Day 46: Hot Sulphur Springs to Walden (62 miles)
Unlike Lila and Aaron, I didn’t want to defy the ubiquitous NO CAMPING signs posted all over the Hot Sulphur Springs town park. While I recognize the chances of actually being caught were slim, I have a need at the core of my being to minimize unnecessary risk. This drive led me to a campsite called Pioneer Park roughly 0.3 miles from the lawbreakers. I woke up there the next morning to a beautiful view of the Colorado River. The fly fisherman didn’t notice I was there.
I packed up, brushed my teeth and set out to grab some coffee from the gas station before rejoining Lila and Aaron (assuming they hadn’t already been carted off to the penitentiary). As I left I got one more photo of the campsite.
When I got to the town park I found Lila and Aaron eating breakfast. They had avoided incarceration. After they finished eating and packing we set off toward our destination: Walden.
In order to get to Walden from Hot Sulphur Springs we would need to travel through the Arapaho National Forest to climb over the continental divide again. Fortunately, Willow Creek Pass is somewhere around 9,500 feet and would thus only require 2,000 feet of climbing.
We followed Willow Creek all the way up to the pass. The wind at our backs and David Bowie’s Young Americans in my ears, we ascended with ease.
We took lunch at the top of the pass where we met a couple of other bicycle tourists. They were a pair of professors doing the Colorado to Yellowstone section of the TransAm. They were both teaching online summer classes, the woman in Political Science and the man in Skiing. We chatted and learned they were planning to spend the night in Walden just like us.
After sufficient rest we started the remaining 33 miles to Walden. The ride was generally downhill from the pass and the wind was still mostly at our backs. I personally averaged about 16 miles per hour. It was a beautiful ride.
We eventually caught up to the professors and passed them. It reminded us of our first days on the trail: always slow and often weary. I’m glad we’ve improved since then.
It wasn’t long before we arrived in Walden, the moose viewing capital of Colorado.
I got there first so I laid in wait, ready to get this dorky picture of Lila.
After we set up camp in the town park, we took showers at the nearby pool. So fresh and so clean we were excited to experience the Walden night life.
We went to a bowling alley called 10th frame and had an amazing meal. It was so amazing and so filling that we actually decided not to bowl.
Today also happened to be our last full day of Colorado. We only have 22 more miles until we’re in wild, wonderful, desolate, godless Wyoming.