I could have used an escalator today, not to mention a better map. I am on my way back to the American Discovery Trail, where I can blame bad directions and poor routing on others. Unfortunately there was one more chance to screw things up on Saturday's hike and I took advantage of the opportunity presented me.
The fiasco all started when I looked at a Delorme's Colorado Atlas and found a country road which seemed to provide a nice shortcut off of the busier Highway 65. I would be safer, could cover the ground more quickly, and would come out back on 65 right where it veered off onto 123, my next turn. What could go wrong?
I came out smelling of roses in the early running. I was headed in the right direction and visible above was 65, which I expected to run into at the end. My success was smashed when I turned a corner and came upon a sign signaling the road now ran onto private property and trespassing was expressly forbidden. Any ideas I had of taking my chances with being caught were foiled by a herd of cows sitting like mafia dons (this is not to be taken as an ethnic slur directed at Italians, who are not surrounded by flies and do not chew their cud), forbidding further encroachment.
I retreated a few hundred yards and found what looked like a trail, which also seemed to travel toward the promised land of 65. Renewed hope only lasted a few minutes, when I came upon a high barbwire fence and thick brush beyond, which dashed my dreams of bush-wacking my way out of the predicament.
I had no choice but to tuck tail and return to the starting point. I had wasted two hours and walked six miles with no advancement. I might as well have been exercising on a treadmill. Did I mention virtually every step had been uphill? On the way down there was a lengthy monologue of self castigation involving a string of curse words, some of which are so foul I didn't even know they existed in my subconscious.
Anger fueled me as I made it back to GO and began the long climb up the mesa yet again. I managed four hard uphill miles in only an hour, powered by the steam leaking leaking from my ears. When I finally arrived at 123 I was out of water and exhausted by over-exertion. The road refused to give quarter, continuing to rise as I scraped to gain a foothold atop the plateau. Not one to miss a chance to kick a guy in the crotch, the sky began to piss all over my parade.
The tough and frustrating trek was soon forgotten, however, when I reached my host for the night, the Cobb family. Lynne is the State Coordinator for the ADT in Utah. She and her husband have recently retired from their jobs in psychology and medicine and purchased a summer home in Grand Mesa. Their son-in-law Todd, a builder, is currently helping with renovations on the cabin, which sits aside Eggleston Lake. Lynne's brother Eric Seaborg and his wife Ellen were two of the main scouts responsible for determining the route of the ADT.
Lynne knew exactly what to do to heal my ailing body and psyche. A shower, hot food, and a couple of beers later everything was again right with the world. She also promised to accompany me on tomorrow's hike and help me get a preview of the following bits of trail. Its funny how the effort of tackling a mountain never seems worth it until you get to the top.
12 miles/ 2885 total miles