Day 50: July 22: Paonia to Mc Clure Pass

I woke, put my tent away, and went into the house to say goodbye and thanks. I ended up drinking coffee, and joining in another interesting discussion about sleeping bags, intentional communities, and how to fund tribal settlements in the wilderness. Lionel, one of Robert and Cindy's friends who'd shown up last night, said that the people who wanted to live in a tribal setting were generally people without enough money to buy land. I suggested that all he had to do was to fire the imagination of someone really rich. Or write a good business plan.

Even though the house was packed, the energy was comfortable. I was able to get a few snapshots.

Some of the kids, making spaceships out of Lego blocks

A couple of the women and a couple of kids.

It was my intention to make it the 65 miles to Carbondale in one day, but it was 11:00 by the time I left. So I rode up the road, having a "brunch" burger about 12 miles up the road. The (paved) road up to Carbondale, route 133, was mostly flat (well, slightly uphill) until about 4 miles before Mc Clure Pass.

Oddly, I noticed that I was getting tired after less than 30 miles of riding. I don't know if I'm coming down with something, or if it's just the altitude.

Just a bit after I started to climb up the pass, it started to rain hard. Despite my Gore-Tex riding suit, I managed to get thoroughly wet inside. At least the suit kept the wind off. But my feet were getting chilly in the sandals, as were my hands. Luckily, there was a campground by the top of the pass, which I struggled into, and realized that I didn't know how to pitch my tent in the rain without getting it wet inside. I waited for a lull in the rain, and pitched the tent. Using my camp towel, I was able to get it mostly dry inside. After drying myself, changing into long underwear, gloves, and wool socks, and getting inside my sleeping bag, I got warm again. I napped through the rest of the rainstorm, which ended about 2 hours later.

I hadn't bothered to get anything for dinner, but I had my emergency dinner, a freeze-dried backpacker's meal (just add boiling water). It wasn't great, but it did fill the empty space in my stomach.