Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hartsel, CO

Day 50: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Breckenridge to Hartsel: 42 miles

Up and out of my comfortable abode, and then - pow! - an eleven-mile climb up to Hoosier Pass: at 11,542' (over two miles high!), the highest point on the TransAmerica Trail.

Hoosier Pass
The Old Coot conquers Hoosier Pass

What was nice, though, was the other side: a 2500' descent over 30 miles into the wide spot named Hartsel. Nice, except for the cloudburst and accompanying hail. I barely had time to get my rain gear and pannier covers on when it hit - and all I could do was turn my back to the wind and huddle on the shoulder. After about five minutes that seemed like an eternity, a passing motorist took pity and offered shelter. Half an hour later, the storm moved on and the sun tried its best to break through.

sun rays through rain clouds
Sun rays over Colorado

Though small, Hartsel did have its scenic attractions. And it provided what may well prove to be the most interesting evening of the trip.

old mining cars
Some cool old mining cars

old Hartsel gas station
I liked this old gas station in Hartsel.

The TransAmerica map said that camping was allowed in the city park, and to check at the mercantile. But the mercantile was closed, so I wandered over to the bar & grill. The barkeeper said I could camp in the grassy area out back - or, if I didn't want to bother setting up a tent, I could sleep in the children's playhouse behind the church. That sounded good to me, so I wandered over to check it out.

Hartsel schoolhouse
The Hartsel church in a schoolhouse

Hartsel playhouse
My wee Hartsel abode

There, I found Diedra and Jeanine, two of the town's younger citizens, on the merry-go-round. They cajoled me into joining them, and after we were I was thoroughly exhausted, they thought to decorate the roof of the playhouse with their presence. I snapped a picture before heading off to the bar for supper and my third beer (what decadence!) of the trip. They did warn me to look out for the coyotes.

Jeanine and Diedra
Jeanine and Diedra: kittens on a hot tin roof

Upon returning to my lodgings, I spread out my sleeping bag and assorted paraphernalia (no, not that type of paraphernalia!), and attempted a little blogging; but that beer had done its work and I was out in short order.


  1. Unless I missed it, I don't think you filled us in on your medical condition after you left Missoula. This must be a case of "no news is good news," since you've crossed many passes since then!

    1. I thought I'd mentioned it somewhere - maybe in another reply that not everyone saw. It was finally diagnosed as pleuropericarditis, an inflammation of the lining around the heart and lungs. Treatment: anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen) and rest. That's why I was in Missoula so long.

      Since then, I've been fine.

  2. Heh heh, that last photo of the girls reminds me of ABBA.

    Glad to hear the condition was treatable. I wonder if you would have beome aware of it if you had not done the bike ride.


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