August 28, 2010
Today’s Miles: 10
Total Miles: 383.5
Breakfast Elevation: 11,920 ft
Dinner Elevation: Creede
High Point: 11,920 ft
It’s a beautiful morning at San Luis Pass.
I pack up camp and descend to the trailhead. From there I follow a dirt road that leads to Creede.
There’s absolutely zero traffic on the road this early in the morning, and the only sound that permeates my existence for about a full hour is the faint hiss of an active mining operation. It sounds like a distant jet plane in the sky.
Road-walking is always different than being on a trail. First of all, the distance doesn’t “count” toward the official CT and my final destination of Durango, so that’s always in the back of mind. But mostly it’s just that roads are built for vehicles, not walking – on the road the path is laid out before you, eliminating the small discoveries of what’s around the bends of a trail.
The road seems to wind down forever, taking a toll on my body with the steep, constant descent.
Eventually there’s a handful of sporadic vehicles, but they’re all going in the opposite direction.
Finally a car passes that’s going my way, but by then I’m already so close to town that I don’t bother trying to bum a ride.
Things become more interesting as I get closer to Creede. There’s a major silver mining history in the area, and quite a few of the old head frames and structures have been preserved. The road follows a rushing stream through a narrow canyon that’s apparently been blasted out with dynamite.
On the outskirts of town I pass a mining museum that’s actually located underground, in what I assume to be an old mine. There’s also a firehouse blasted out of the solid rock.
These places pique my curiosity, but I don’t stop to investigate them – the enchanting luxuries of civilization beckon. All said and done, it takes me three hours to walk the ten miles from San Luis Pass to Creede. I set foot in town at about 10am.
The downtown area looks quaint and interesting, but I march through it in order to get to Bruce’s Snowshoe Lodge on the outskirts – I want to secure lodging before doing anything else. Well, that’s not entirely true… I can’t walk past the outfitter store before buying a quick fuel canister, but I manage to walk by an outdoor hamburger stand without stopping. The cook there even called out me, “Come on over and eat!” like a guy at a town fair.
I’m lucky to get the last available room at the lodge, considering that it’s not even noon yet. The room has a kitchenette. Score.
Brilliant pictures of moose and other wildlife adorn the walls, backing up my sighting of a few of them in the mountains yesterday.
The next few hours consist of the typical errands, like laundry and a shower. I contact a local woman to arrange a shuttle back up to San Luis Pass tomorrow.
The main excursion of the afternoon is the walk to the local market for my resupply. I somehow manage to spend over sixty dollars on four days worth of food, plus food for the remainder of the day. Food for the remainder of the day equals two boxes of Hot Pockets, a carton of orange juice, a pound of spaghetti, a large jar of Ragu sauce, and a package of fresh chicken breast
Creede is interesting, but the kitchenette in my room is paramount. The most notable thing about Creede seems to be a live theater with real honest to goodness acting, with shows every night throughout the summer. I don’t know how they can support such a thing here in the middle of nowhere.
I poke my nose into a neat little ice cream shop that’s housed in a converted old firehouse, and walk the sidewalk past an outdoor cafe. They have a girl with a guitar on the street corner, singing a Sheryl Crow song.
But as I said, the relaxation of a room trumps all – this is healing time. I don’t even eat “out” for a single meal today. I cook and eat my purchased food in the room, call home, and get sucked into a marathon of Doctor House on the USA Network. It’s great.
Today it occurs to me to take a picture of my swollen foot. This is what I’ve been walking on for hundreds of miles.
Thank goodness for Ibuprofen.