5:45 AM. I'm a little chilled, and I don't want to do what we must do. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed with my wife, but tearing myself away from this place is always hard, and there's about an hour of work ahead of us before we even start the hike to the car. Roll up the sleeping bags & pads, pack all the gear, tie it to the packs. Go down to the creek and splash some water on our faces. Take a few last shots of the bog as the sun comes up over the ridge. I even took some of the little 16 second movies my camera can take. Picked up the bags, and headed down the trail to the parking lot. Changed clothes, completely re-packed the car, and headed back to Idaho Springs.
I'd've loved to stay and hike down to Hell's Hole to see what it looks like, or go back up and spend more time on Evans. One day I want to do the loop through Rocky Mountain National, but not when everybody and their dog is here doing the same thing. Or even spend some more time in the bog and smoke another pipe. No, I was lucky even to get to go at all, and though I did mostly things I'd done before (other than the camping) -- I got to share them with my best friend (other than Vicki, that is) and just experience it again. It's at least a little different every time anyway.
Even the little 9,000 foot peaks around Idaho Springs are begging me to stay as we head in for another breakfast wrap and coffee, then hit the road with the divide in my rear view mirror.
I enjoy the buttes in the high plains as my consolation for leaving my mountains. We can see Pike's Peak a little better today as we turn away from it east on 86 towards Limon. That's such a pretty drive.
We stopped for gas in Limon. There was a guy berating his wife "Hurry up! For every minute we waste here that's 6 minutes later we'll get there!" "I know", she says. "Then get moving." Mark and I feel sorry for her, but we have to laugh at the bad math. Sorry, every minute you spend there guy is ONE more minute you'll be late, no matter how you slice it. We hit the road. Got to Salina about 5:15 and ate at Bogey's. Neat little local burger place. Has some personality, but I suspect it has lost a lot of it in moving from the old diner building to the new brick one. The girl behind the counter has beautiful eyes. Mark tries to get her to talk a little about the area so he can get a feel for what's been going on. Are they still running the commercials I made 12 years ago? But she's just selling burgers and fries. 12 years ago she was 6, and she doesn't really care. Next!
Got to Olathe, KS about 2 hours earlier than I had expected. Talk about bad math. I didn't time our trip. I just assumed it'd be a 10 hour drive from Denver and add another to Idaho Springs, bringing it to 11 hours. Nope. Just under 10, WITH the stop. Wow. I can drive home tonight! Only 2 more hours and some change to Columbia. We unload Mark's stuff, talk to Cami and the kids, and Rita across the street. I call Vicki so she'll know I'll be home tonight instead of tomorrow. Fill up with gas, and head out.
It starts to rain.
About two hours later, I'm home. Vicki's asleep, and I don't wake her. Tomorrow I wind down, clean up the car, do laundry. It was a very good vacation.