Day 71 – Rocky Mountain National Park
We got up bright and early again Sunday morning for another day of hiking. This time, we decided to try our first real mountain climb. There was no technical climbing, of course, but a lot of route finding, scrambling over boulder fields, and of course, a lot of elevation gain. We almost gave up several times after losing the trail in the snow over and over again, but we finally trusted the GPS and our intuition and made our way to the summit of Mt. Ida, 12,865 feet above sea level. Overall, we both felt really great and loved every minute of the hike.
Day 72 – Rocky Mountain National Park to Fort Collins
On Monday, after a morning of work, we took Highway 34 east from Estes Park through the Big Thompson Canyon to Fort Collins. Fort Collins is a great college town with a wonderfully preserved town center. In fact, Disneyland’s Main Street USA is partially based on downtown Fort Collins. After checking into the hotel, Michael returned to work while Tracey met up with old NoPo friend at local brewery, Horse and Dragon.
Days 73 – 74 – Fort Collins
Tuesday was a work/rest day in the hotel, especially for Tracey, who realized she had walked almost 30 miles in the past three days! On Wednesday, after work, we spent the afternoon and evening exploring the Old Town Square and surrounding streets. We even found a BBQ place to satisfy Michael’s cravings.
Day 75 – Fort Collins to Douglas
Thursday was a work/travel day, so after lunch, we turned north towards our 10th state, Wyoming. About halfway to our destination, we made a short side trip to see the Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Cliff near Guernsey, two historical sites along the old Oregon Trail. Back on the road north, we encountered a couple small but strong thunderstorms, which produced a lot of wind that RC had to fight the rest of the way. Slowly but surely, we made it to Douglas, our stopover location for the next two days.
Day 76 – Douglas
Friday was a full work day, so we relaxed at the Douglas KOA. We met a nice couple with a cat named Goldie, who they called the $100K cat because they bought their large RV rig just so he could join them on their 30-day trip.
Day 77 – Douglas to Deadwood
On Saturday, we hit the road again and headed across Eastern Wyoming through the Thunder Basin National Grassland. We saw lots of pronghorn antelope and mule deer along the way. Shortly before entering our 11th state, South Dakota, we left the grasslands and began heading up into the Black Hills. After lunch and grocery shopping in Lead (which we will visit again in a few days), we continued the final two miles to our campground just outside of Deadwood. We decided to save exploring the town until Sunday, so we relaxed and had dinner at the campground (and watched an episode of HBO’s Deadwood just to set the mood).