I thought that I woke up to a frosty morning yesterday, but apparently that was balmy in comparison to today. The thermostat showed single digits at 6am, and it wasn’t going to rise above 20° until the afternoon. Nevertheless I bundled up (not enough as I would later find out, and headed out).
Before hitting the open road I swung by the Little Red Hen bakery in Salida to pick up a breakfast sandwich and lunch for later in the day. Numerous travel blogs and articles had recommended the bakery and they differently looked authentic with the boules of sourdough on display. The breakfast sandwich I had on an everything bagel was probably the best breakfast I would have the whole trip and I definitely endorse it.
Heading north now from Salida, my road took me between the collegiate mountains on my left (Mount Harvard, Mount Princeton, etc) and some smaller mountains on the right. I was amazed to see farming happening in the valley between. Surely at this elevation and with the weather not much would grow, but apparently others disagreed.
Mostly, however I was surprised at how cold it was! I had to stop on a couple of occasions just to jump around on the dirt by the side of the road and get warm again.
My main stop along the way was Leadville. A historic town with snow capped mountains as scenery to both the east and the west. Pioneers of Leadville made their fortunes by mining for silver in the area. Mining is still an active industry, though I don’t suppose silver is still a big driver. A cappuccino and a cookie, along with a walk around town on the sunny side of the street was enough to get me warm enough to move on.
I came to Minturn, where I was planning to do a long hike. My research last night revealed that the trail I wanted to take was still covered by snow towards the end of the trail. Though some snow doesn’t bother me, I wasn’t really equipped and indeed one reviewer remarked that they would have needed snowshoes to make it to the end. I opted for another nearby trail (Meadow Mountain) that didn’t go to the same elevation, but would still be a nice hike up. Surprisingly, for a Saturday on a long weekend at a very accessible trailhead just off the highway, I encountered only a few other hikers along the trail. In total I probably hiked about 10 miles, over the course of 4.5 hours.
After the hike it was a quick ride over to the Airbnb where I would stay the night. After a long hike and four days of riding, I looked forward to making use of the hot tub, which I definitely took advantage of. For dinner though I did take a ride through the Vail village, it looked a bit too commercialized and pricey to me (plus I would have had to pay for parking) and opted instead to go to the nearby town of Eagle Vail to have some tacos and a beer on the patio of the Vail Brewing Company. A perfect finish to a physically demanding day.