Last night got plenty chilly. I’ve been thinking of getting something to supplement my sleeping bag. It is an old bag and not very warm. I’m not sure if I need a new sleeping bag, or just some sort of blanket to go with it during the cold nights. When it was raining yesterday, I bought some hand warmers. Maybe I can figure out some way to use them to help at night.
This morning started with a climb away from Cimarron, then down into a wide valley. At Montrose, I turned south and started climbing again. Colorado is all climbing. Every day. South of Montrose, I met an older couple heading east from San Francisco to Virginia. Actually, I passed the man and a few minutes later the woman stopped to chat. They didn’t start until the beginning of August. Like the guy I met east of Salida, they didn’t seem to think the desert was such a big deal, just take extra water.
As I approached Ridgway, the valley narrowed and funneled the wind into my face, so I was climbing against the wind. I finally made it to a campground in a state park a few miles south of Ridgway. When I got to the campground, the ranger station was closed. I tried to find a campground volunteer, but they all seemed to be away from their campsites. I tried to ride around the campground to see if any sites were available, but couldn’t find any. I couldn’t find anyone who could tell me if there are any hiker/biker sites. In some states, the state park campgrounds have a policy to not turn away hikers or bikers, even if the campground is full. It was getting late; the sun was setting; I was starting to get desperate.
As I waited for one of the campground volunteers to return, a group of friends from Durango asked if I was camping on my bicycle. I said I was looking for a place, but couldn’t find one and couldn’t find anyone to answer any questions. They offered to let me pitch my tent at their site. As I headed toward their site, the volunteer finally got back to his site. He told me there are no hiker/biker sites. Amazing, for a state like Colorado. “Come visit our beautiful state. Hike in our mountains; bike on our highways. But if you come to a full campground, you will have to hike or bike another 20 miles to another place.”
Thankfully, the group from Durango saved me. After I pitched my tent in their site, they even fed me dinner.