August 28th, 2019
North Fork Swan River mm 1768 to HWY 9 mm 1780.8
Distance in miles: 6
After the longest of stretches, I need a shower but more importantly, FOOD. We have an option of taking a minor road walk cut-off and we gladly go with it. I have already walked this stretch of trail into Breckenridge. I also walked all of the “red-line” (official CDT route) along the ridges from Grays Peak and feel like I’ve earned a little savings of about 6 miles. Many others are taking the Silverthorn alternate, which cuts off about 35 miles and misses out on summiting Grays Peak, as well as all the spectacular ridge walking that comes after it. With the weather being so perfect, I’m not sure what excuse there is to take such a major alternate. I feel sorry for those that do because Grays to Georgia Pass is some of the best, most scenic hiking I’ve ever done. And not going to the high point of the CDT (Gray’s Peak) is like not summiting Mt. Katahdin on the AT. Just my 2 cents, HYOH on the CDT by just skipping large portions of it, why not.
The morning is chilly but the walking so easy. We arrive at the highway and bus stop just after 8 am, in time to catch a free bus in 5 minutes. Then we are in bustling Breckenridge, seeking the biggest and cheapest breakfast. This leads us to Daylight Donuts, the best deal in town. We each have a huge breakfast burrito, plus a few donuts. Then we head off to the hostels, raiding hiker boxes and collecting our own boxes. I receive new shoes. I have been wearing my previous pair since Leadore, Idaho, so it’s a much needed upgrade. The new pair are pink…bright pink! They were the cheapest I could find and that is almost always my driving factor.
We eat Pho for lunch and then take the free bus over to Frisco, where we have found the cheapest accommodation in the area at $98 a night. We do laundry and hang out around town. We walk to the Walmart in the evening and fall asleep watching an episode of South Park. Not too exciting. While in town, I start to contemplate hiking the Arizona Trail to the Mexican border, instead of repeating miles on the CDT from Grants NM. I just want to be able to say I walked from Canada to Mexico straight for a second summer in a row, but can I do an 800 mile trail just after completing the CDT? Just another short segment, right? What’s one more state?