CDT day 100: Steamboat Springs and the Magical Cabin of Wonder

August 12
Mileage: 19
1915.5 miles hiked

I sleep hard in the drizzle, little mouse rustlings now and again, am cold, wake up just enough to think I’m cold, fall back asleep again. In the morning my legs are aching and cramped from being curled up such a tight ball against the chill. The trail in Colorado is high. I’ll have to get another layer in Steamboat Springs.

I’ve got that walking-underwater fatigue again today. And the stomach upset, still. The fatigue isn’t as bad as it was in Montana, but it still takes a great and mighty effort to drag myself down the trail. I hope the chinese herbs my friend Allison sent me help a bit. Just one state left… my new mantra!

The trail is entirely unremarkable today, or maybe it’s just the black mood that this fatigue puts me in. Forest, green meadows, single track and jeep roads… my life on repeat. My brain is stuck in a funk- I can’t seem to find any pleasant thoughts to zone out on. And then I remember spaghetti. Spaghetti! No wait- pad thai! No… pad see ew! The thought of wide rice noodles with chicken and maybe some broccoli… it’s just so nice. A really really nice thought. I decide to think about that for the entire 19 miles to the highway.

When you’re wearing a dress it takes about five seconds to get a ride when hitching. Dudes take note. Unfortunately, my dress is sort of disintegrating- even tho it’s from a gear store, I’m pretty sure it’s made for, like, gentle picnics, not for long-distance hiking. I plan to send it home in town, before I destroy it completely. I’ll have to rustle up something else to wear.

Steamboat Springs is kind of how I imagined it to be- rows of tidy, expensive shops, streets teeming with wealthy, immaculate white people here to recreate in their immaculate, toddler-colored outdoor wear, and the occasional underpaid seasonal employee. I pick up my boxes at the post office and wander down the hot, pre-afternoon-thunderstorm street, looking for a likely place to eat where I won’t offend anyone with my B.O. There’s a tacqueria but a sign, “back in fifteen minutes,” seems permanently affixed to its window. I sit down on a bench and then realize, suddenly, that I’m right across the street from a thai place.

Minutes later I am eating a big, hot, oily plate of pad thai. How did this come to be? What joyous, serendipitous universe is this?

There’s a hiker named John Lennon who was hiking northbound this year but decided to stop and settle for the summer when he got to Steamboat Springs. He’s been hosting people in a cabin on the edge of town, and he picks me up. More magic! The cabin is one of those whimsical, enchanted-seeming “summer cabins” built by somebody’s great-grandfather a hundred years ago. A big square room full of books and nice places to sit, everything in dark wood. Above it a balcony that goes all the way around in a circle, and bedrooms off of that. I get a bedroom all to myself- it is bare, with two beds and three windows that swing open to let in the air and sounds of the forest. Wood siding, the occasional mouse skittering around. I feel something releasing inside of me- here is a place where I can rest.

Photos on instagram