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Weminuche Wilderness 1999

A day in Pagosa

In a way, today was a "found" day, since we had not expected to get down to the trail head before 1 pm today. So we spent the morning doing laundry and drying out our gear. We checked out of the motel near 11 am, and headed into Pagosa Springs, for some shopping (key targets being beer wine, and books) and to stop off at the Forest Service Ranger Station and give them a piece of my mind about the trail conditions. At the latter place, there were just a couple of ladies who were clearly not part of the management structure of the Forest Service, so I was just polite, and bought a map, much to Susie's relief. We did some shopping in town, and got a T-shirt for Stephan (the 10 year old boy who used to take care of our cat BIOS, before the latter met with an untimely demise), and several books. I stopped in the backpacking shop and talked to the guy who was unloading a new '99 Gregory Denali: they still have not returned the pack to it's original greatness, by putting the water bottle pockets and external pocket clips back on. You would think Gregory would get a clue.

Interestingly, we ran into our CDT hiker acquaintance, Mike, walking along the street in town! It is a small world. He had shaved his beard, reported he was camped about 5 miles outside of town, and had secured employment already for the fall, at the Wolf Creek Pass Ski area. Best of all (I thought) was that his family was coming to visit him in a couple of days. He looked like he could use a good meal or five.

Susie and I, since we knew we would be getting to Pagosa before ASTD were designated the key pickup folks for our cabin for the night, thus we did so about 2:30 pm. We had been warned by the others that the "cabin" was a bit more palatial than it's name would indicate, and they were correct. It was about 5 miles out off the highway west of Pagosa, on 200 acres, 2500 sq feet and a drop dead view of the Weminuche. ASTD were going to stay there a few more nights, but for us, tonight would be our only night. We had just about unloaded our gear, and ASTD drove up. It turns out that they had made such good time going out that they kept going when they got to Ruby Lakes, and spent the night in a motel in Creed. They really seemed to love that little town. It seems that all three couples had purchased lots of wine and beer, so we sat out on the porch of the cabin, sipping wine, munching, and just chatting. We commented that we never do that enough with our friends. For dinner, we all drove to a really nice restaurant on the east side of town, right on the river (J.J's Upstream). I don't remember what I had, but the food was pretty good, and it was nice to see so many folks in an upscale restaurant. Of course, Pagosa is growing like crazy, despite its isolation.

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Roger A. Jenkins, 1999