down a breakfast burrito there and Blasphemy was quick to follow behind me. We reveled in the joys of soda and then headed out, making the push to Salida. We reached the hostel by phone and confirmed bunks for the night. I had a reservation for tomorrow night already, though Blasphemy didn’t. I tried to google the person whose wallet I found, but no luck. I tried to call the university that he went to, but couldn’t get through. Ironically, I waited on hold for a long time while an automated voice said “there are zero people in front of you.” Okay...... I decided I would drop the wallet at the police station in Salida.

We walked highway 120 into town. It was quieter than the main road and had a bike path all the way in. Salida was comical. Deer were standing in peoples’ front lawns eating their bushes and flowers, and a police officer stopped to chase down a loose pair of dogs out for a joy run. Welcome to Mayberry! Seriously though, I immediately liked the feel of the place. It had a lot of life, and a big whitewater festival called Fibark was happening. There was a whitewater kayaking competition as part of the festival, so I was into it! Apparently it is the first, and therefore oldest, whitewater festival in the US.

Mt. Ouray, in the distance

We stopped at the post office to pick up my boxes. The postal worker there (Dave) was super cool and in tune with hikers. The hostel was ready and really relaxed. We spent the rest of the day talking about our go-forward plan and then we ate pizza at a local spot. It was a good day! We decided to stick to the plan - we would hike the Colorado Trail to Twin Lakes. I made the decision to keep my snow shoes and hike the CDT from Twin Lakes to Leadville. That gets me back up to elevation and I may still need them. My friend Wallace said that section (a week ago) wasn’t really intense, but there was a lot of soft snow post holing up to the knee. Anyway, that’s the plan! It’s a full house here and time to go to bed!

As a last note, I dropped the wallet off at the police and heard back from the Librarians on Bikes who dropped the battery bank in the trail that I picked up. They just told me to keep it! I guess they moved on and probably replaced it already. I have one, so I have it to Blasphemy who benefitted from the upgrade. It was nice of them!

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