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Brian Cray - Budget Travel

Hitchhiking, Train Hopping, & Backpacking

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Prospector Campground


Prospector Campground

I woke up at 7 AM at the Georgetown Lake Shelter Campground. The other people packed up their belongings and headed out around the same time. The temperature did not get above ten degrees for at least a few hours, flurries of snowflakes and small gusts of wind continued throughout the day. I set out for Prospector Campground. Despite only being a 33 mile day, the steep climbs, my exhausted legs and adjusting to the altitude all made this the hardest day of the trip.

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Road bikes aren’t meant for ice…I did a lot of walking today.

I continued down the road and noticed a neat little cafĂ© on the corner. I charged my battery pack on the outside wall unit and headed into, “Blue Sky Cafe.” I chatted with the waitresses and told them about my trip. They suggested I go with the Huevos Rancheros special, which consisted of two flour tortillas, smoked sausage, fresh tomatoes, crisp lettuce, melted pepper jack cheese, scrambled eggs, and spicy chilli sauce. My mouth watered and I finished the meal and a few cups of coffee with relative ease. I almost ordered a second helping. They gave me the names of some local mountains to apply at for a ski lift operator job and then I hit the road.

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I stopped at the local Conoco gas station to buy a hat since I lost mine from the wind the previous day of cycling. I also lost my knife the other day when I fell down a hill at 3 AM. It must have slipped out of my backpack. After Conoco the trek finally began from Georgetown to Dillon Lake.

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I ended up going down, “Continental Divide Trail” for Loveland Pass and Baker, which covered 4.9 miles, most of which covered in an inch of snow or ice. So for a little over 3 miles I ended up walking in my minimalist shoes…now my calves hurt.

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The bicycle trail through Keystone Resort

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Almost in Breckenridge!

Despite the long hike, the sights I saw, just pure beauty; mountaintops of snow looked like an ice cream cone dipped in vanilla soft serve; trees covered in frost and icicles dangling from their branches; the fresh smell of pine tickling my nose; the snow beneath my feet crackling with each step. I just love it out here. I really hope to find a job while I hang out here in the mountains. The steep five mile climb to Loveland Pass, almost unbearable, made me walk a bit while I regained my composure. Once I reached the top I hit 11,990 feet of elevation at the peak of Loveland Pass. From there, a six mile downhill race to Keystone Mountain. I flew down that strip hitting 30 mph, almost passing semis, but slowing down due to the freezing wind forming icicles on my face. Once I hit the bottom I continued onward through the bicycle paths that winded through Keystone Mountain. I climbed a total of 4,200 feet today and ended up stopping at a local grocery store to stock up on food for the next few days. If there is one tidbit I learned about Colorado it is that everything, including food, is rather expensive compared to back home. I also learned to steer clear of bike trails when it is under 32 degrees. I ended up hitting a patch of black ice, my tires flung out from under me and all the weight from my bike and panniers pinned me on my side. I ended up hurting my left leg and my right Achilles heel. I bounced back up and brushed off the snow. Not much more laid ahead for today’s journey.

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Loveland Pass Continental Divide Trail

Prospector Campground

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On my way to Prospector Campground

I continued onward and after four miles I ended up at Prospector Campground, which to my surprise the gates locked on a Saturday, with no explanation as to why? Then I remembered the government shutdown, so I continued through the gates to find a place to camp. The cold weather and blistering wind made me seek shelter in an unlocked bathroom. The bathroom locked from the inside so I remained safe from any animals or outsiders. I laid out my new tarp, put down my sleeping bag, bundled up into all my cold gear and summer gear and called it a night as I dozed off into a peaceful, cold sleep.

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Dillon Lake

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