CDT, Day 6 — July 6
An easy day’s walk awaited me. I got going before anyone in the campground stirred. I walked along a road for a mile to a trail head then headed north along the shore of Lake Granby, fed mostly by the Colorado River.
Soon I gained 600 feet of elevation to Knight Ridge, through sagebrush shrubland and lodgepole-pine forest. Lots of lodgepole blowdowns blocked the trail. The CDT descended to the lake, where I found boat-camping spots along the eastern shore. The trail continued along the lake for two miles.
Just beyond the lake, where the Colorado River reappeared, I somehow missed a clearly marked trail junction. I blundered on for half a mile to a bridge over the river, which I was not supposed to cross. Consulting my map, I saw my error, retraced my steps, then headed north on the correct trail. I passed a large grassy wetland at 8,500 feet. I got water from a tiny creek and ate crackers, cheese, and dried pears for lunch.
After a bit of climbing, the trail descended toward Shadow Mountain Lake, another large reservoir. I walked along the eastern shore for 1.5 miles to a trailhead. Along the way, I met a crew of Rocky Mountain National Park staff on duty. I urged them to carry small hand saws to cut sharp-pointed broken branches on deadfalls to prevent leg gashes.
At a trailhead, CDT confidence markers showed me the street route into the Town of Grand Lake. When I crossed the canal between Shadow Mountain Lake and Grand Lake, I soaked my sore feet. Much refreshed, I continued into town, meeting northbound CDT thru-hiker Matt. Two local residents directed me to the Trinity Church in the Pines, where my resupply box awaited. David Heil, the minister, was mowing the lawn when I arrived.
I also met CDT hiker Bam, who was sleeping under a tree. Earlier in the day, I'd picked up an umbrella on the trail, and he was thrilled to have it back.
It turned out that my daughter, Helen, and her fiancé, Chelsea, who live in Denver, were in Grand Lake after a weekend backpack trip. I called Helen and she arrived a few minutes later. I decided to take a few days off to let my body recuperate from the rigors of the past five days. After getting a bite to eat, we drove to Boulder. What a stroke of luck that the logistics turned out so perfectly!