The Great Hoekwater Colorado Trip (continued):
Our fourth day being together began similar to the ones before, meeting out on the couch and chairs of the Lodge’s common area prior to going up for breakfast.
Then, it was a bit of a split on the morning activities. Today, was especially spectacular because it was Addison’s birthday and Vivian’s a few days before! So, as part of the birthday girls’ celebrations, the Caledonia Hoekwater team and Mother Sheryl went horseback riding! A crew (myself included) went fishing. I believe some may have gone into the town of Winter Park. And some were watching over young Naomi as she took a visit to the hospital in the early hours of the morning with a high fever. She did some good resting up for the day and was a trooper!
Other activities for the day were some watching of the World Cup semifinals, a feature presentation of the movie Inside Out, hungry hungry hippoes, more extreme dodgeball and roller skating, hoops (bump/lighting/knockout), and of course birthday cake! Scott stayed most of the day partying with us and took off after a quick bite to eat in the dining hall for dinner. We were all happy to have gotten the chance for some Scott time.
(Please forgive my improper grip on this beautiful trout, I was excited! Keep’em wet eh)
I have no doubt that this day will stick in our memories for many moons to come! Our whole clan did a road trip to visit Rocky Mountain National Park! On the way we stopped near Grand Lake and all hiked to see Adam’s Falls. Then, it was up Trail Pass Road to above 12,000 feet elevation and the high mountain tundra! Many much wildlife were spotted including Carl the goat who tried to join us inside our van via the front windshield (it really wasn’t that close 😉), some moosen, elks galore, a few deer, and a hillside of yellow bellied marmots!
Afterwards, we returned down and had our lunch at a picnic area still within the park. We had requested to have the YMCA camp make packed lunches for us and they did a stupendous job with some pb and J uncrustables and turkey/ham sandwiches along with all sorts of goodies to go with it. It was the same way they did it back when I’d worked there.
Post-lunch, the team was pretty worn out. Most drove back to camp for resting time and a few of us stayed to do a short hike to see the Colorado River.
Back at camp, different folks did different things. After dinner Abe, Julia, and I rallied for yet another hike, this time up 9 Mile mountain (not really nine miles, but felt a bit like it since so steep). No big deal for us.
Then, it was a return to the Lodge’s common area for what had started to become our routine…cards before bed time. Mostly it was nerts/peanuts, a classic that although hadn’t been played by any of us for quite some time, came back to us in no time. Other quality games such as spoons and Egyptian rat screw were enjoyed as well! Due to lack of spoons we used Splenda packets and for our last round we tried the legendary “football” version, which involves placing the Splenda packets at the top of the stairs, thus causing mass chaos in the sprint to grab them. I’ll just say Mother Sheryl was not messing around.
We celebrated Independence Day in style hanging around the camp for most of the day. We did a mass visit to the craft shop, a few hit the tubing hill up again, Abe H did a solo conquering of Snow Mountain, and we all congregated on the lawn for a carnival/cook out that the camp put on for it’s guests. Face painting and balloon animals were a big hit! I also got a nice hair cut courtesy of Father David and we held the first ever Hoekwater 4th of July Regatta! After a controversial finish in the finale, Mom took home the W with her aircraft carrier style USA boat.
In the evening, the whole crew ventured out again, back to Grand Lake to see a phenomenal fireworks show. Then, it was a late drive back to the camp. A full day.
The late night had the team sleeping in. Then, we had one last breakfast all together before the finishing of packing the vehicles. We all left in a caravan, but at our first stop just before going through Denver, I had to say some goodbyes! It was indeed sad to part with the fam, but it was a truly amazing week. One that I’m sure will produce lots of stories and great memories for us all.
I continued on with Mom and Dad who planned to bring me to the airport while the others made their way homeward bound. Instead of going straight to the airport, since we had time, we stopped to see Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the biggest REI store I’ve ever seen. I think it’s one of the original few locations or something…giant!
Then, after a brief McDonald’s lunch, we were at the Denver Airport and saying our farewells. They continued on and I believe caught up with the others at a hotel in Nebraska before finishing the drive the next day. I had a flight to Las Vegas first where during my layover I experienced my first ever earthquake! There I was hanging out, “playing” my Lord of the Rings slot machine (came out even after going up $80, so stupid I am!) and it started shaking. Nope, everything was shaking. So strange a feeling.
I then flew to Reno, Nevada, walked to a bus stop, took the bus downtown, and then walked to my hotel. It was after midnight at that point. Then, crashed!
Today was a travel day, trying to get back to the trail…I stayed in my hotel room getting ready and uploading posts til checkout at 10:00am. I then walked over to a local restaurant hoping to have breakfast, but it was jam packed, so over to the nearby Starbucks it was. Enjoyed a banana, sausage and cheddar sandwich, and a lovely caramel iced coffee (it was hot in Reno!). Next, I ventured over to a Patagonia outlet store. Who knew such a place existed? Good deals, but still more than I hoped to pay. From there, I got an Uber all the way up to Susanville, CA which was about an hour and a half drive.
Once in Susanville, I had lunch and then got some resupply at Walmart and the Big 5. Then, I caught a bus to Chester, CA which if you remember, is the town I dropped Calzone, Cheer, and Snickers off at. The bus ride was pretty interesting. I talked the whole hour or so with an Army guy and Marine guy. I think the bus driver was the Marine. They were buddies and were joking around the whole time about the differences between the two military branches. I left feeling like they had a nice community in Susanville, CA.
Once in Chester, I hopped off the bus and the first person I saw was a hiker friend of mine, Grinder! She was headed south at this point after flipping and was just heading out, so we didn’t chat long, but still, good to see a familiar face. I made my way over to Our Savior Lutheran Church, which very kindly lets hikers camp in their backyard. I spent the rest of my time finishing resupply and getting ready! I’d made my way back near to trail so that tomorrow I’d be ready to hike once again!