Canon City to Current Creek Hostel, Colorado. (36 mi.) Mile 2389
Climbing into the Rockies
Today we went from about 5,500 to 8,750 ft elevation, but the good news is that it got cooler as we went higher. (It was 101 at 6 pm in Canon City last evening.) We're taking this part of the trip in small bites, in part because of the weather, elevation gain, and spacing of accommodations. It seems like when I update the map on the computer, we're hardly going a pixel a day.
Just outside Canon City is Royal Gorge, a tourist attraction that we passed up. We've developed a general aversion to tourist attractions, but the billboards and signs along the route certainly tried to change our minds. You can take a train, horseback ride, helicopter trip, or go rafting to Royal Gorge. You'll also find many other ways to spend your time and money in the area; for example, you can stop at the "Home of the $49 Chainsaw Bears". My favorite of all the signs was a huge one aimed at kids: "Scream until Daddy Stops."
Early morning in tourist country: "Scream 'til Daddy stops"
Toward Royal Gorge
Mile 2377 and climbing
We cranked into the little town of Guffey (population 30), just before noon. Guffey is a collection of rustic houses and structures, mostly sided with unpeeled logs. We were surprised to discover that Guffey not only has a rather upscale restaurant (Nouveau Rustic), but that it was serving a fancy Sunday breakfast buffet to a crowd of tourists when we arrived. The influence of the Denver culture and economy was apparent. Breakfast was three times more expensive than breakfast in Appalachia, but we could have all the fruit we could eat, real cheese, good coffee, omelettes..... Our hosts made sure we were getting enough and were familiar with bicycle tourists' appetites and thirst. We did our best to try to eat enough to last us the rest of the day. Mike was determined to get his breakfast money's worth and could hardly walk out of the restaurant when he was done. When we finally left, we were surprised to find that Guffey also had an art gallery, museum, B&Bs, a nice antique shop and a saloon, which we patronized.
The weather in the mountains has been stormy, with thunderheads building predictably every afternoon. We made it to Current Creek Hostel just as the clouds darkened overhead. The hostel is primitive, with an outhouse and bucket shower. The interior is decorated in hippy decor, with bunk beds, a wood stove, and a library of used books. A solar panel powers the interior light. We found the cabin comfortable and peaceful, with its beautiful view. It was good to have a roof over our heads, because most of the night we were under an intense thunderstorm. Now that we're in the mountains, we have to ride just as hard to beat the afternoon storms as we did to beat the heat on the plains.
Current Creek Hostel near Guffey
Bucket shower at the hostel. The unheated 5 gallon bucket has a shower head with a valve and a mat to stand on. Straw bales around the cabin are for insulation. We cleaned up but did not take showers. Brrr.