July 5, 2020
Destination: Zero in Buena Vista Today's Miles: 0
Start Location: Best Western Buena Vista Trip Miles: 177.70
When we arrived at the Twin Lakes Store to retrieve our resupply box there were several other thru hikers there. The main topic of conversation was whether to take the east or west collegiate route.
East Texas (“yes sir“), we learned Kenny was his name, was agonizing over the east versus west decision. After weighing out the options he announced he was going west. Candacy and Ann said they were going east, most likely, and one other couple hanging around also said they were going east.
We picked up more Honey Stingers (which we’ve become quite fond of) from the store just as brother Mike pulled up to take us to our hotel. We would like to have hung out a little longer but it was storming and crowded with tourists since it was the Fourth of July.
We highly recommend the Beat Western in Buena Vista. The rooms are comfy and the pool/Jacuzzi really helped ease the sore muscles. We are both feeling fit but with sore spots for sure, for me it is my right foot and heel, an injury that happened climbing Mt. Baldy (2nd highest peak in AZ) a couple weeks before starting the CT. I have been babying it along hoping it won’t be a hike-ending condition but there are times it really hurts.
Celebrating the Fourth this evening we went to Quincy's and each had a spectacular prime rib dinner. The next morning we did a little shopping in town. We stopped in a store called the Trailhead and purchased a smaller fuel can. Since we are down to cooking one meal a day we no longer need a large can. That will save some weight - which became the focus of the remainder of the day.
We decided to take the west collegiate route and made it our mission to shed as much weight as possible knowing the challenges that lay head. We are fortunate to have Mike who will meet us again in Salida and bring anything we deem unnecessary for our next five day adventure.
Everything was left behind except the bare essentials. Clothes were pared down and redundancies eliminated - we each have a pocket knife so I left mine, I had been carrying two sunscreens (one body and one face) and just went with the face. No lotion, bandana, hand sanitizer, wall chargers, Thermacell and we even left behind our Crocs.
The west collegiate route is a challenging 83 mile stretch with an impressive 19,748 foot elevation gain. We are doing everything we can to help ourselves out. Lake Ann Pass is all the talk and the big question mark - I guess we’ll know tomorrow if we can make it! As a complete surprise I learned my friends from home, Betsey and Jeff, were in Buena Vista. Betsey came and got me and I had the pleasure of visiting with them and seeing their new house. They also enjoy hiking and it was fun visiting with them!