Wednesday, August 15, 2018 — Miles 117.6–122.8 (5.2 miles for the day)
I wake up feeling rested and revived, a restorative sleep after such a hard hike the day before. But the minute I crawl out of bed I realize there’s something wrong with my right ankle. It’s swollen and bruised and won’t bear my weight.
I take some time to ice and elevate my foot, but before long we’re summoned to breakfast with our fellow lodgers. We missed breakfast yesterday due to our hiking schedule, so we’re not sure what to expect. The innkeepers fix pancakes and eggs, and we enjoy an hour swapping stories with the other guests.
After breakfast, we align on our plan for the day, which includes a slew of chores to accomplish before we head back to the trail in the afternoon. This is what hikers call a “nero” day, that is a day with “nearly zero” miles. I admit to mom that I’m already dreading the idea of leaving the comforts of town and reentering the rugged wilderness, but she responds as good hiker buddies do and encourages me that we can do this!
We check out of our inn and head to the laundromat across the street to do a quick load of laundry. Between cycles we walk a few blocks to the grocery store to get some ibuprofen and an ankle brace for me. Both of these items work their magic, and I feel much better about the prospect of hiking.
Then we head to a coffee shop to do some administrative things and recharge phone batteries, followed by another visit to the Breckenridge Tap House. We enjoyed our tacos so much the night before that we want one more round before heading out of town.
Then, sufficiently full and satisfied, we navigate a series of shuttles and buses that get us back to the trail head at Copper Mountain.
We are hiking by 4pm with a goal to only do 5 or 6 miles. The route weaves in and out of the ski slopes, and I find myself appreciating the contrast between rugged trail and ritzy resort.
During our hike yesterday mom had established that she wants her trail name to be “mother OTC”, a reference to the fact that she decided to tackle this hike coming straight “off the couch.” But by the end of our allotted miles today, she declares she’s actually “mother WTF”—she’s just in so much pain. She hobbles into camp, and I insist she rest. These last two days of hiking have really taken a toll and I worry for her.
We’re both still full from town food so we skip dinner and make tea instead. Then we get in the tent, make plans for tomorrow, and listen to a sermon ironically titled “When God Leaves You With a Limp.” Here’s hoping that’s not our reality tomorrow!