It was about 8:30 when we emerged from our tent under crystal clear blue skies. After we had our camp packed up, we decided to hang our packs from our improvised “bear bar” and take a day hike to find the campsite we were *supposed* to use.
It took about an hour to get there. The site had a marker telling us we were at “Stage Pass.” There was a bear bar, fire ring, lots of shade from big evergreens, and soft level inviting places to put a tent.
Along the way we found the junction of the Colorado River and Lulu Creek. We filled our water bottles from the creek. After adding purification pellets, the water would be drinkable in about an hour. At this point, the Colorado is a tiny stream that one could wade across. We opted to cross on a little bridge fashioned from a pair of logs.
It was early afternoon when we retrieved our packs and headed back to the trailhead. For a while we were escorted by a mule deer. Later on we got up close and personal with another herd of elk… or maybe the same group we’d met yesterday. And we had one scenic vista after another.
Hiking that distance at that elevation with that much weight on our backs was a new experience for Rozie and a rare experience for Obbie (it’s been about 10 years). We complained a little bit, we’re a little tired and sore at the end of it, but the vistas and the wildlife sightings and the quiet made it all worth it.
We were back in the truck by 5:30 and started heading toward Granby. Before we left the park, there was another traffic jam. A moose had been sighted along with some elk, so people had stopped their cars and jumped out with their cameras. (This is where we sheepishly admit that since we couldn’t move anyway, we joined in and snapped a few frames of our own.)
We arrived in Granby hungry, but a major bicycle tour had also just arrived and they were hungry, too. We decided to keep moving rather than wait, so we had calzone and lasagna at a pizza place in Fraser.
The rest of the day was spent playing road tag with the Continental Divide. We crossed it from east to west yesterday on Trail Ridge Road. Today we went back to the eastern slope on Berthoud Pass. We were forced onto Interstate 70 for a few exits before we saw an exit for US 6 – Loveland Pass.
This was the last exit before the Eisenhower Tunnel, where I-70 goes *under* the Divide. Trucks hauling hazardous materials are not allowed in the tunnel, so we drove over Loveland Pass behind trucks loaded with gasoline. The barren alpine tundra and piles of snow were more interesting.
Back on the western slope, we came into the town of Silverthorne, where we found a Super 8 motel where we could collapse for the night.