John's CDT
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

My arrival at Steamboat Springs marks the halfway point of my hike. But, I'm jumping ahead.

The deep dark forest was still, quiet and dry. I made my way through the southern end of a huge blowdown.

In October of 1997, a microburst with winds in excess of 130 MPH knocked over more than 4 million trees in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and areas around it. Before too long I was at Rabbit Ears Pass, named for a distinctive geologic feature at the top of a nearby mountain. The rock looks like volcanic plugs to me.

The last section of hiking was an hour of downhill walking on the old highway. I met up with the new highway and got a ride within 10 minutes. It was about
10:30 AM. My ride used to hitch along this road in high school, so was glad to pick me up.

One of the challenges of hiking alone is the cost of a room in town, especially towns like Steamboat Springs. Luckily, I could do my bargaining from a phone at the visitor's center and not by walking from one end of town and back again. I ended up at the Western Lodge for $36 a night, a deal by Steamboat Springs' standards.

I took the free city bus to downtown and made my way to Mazzola's, one of the pizza places recommended by the guy at the visitors' center. What luck! They had an all you can eat (AYCE) salad bar that also had one entree (today shepherd's pie) and pizza: AYCE pizza. Perfect.

Since I've learned my lesson with other hotels on this trip, I specifically asked for a room with a phone that worked. The phone did not work, and I'd already paid for two nights. When I brought it up with Peter, the very nice and very talkative owner, he showed me the delicacies of using the phone. I decided at that moment that I would buy a cheap phone at Wal-Mart. But first, off to the PO.

When I arrived, I called a cab, for this is a laptop and bounce box town, then found Spur and Apple Pie already in line. We agreed to split the cost of the cab and went back to our respective hotels.

I was amazed to get an appointment at the local health clinic later in the day. I wanted to get my toe x-rayed to make sure I wasn't messing up my foot. They got me in and out in an hour and said I wasn't damaging my toe by hiking with it broken.

Apple Pie, Spur and I had a Mongolian dinner which was great. I got in some quality time at the library later in the evening, then made an appointment for tomorrow.

I like having my own room.

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