Day 9 — Civilization

Monday, August 13, 2018 — Miles 91.4–104.4 (13.0 miles for the day)

Our day yesterday was such a triumph that this morning feels a bit underwhelming. JT is up and at ‘em quickly this morning, and I once again wake to the pleasantries of a warm crackling fire.

He insists on a hearty breakfast so we cook up some pasta and tuna, even though it’s not strictly breakfast food. I packed us WAY too much food, and I’m laughing about how much extra we’ll be hauling into Breckenridge today. I tell him about the hiker adage, “you pack your fears”, and we conclude that I’m afraid of people not having enough to eat. And then we laugh some more when JT points to his stack of cushy sleeping gear—apparently he’s afraid of not sleeping well.

We see Scott go by again, and we’re soon packed up and not far behind him. We see him off and on as we all make our way 13 miles to Breck. He’ll be staying at the same inn as us, so it feels like we already have a friend on the trail.

We climb up smaller but steeper mountains today, stopping for regular breaks along the way. Finally we draw closer to Breckenridge and enjoy our last break on a cliff overlooking the valley. It’s a special moment to be on the border between the wild and the town, and we enjoy the contrast. By this point, we’re both dealing with a lot of pain and fatigue and it’s all we can do to drag ourselves down the last mile of the mountain. The uphill stretches are hard work, but it’s the steep downhills that really take a toll on your joints.

At the bottom of the hill we catch a shuttle into town and walk three blocks to the inn. We get checked in, and I take a glorious shower, scrubbing away inches of grime.

By that point mom has arrived, and the three of us spend a delightful evening eating burgers and ice cream and sharing all of our trail stories.

And then, far too soon, it’s time for JT to take the car and head out, back to civilization and his own sweet family. We send him off with love and good wishes, and mom and I return to the inn. I make some phone calls to Isaac, then Kendyll, then Isaac again. I have loved the moments in the mountains so far, but I find that I love these interactions with my cherished people even more.

Tomorrow mom and I will tackle a 13-mile segment from Breck to Copper Mountain without having to carry a bunch of gear. At the end we’ll grab a shuttle and come right back to the inn for another night of sleep in civilization.

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