CDT Day 104: Marshall Pass Cabin to Middle Baldy – Give a Mouse a Cookie Camp to Colorado Cruising 2.0 Camp
Miles hiked: 24.1
Total miles: 1801
Sleep in a cabin. It will be warm, comfortable, and peaceful. You will wake the next morning refreshed and ready for anything the day sends your way. LIES! All of it. I suffered through perhaps my worst night of sleep on the trail, and I don’t think SpiceRack did any better. But we got up anyway, and hiked the miles. We got lucky that Colorado decided to be gentle today, though. Colorado cruising.
The cabin was too hot. Before long, I had thrown off my quilt and lay with my jacket unzipped, drinking all the water I had. That problem resolved itself after the fire died out, but then there was the noise. Five people in an enclosed space with squeaky cots and plasticy sleeping bags is too many. Constant rustling kept me up once my initial exhaustion was wiped away by a couple hours of sleep. And then someone got up to stoke the fire again, causing all kinds of ruckus, squeaky metal and clanging doors. All that sucked, but the real issue was the mouse. It sounded like it was trying to chew through the log wall just a few feet from my head. The darkness has an interesting habit of distorting time. It could have been minutes or it could have been hours of hearing that little guy burrowing into my ears, me trying in vain to ignore it. Spice was audibly frustrated as well, and eventually had the agency to investigate. To my horror, it was all my fault. Irresponsibly, stupidly, absent mindedly, I had left my bag of Oreos on the table. That mouse, man, you know what? Good for him/her. When one leaves a bag of cookies on a table in a cabin, I hope a mouse gets it. That’s what mice are supposed to do. I can’t fault the mouse. All the blame rests on my shoulders. Spice hung the Oreos with the rest of my food with understandable frustration. Then the night was peaceful.
But it was too short. The others started rustling too early. All Spice and I wanted to do was sleep in now, but they just sat there crinkling all their plastic bags for over an hour. At 8:30am, after the others had left and we were packed up, Spice and I just looked at each other and hugged. We’ll make it through the day. Spice said that it was a tough start, but we would have a strong day.
Colorado helped us have a strong day. I thought we were heading straight into the mountains south of Salida, but instead we had hills. The Cochetopa Hills. The smooth Colorado Trail brought us through a peaceful forest with occasional viewpoints that revealed more hills, some blanketed in yellow aspen. We met up with Crunch, then with Rooster and we leapfrogged all the way to lunch at a creek.
From there we had a long, gradual climb up Sargent’s Mess. A wide meadow with wider views awaited us. There, Spice and I decided to check out the Soldier Stone, a memorial to those who served for any country in the Vietnam War. It was a quarter mile off trail, but a worthy excursion. The place had a powerful feeling of peace surrounding it. I left impressed by the clear importance it has to the people who have an understanding of war that can only be gained through active service, but confused all the same. Saddened that we have war at all in the world.
I stopped to write, then chased Spice down the trail until darkness, when I found her waiting on a stump. We made it a few more miles by headlamp, heard an elk bugling, then stopped at a spot that we hope will have a great sunrise tomorrow. Something to help us get a good start. I can’t be worse than what we got this morning. But we did manage to have a strong day after all.