Zen On Dirt

Day 37 – Leaving Lake City and searching for Apple

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Sometime around 1am, I got up and closed the windows of our 4-person bunk room. What had started as an open mic night at the bar next door that we had hoped would be over at 10 lasted until 11 and then soon deteriorated into a drum circle and general debauchery. Sleep was not easy to come by. I started thinking about proposing a zero day so that we could actually get some rest.

But I felt surprisingly good in the morning when the hikers started to rustle around to get ready for their 8am ride up to Spring Creek Pass to resume their hike. So we went to Tic Tock, got some breakfast, and debated the pros and cons of staying verses going.


French toast, hashbrowns, bacon, eggs, and a giant cinnamon roll later, we decided to go. We went back to watch seven or so hikers pile into the back of a pickup with their gear and leave to continue their journey.

We slowly got ready and rolled out around 10, ready to climb.

The decision to come to Lake City was not a super easy one to make as it required descending down to town and then climbing 3,000 or so feet to get back on the Colorado Trail Wilderness by-pass route.


In the end, it was completely worth it and the paved climb went by easily as we discussed the antics of the thru hikers and a pair of guys from the front range who’d come down to bag some 14ers and stay at the hostel. One came in the hostel with the greeting, “Nice Revelate gear.”

“Thanks. Do you bikepack?”

“I was going to bikepack the White Rim once but I had to cancel the trip. You have to carry all your water and then fill up at Potato Bottom.”

That about ended the discussion on bikepacking. But he sure did know a lot about bagging 14’ers…

Then it was an easy drop down to Cathedral, aided by a tailwind. A relatively painless climb over Los Pinos, and an tailwind assisted traverse across the flats to the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. We saw tire tracks and I could only think of the stories being created out there over the past 2.5 weeks with the epic conditions they’ve had racing.


It wasn’t long until our 60 mile or so dirt road detour was over and we were back on the CT/CDT, trying to guess what came next based on our foggy memories of racing the trail. We were gunning for Trail Angel Apple’s camp, even though some SoBo hikers had said they hadn’t seen him. That was a week ago…

We skipped over several water sources with our eyes set on Lujan Pass. Soon it became apparent that we should be more concerned with finding water before dark instead of trying to make it to Apple’s. This became even more apparent when two SoBo CT hikers told us that Apple wasn’t there. Bummer. Total buzz kill.


Luckily, Lujan Creek was running, so we filled up and found ourselves a terribly unromantic campside on the side of the road up to the pass. But…it’s warm, it’s flat, and after 10+ hours on the bikes, we’re tired.

Tomorrow, Sargents Mesa. I can’t wait.


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