Day 80: August 21: Gould to Walden

I slept a little bit late, as today's ride would only be about 20 miles. After talking with Hank and his friends (who were working on stoking the fire and turning the pig over), I left down the road.

The road was mostly downhill along a wide valley -- the North Park. Ahead and to the right I could see big mountains, but the area I was riding through was mostly sagebrush, with cattle grazing on some of it.

The road to Walden
Twenty miles later, I arrived in the town of Walden. Walden is at an altitude of 8100 feet and has a population of 870 people, according to the sign. Also according to the sign, Walden is the "Moose Watching Capital of Colorado". (I saw no moose during my stay here.)

Killing most of a day in Walden is a challenge. There is a pool, where I'd planned to take a shower. Unfortunately, it's closed on Saturdays. So I took a sponge bath and washed my hair in the sink at the town park. I also did laundry there, and then dried it at the laundromat.

Wanting to catch up with my email, I rode around town looking for a phone jack I could connect to. Unfortunately, every one I saw was in plain sight. I didn't want to have to explain to a Walden police officer what I was doing tapping into a phone line. The library was also closed.

I stopped by Coffeepot Cafe for lunch and talked with the owner, who calls herself Coffeepot. Coffeepot has been waiting tables for 54 years, and is finally taking her second vacation. Her cafe is also a bookstore, with the walls of the hall and back room lined with paperback books.
Coffeepot with her coffeepots
She suggested that I visit the local Pioneer Museum, so I went there after lunch. The museum is an interesting project: since the mid 60's, people have been leaving the contents of old trunks, barns, and other North Park memorabilia. Since they accept everything that's left to them, the place is a complete mishmash of stuff from the 1890's to the 1960's or so. There is some effort to sort by function; so, for example, the first two Walden telephone exchanges are together in one room, together with barbed wire collections and amateur welding projects. There is everything from an old Dodge and a horse carriage to mining equipment to household items. Lots of photos are also displayed, showing the town's history in no particular order.
I spent some time making phone calls to friends, then went back to the park. The town of Walden allows bicycle tourists to camp in the park, which is a nice change. I'd bought some vegetables, so made a curry with onions, squash, and peppers, which I served over spaghetti.

I spent an hour or so playing my guitar and harmonicas, then went back to my tent. After I'd been asleep for about an hour, I was awakened by a bunch of kids playing football in the football field next to the park. They finally left after another hour or so when it began to rain.

Cooking at the park