June 29th
Grand Bay(1210.6)-Grand Lake(1219.9)

I had my phone turned off to conserve the battery and decided to just wake up with the sun. It worked pretty well as I checked once I started hiking and it was 6am…and a town day! I love getting to town early so I can make the most of a nero (near zero). I started and had more “fun” of walking along the shore with the sandy rocky terrain…so glad I carry that ankle brace with me!

Soon, the bay I was hiking along joined with the Colorado River, which I thought was a big moment to see the Colorado River! Then there was a trail again and I was cruising and loving it.

Just around the corner from this top photo, I turned a corner to see two huge moose munching on grass next to the trail. They really get my adrenaline pumping with how huge and intimidating they are. They didn’t seem to care and moseyed on along as I came by. Of course, my camera was still refusing to zoom, so I got the following picture and cropped it. The I turned the corner to two deer in the trail. So frustrated by my camera, but glad I did get the shots that I got.

The rest of the trail was in tall wet grass and sometimes in marshy conditions, but I was happy I was off the shore and happily strode along. I must have passed Track and Field where they camped and not noticed because their footprints were not on trail. I did, however see Mtn Rat’s footprints and he had messaged me last night to let me know he had made it to town.

When I did hit town (Grand Lake), there was still a mile or two to walk to get to the Shadowcliff Hostel. It was on the other side of the small town, but it was pretty cool cause it was right on trail and I could walk straight to it. As I was looking at my maps after exiting the trail, I heard someone yell my name and turned around to see Estero. I had met him a couple days ago briefly at the top of a pass and he took an alternate route that split from the one I took. He had made it into town last night and camped back on trail to save money last night. He hiked in with me and someone told us about a breakfast buffet on the main road that was great! Here we are at breakfast eating all we can. Sorry, it’s burry I didn’t check it after the random person took it for us.

Then we walked down to the hostel and I really love this little town! Right by a lake, surrounded by mountains, and a cute main street with nice shops. Lots of families walking around and just a calm and peaceful feel to it.

Then we arrived at the coolest hostel ever! There are also opportunities to get rooms and personal cabins as it has multiple buildings and levels. I’m in one of the rooms on the top! The hostel is only $25/night and that’s pretty cool. Their saying on all their t-shirts and merchandise is “Shadowcliff: Inspiring The Journey” which I love!

When you walk in, this is what the main floor and lounge area looks like. I’m sitting in it right now as I write this.

Here is the same picture taken so you can see the amazing view overlooking Grand Lake. Wow!

Of course I had to take a Wired picture outside at a seating area that has cool rocks to sit on, benches, and a fire pit. There is a bit of a glare in the photo, but worth keeping.

As for today, Estero and I did a lot. It is funny to me how two very different and random people can work together as hikers. We are quite different and would probably never cross paths in daily life, but being the only two hikers in town today, we teamed up. We comfortably ate breakfast, grocery shopped(including our dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow), ate lunch (burger and milkshake!), did laundry together in the same load, and made and ate dinner (spaghetti in two stages a couple hours apart to eat more!). I just find this hiking world so unique sometimes.

The other part of the day I spent at the library doing emailing and blog stuff. I thought about doing something at Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow, but since the loop I want to do is closed due to fire, there isn’t anything pulling me in that direction. I’ve decided to sleep in tomorrow and leave in the early afternoon. The goal is to time it so that I arrive in Steamboat Springs in four nights so that I get a full nero (like today) and then my fifth zero of trip, yay! I am really liking Grand Lake and am tempted to zero here, but I know Steamboat isn’t far and I can pull out another leg before I zero again. As for the crew, they are about two days back now since I left a day ahead of them. Then they didn’t push to time the leg the way I did and also chose to resupply at a small town in the middle, so it is taking them a day longer to complete. I’m enjoying this time to myself and am looking forward to the next leg on my own.

Oh! Great news (I hope!). At the end of the day today, my camera magically started working again. Taking multiple pictures, zooming, and responding to all the buttons I pushed! So hoping it continues and the other problems were just a fluke!

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