The owner of the San Juan Sports, Creede’s outfitter showed up in his Land Rover at the hotel. He’d definitely be able to get us up over the rough road to the trail head in that vehicle. We said our thanks, paid our shuttle fee and said farewell to him and we were on our way – back up a 1.5 mile side trail to meet the CT at San Luis Pass. At the trail intersection we found a note on a post saying “Absolutely no slackpacking, NFS. – Mike & Austin” Funny.

Half the hike was PUDs – pointless ups and downs – with beautiful views and the other half was crossing Snow Mesa…in the rain. We got to the trailhead at the other end of the segment by 4:40, just in time for our 5:00 shuttle and who do we run into but Mike and Austin. We harassed them about doing the segment with their full pack when they could have slacked and tried to talk them into going back into Creede with us. Still the diehards, they declined and took off to get another 5 miles in.

We sat waiting for the shuttle. 5:00 came and went. 33 miles to Creede. We discussed our options and I headed out to the road to try to hitch us a ride while Keith headed over to a guy with a van in the parking area. No-go on the van guy. About a dozen cars later a truck pulled over. Trey could take us about 10 miles. We climbed in. Better than nothing. At least we’d be closer to Creede. They dropped us off at the Rio Grande Reservoir where there’s a lot of traffic coming out to the main road. Soon, 2 bright yellow jeeps and a run down pickup truck come to the intersection and all but run us off the side of the road in their haste to not have to talk to us. Keith got a ride with a couple who only had room for one person. Bill and I got a ride about 20 minutes later from a couple from Nebraska vacationing in Creede.

We were all finally back at the hotel a little after 7. I was immensely annoyed. I hadn’t eaten a thing since lunch and I had a ton of things to do yet – including finding a place to set up my tent in town since all the hotels were full. As we arrived, the hotel owner met us in the parking log, already knowing about our shuttle fiasco. I voiced my frustration and the owner offered her side yard for my tent. One problem solved. We all got showers and headed across the street for supper. Not 20 minutes later, our would-be shuttle driver showed up at our table in the restaurant and apologized profusely and explained what happened and also offered to put me up at a friend’s house. I felt a font better just knowing that she cared about the mishap. She left, promising to pick us up at 9 am the next morning.

We ate and headed back to the hotel and set up my tent in the yard by flash light and I finished the remaining things to be done – double checked food, sent emails, etc.