At the Blair St Hostel in Silverton.
The day dawned clear at my camp on the Animas River – right next to the railroad tracks like a real hobo – and I began the 5-mile, 2000 ft climb up to Molas Pass. Climbing is always easiest in the morning and I made good time, spurred by thoughts of waffles for second breakfast in Silverton. I was slowed by deer, fool grouse, and the sight of the early morning sun lighting up Vestal and Needle Peaks.
It took an hour, but I got my ride into town, and made my way to the hostel where I found Willis, a hiker whose company I have been enjoying off and on since Salida as we leapfrogged one another along the trail.
Silverton is overrun by ATVers. The San Juans are riddled with old mining roads and thus provide a setting for outdoor recreation that requires no skill or physical exertion. Most practitioners of this deeply stupid “sport” are from out of state – judging from accents I am sure that I was the only Coloradan at several of the eating establishments I patronized both here and in Lake City.
But Silverton is nice enough for an overnight. I’ll be leaving early tomorrow for the last – and some say the most beautiful – leg of the trail.