After a tough night’s sleep I got a slow start and felt pretty rough for
the first part of the day. Something just wasn’t working for me. My goal
was Fort Colliuns, I thought it was closer than it really was, but
a sign I passed at 11:15 AM said 98 miles. No chance with a 10,000 foot
pass to navigate with tiredness all about me. Between 7 AM and noon the
temperature went up roughly 45 degrees (35 > 80), just an amazing
thing about the desert, one is either peeling layers off or putting them on.
The big accomplishment for me today, feeling off, was getting to the
top of the Pass, Cameron Pass, 10,200 ish feet, my highest point of the
whole journey. Eight miles to go to it, I had to stop, roll out the bed
mat, and just do nothing for a few minutes. Somehow I got going again. As the climb wore on I felt better, perhaps thanks to the relative cool of high altitude. At the top of the pass I immediately felt better. There I clung to the
moment. After seven weeks of Rocky Mountains, time constraints and deep fatigue said ‘no more.’ By the moment was bittersweet, for at the top of pass I realized I was about to start putting the best of the scenery of the biggest journey of my life behind me. Colorado’s mountains, rivers,
and vistas have a grip on my heart and I dream of them often when I am far away. It will be tough to say goodbye to the Rocky Mountain state almost as soon as I’ve entered it, just as the aspens are starting to change to their autumn gold.
After a couple cold swims in some high mountain lakes shortly after my descent started I felt immensely better, cooler and
much more cobweb-free. I pedaled down the beautiful Cache La Poudre River valley, full of hikers, gawkers, rock climbers, fly fishers, but just one pedaler (from Morehead City, NC). An afternoon thunderstorm dropped the temperature, the failing light of early fall caught
me, and I made camp riverside with the amazingly peaceful sound of the Cache La Poudre churning away just yards from my little tent. This is the mountain sound that I love in nature – running water
from a clear river. May I return to it soon again.