Had a rough night last night.  Four ibuprofen didn’t seem to touch the splitting headache.  Finally around midnight it started  to subside so I could sleep but I woke up in the morning feeling like I had a hangover.  So I spent most of the morning unpacking and repacking my backpack one last time, making final decisions on what was worthy of the trek.

Then we headed 30 miles down the road  to Aspen Park and the nearest grocery store to pick up breakfast for the week on the trail – bagels.  The plan was to spend the week hiking easy to acclimate to the altitude.  Depending on how this week went we’d either resupply and spend another few days backpacking  or just camp somewhere and do day hikes before Sandy had to head back home. Then I’d continue on and hike the remaining 440ish miles with my dog.

After stocking up on supplies for the first leg, we headed back to the trailhead to wait for our shuttle.  While we waited, Sandy read a copy of the latest Backpacker Magazine on her iPad, drooling over the reviews of hikes in Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.  She handed me the iPad.

Sandy: Check out that picture.
Mickey:   I can’t see it. The screen is too dark.
Sandy: Take off your sunglasses.
Mickey: [duh]

I clearly wasn’t used to wearing sunglasses.  They were never a necessity for me.  They were just something else to keep track of and complicate life. I knew I’d need them for this hike so I started wearing them recently. And this was the second time they tripped me up.  A few weeks ago I drove through a tunnel on the PA turnpike and couldn’t figure out why everything was so dark.  I thought I was having a stroke or something until halfway through the tunnel when I realized I still had the glasses on.  Glad I didn’t get the super dark lenses.

Not long after the sunglasses incident, our ride pulled up – a fellow hiker with the trail name of Cannibal.  He and his girlfriend, Chris, were scheduled to shuttle us from our endpoint of this leg near Bailey, CO 40 miles to the start of the Colorado Trail.  He came over to the car and introduced himself. I guess my PA license plates gave me away. 

We loaded our packs and dogs into his SUV and climbed in….hesitantly.  He had a hunting knife attached to his belt.  Cannibal.  Hmmm.

We headed into town to pick up Cannibal’s girlfriend who he’d left at the restaurant to finish eating since they’d been running late.  She was nowhere to be found. Cannibal. Hmmmm.

We drove around the small town stopping at places she was likely to go. Finally found her in a parking lot playing with a dog. Whew.

At 3:30 we finally arrived at the Indian Creek Trailhead, a side trail that intersects the Colorado Trail at mile 7.9.  The first 6 miles of the CT are closed this summer so you either need to start at the alternate trailhead or skip segment 1 altogether.  Since dogs aren’t allowed on the first part of segment 1 anyway, I opted to do the alternate route.

We hiked in 2 miles and set up camp for the night, calling it a day.