Great morning, wet, freezing evening. I left Steves place as early as I could stand to, and met up with Ryan and Michelle at the Currant Creek Hostel. It was as charming as I'd hoped, and I hope I have a chance to stay there another year. I rode into the real rockies under darkness, ast night, lseeing only the shadows of tall pines, and today I woke up into a drastically different landscape. This looks like the Colorado I was expecting, and it is amazing.
It's also cold. Unseasonably cold, actually. The cold itself, however, is... okay. Acceptable. The air smells cold, the colors of the mountains look chilly and unhospitable. The blue-green tufts of grass look frosty in the sunlight, even. It feels like it SHOULD be cold here, and that makes it easier to accept. Unfortunately, my newfound tolerance for the cold does not extend to wet, and after a wonderful morning ride, the rain came.
The ride from Hartsel to Fairplay was a freezing dash through varying degrees of rain, mist, drizzle, and downpour. The temperature steadily dropped. By the name I was in sight of Fairplay, I could not shift gears with my frozen fingers. If I'd stood up on the pedals to get more speed and dash to down, I'd probably have smashed in my face on the handlebars. My shoes where soaked through. I stopped at the first gas station to rock back and forth and moan while my hands thawed, then joined Michelle and Ryan at the laundromat, which we exploded our wet gear into. My trailer, and their panniers, had all leaked or soaked through.
While the clothes where drying, Michelle secured us showers at the community center, under the condition that we get there soon. We got there sort of soon, which apparently was not soon enough as the center was closed. This somewhat ruined our plans of smoozing a campsite out of the staff. Poking around the building, looking for signs of life, however, I came across a little barrel-sauna. It was unlocked, and still warm, and it seemed like an opportunity to heed. We spread out the tarps to hide anything reflective on the bikes, stashed them in a dark corner, and moved into the sauna for the night.