The 15 miles into town went quickly. We were on first road and it was completely snow free and all downhill! The 3 of us walked side by side, chatting and listening to podcasts. Mid morning we stopped for an early lunch, we had so much food since we decided to come off the divide.
Around midday we came to the road to hitch into Pagosa Springs. The guys absolutely love hitchhiking and the feeling is quite exciting. Until you’re still standing there for 30 minutes and no one has showed any signs of slowing down. Finally a massive bakkie (pick up) stops, and it’s fully loaded but the driver jumps out all enthusiastically offering to make room for us. We managed to squeeze our packs in the back and hop in.
Then the adventure begins. After he starts driving all 3 of us notice the tick. It’s on his leg, his arm or his jaw. The tick. He’s a meth head. On his way across Colorado to meet a girl. We check our seat belts, look at each other and grip whatever it is we can grip. We give him driving instructions the whole way down, watch the turn, speed limit changed, car in front is slowing down, hairpin bend coming up. All the time he talks. Incessantly. None stop. Our knuckles turn white. We see the edge of town. “you can leave us here” is the quick cry. We hop out as fast as we can. We’re far from where we want to be in town but so happy to be out of that bakkie.
To settle our nerves, we head to a brewery. This place named Kips. We’re standing outside the door waiting to be seated when this woman rushes over to us asking if we’re hiking the CDT. Yes, we reply. Immediately she invites us to stay with her and her partner because the two of them are thinking of doing the CDT and want some advice. We agree to come over after we’ve had something to eat.
After lunch we headed to the house of Gretchen and Doug and have a lovely evening chatting with them and enjoying the finest beer Pagosa had to offer. We chat about the divide and they tell us about their hike through Nepal. All in all it was a fantastic start to our time in Pagosa.