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Day 80: 10/12/17  Feels Good to be back! (Even though it’s a paved road walk with 65mph speed limit

Miles: 19 Steps: 38,215 Vertical gain: Strava Knows! Liquid consumed: 96 oz. Wildlife: Beautiful hawks, horses, cattle, dogs, prairie dogs, squirrels Faith in Humanity: One guy stopped and asked where I was headed, and a few cars waved at me which is nice! Lack of faith: seeing the CO DOT truck stop to move a garbage bag out of the road but rather than put it in their truck they tossed it into the ditch on the side of the road: what?? I woke up feeling good and dove right into showering, packing up, eating some of the tasty continental breakfast I’ve grown fond of (honestly is there a breakfast, or meal for that matter, that I don’t like?) and checking out. Although relaxing hotel life can be nice, it’s also very expensive and I want to walk! I wasn’t in too much of a hurry because my choices for camping were somewhat limited today and I didn’t want to push myself too horribly hard. I was on the road hiking the shoulder at 9am. I passed this group of five guys walking who stared a bit but really didn’t want to talk right off the bat. I thought: “I wonder what it feels like when the person you think is homeless is much fitter than you and just passed you right on by?” Haha... Very loud today. Lots of traffic, 60 or 65 mph speed limits the whole way, and quite a large number of 18 wheelers, RVs and assorted huge trucks. Shoulder was pretty wide most of the way, but shrank for the last 1/3 of the day or so. It wasn’t scary, but I certainly paid attention the whole way. I took my first break 13 miles in which really surprised me. I guess it doesn't surprise me that much since it’s really no fun taking a break in an exposed ditch next to a barb wire fence, which was the option until I reached a closed campground. The campground was a bit off the road, was quite, had some large beautiful trees and even picnic tables to hang out in. I thought I might have to camp at the closed campground since public land was somewhat limited today, but I looked at my map and found another option 6 more miles down the road. I was feeling good after the long break, and really all day, so I kept moving. I eventually got to the “town” of Piedra, CO which is a series of houses, one closed-Long-ago art gallery/snack shop and a place that rented cabins but no one was really around there either. I turned down the road to access the national forest, filled my water from the river and went a few minutes off the road to Set up camp. I found a nice shady spot and relaxed and read for 3 hours. Lazily set up my tent, and here I am at sunset. Of course now I appear to have neighbors, but it sounds like they’re pretty far away, hopefully they won’t fire their guns at night (you probably think I’m joking but it definitely happens!) Tomorrow I have another reasonable 19 or 20 Mile day as I don’t really see any other legal camping options other than that. Bayfield, CO here I come!! Very happy to be back out on the trail! Yay!!!! Also, regardless of the differing thoughts on public land: it sure does feel good to camp legally for free! Very happy to be in my tent! Also it’s crazy that it’s almost completely dark at 7:15pm! Wonder what December will be like!!!

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