Sunday, October 10, 2010

Echo Lake - Snow in May!

We loved Echo Lake from the moment we set foot on that campground. It was off-season so there wasn't a camping fee which is always a plus. We set up our tent and noticed that we weren't the only campers there so we headed on over to the Echo Lodge to see what the story was. The lodge is so neat, they sell all sorts of touristy things and have some great food as well. We learned the other campers were a group of boys who'd just caught a good sized rainbow trout down at the lake. Echo Lake is very interesting. It's not too big and isn't actually very deep. In fact, it has to be restocked every spring because it freezes completely solid every winter. After learning a few things, we headed back to camp and met the other campers over there. It wasn't long before it began to snow, and what a surprise that was! We were up at about 10,000 feet so it probably shouldn't have come as quite a shock, but we were still in shorts and t-shirts! I'd missed the snow since I'd been living the past year on the coast in the southeast and I know Chuck was excited about it as well.

We changed into warmer clothes and made some dinner while the boys in the site next to us cooked their trout. We eventually made our way over there to see if they had any weed, and we smoked it up with them as we stood around the campfire. The snow came down quitely around us while we lauged and told stories as the sky turned dark. We all eventually turned in for the night, but Chuck and I were awoken sometime in the middle of the night to some sort of commotion. He went out to see what was going on and quickly returned to tell me that the snow was too much for their tent and it had begun to leak pretty badly. He grabbed the headlamps and went out to help them pack up. By morning, we were all alone with a blanket of white surrounding us.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hitchhiking Tip #2: Stay Clean!

If you haven't had a shower in a week, at least try to look like you have! This, to me, is a very very important tip. Ask yourselves, if you were to pick up a hitchhiker, would you pick up one who looks like he'll stink up your car? Most people would say no, they wouldn't. So even if you do smell to high heavens, at least look like you're as fresh as a daisy. Once they realize you've just rolled in the dumpster it'll be too late to drive off without you!
Also, have some gear with you, a backpack at the very least. This gives you purpose. Again, many who picked us up said they did so because we looked like travelers, not hobos. Chuck always stayed clean shaven and wore a travelling hat. He swears by that hat to this day. So go get one! It'll keep the sun off your face and make you appear all "worldly and stuff."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 2: Mt. Falcon Park to Echo Lake

Once up and on the way, we still had a while to go before reaching the top of the trail. It was still just as rough on me; this was pretty much my first real hiking experience, and boy what a way to start! We stopped a time or two for a handful or GORP and to let more ambitious bikers ahead of us. When we reached the top we found a picnic table so we sat and refueled; luckily the hard part was behind us. I was really tired of puking my guts up from the altitude sickness. We got back to hiking and ran into a nice biker. She gave us her number and told us if we were going back in the direction of Denver to give her a call. She'd have been more than happy to let us get showers, have a beer, and let us sleep on the couch. We would have taken her up on the offer, but there was no way we were tackling that trail a second time! The shower and beer did sound nice though...3 days on a Greyhound bus doesn't exactly leave you smelling as fresh as a daisy. We moved on though, not realizing that we just experienced the first of what would soon become many generous offers from such amazing people. Before we knew it we found the Castle Ruins. What an unexpected surprise! We walked around them for a bit and ran into an older couple going the same way as us. We told them we were walking the American Discovery Trail and were on our way to Evergreen. They were heading the same way and offered us a ride! We walked and talked the rest of the trail with them until we reached the parking lot. They had a tiny white pick-up that would prove to be one of the most uncomfortable rides we endured. I had to sit on top of Chuck's lap which I know didn't feel good for him, but I still think I got the rough end of the deal as the entire ride was downhill and my knees were forced into the dash and my head kept getting banged on the ceiling. But honestly, we were just glad to have the ride and from such nice people too!