I started ultra-early this morning, on the trail at 5AM at dawn.
The plan is to zip through today’s long paved road-walk as early as possible, to give me time to get to Steamboat Springs, reserve and print out a bus ticket, and still have time to do laundry and clean up and get town food before the bus leaves at 3:30PM.
Following along CO 14, my guess was correct to stop last night where I did. Most land along both sides of the road was on ranches posted as no-trespassing, aside from some state trust land that prohibited camping.
In the distance the pass becomes visible.
Finally reaching US40, and after a quick change to a less smelly shirt, road angel Carrie picks me up after only 10 minutes hitching. She recently was living in Alaska, then was doing a physician assistant program in New York State, but today is helping her brother move.
Rabbit Ears Pass is still a couple of days hiking from the Wyoming border, but since town has a few transportation options and easy to get back to next year… close enough. Done hiking for this year!
I mentioned to Carrie that if for some reason I could not get a bus ticket today I might be forced to get an expensive hotel room in Steamboat, and she pointed out that the town bus went to Spring Creek trail-head, and that after only a couple of miles I would be on Forest Service land and free to camp. Clever idea!
The woman at the visitors center was very helpful explaining the town free bus system, and recommended using the bus to get to the library to print my bus ticket.
Unfortunately Greyhound would not let me buy and print a ticket so close to my departure time. And the town’s Greyhound office closed, so I cannot buy a ticket there or buy one over the phone. Their system, believe it or not, is to take the bus to the next town that has a working Greyhound office, Granby, and buy there, and if my bus to Denver or the next bus to Albuquerque is full already, then too bad for me. What a messy, really messed up system, and do not get me started on their phone support.
A quick trip on the free bus allowed me to complete laundry, a wet-wipe bath in the restroom, and procure snacks at the grocery.
Here is the Greyhound depot at Steamboat.
And behold the notice waiting to comfort customers.
While waiting for the bus, I noticed tubers in the parking lot riding the stream through town, including some taking advantage of the free bus.
I really did not get a chance to explore and photo the town of Steamboat, so here are a couple of pictures taken from the window of my bus.
I was able to buy a ticket through to Albuquerque in Granby, and watched Kremmling, Fraser, Winter Park, , and Berthoud Pass flow by, all familiar to me from past family vacations into Colorado.
After arriving at the Denver bus depot at 7:30PM, all I have to do is catch my next bus just after midnight.
Day 38, 7/25/2014, Friday
Start barely on BLM land, mile 1441, elevation 8529
End Rabbit Ears Pass, mile 1454, elevation 9554, and hitch 22 miles to Steamboat Springs, and Greyhound bus pointed towards home