I normally don’t write much about zero days because they are honestly boring, and that is the point. Busy zero days don’t feel like much of a rest at all. A good trail town for a zero day had a clean, but cheap hotel with plenty of channels on TV, a well stocked grocery across the street, and hopefully a restaurant that serves something with a vegetable other than iceberg lettuce and limp tasteless tomatoes. If there is an outfitter in town, that is a bonus. Surprisingly, this combo can be hard to find. But as thru-hikers we’re not picky, your restaurant doesn’t have any veggies on the menu but has a delicious breakfast burrito, that will do just fine thank you very much!
But considering we took not one, not two, but seven zero days in Pagosa Springs: that seems worth writing about. So what did we do?
Day 1: We walked up to the bakery for breakfast, and then spent the rest of the morning hanging around the hotel. I texted back and forth with Mouse about how many days they were planning on staying in town, and we ended up finding a vacation rental on the other side of town for three nights. We were hesitant to commit to more, because we weren’t sure how long we’d have to wait for the snowmelt to be significant enough to make a difference. We had tacos for lunch, and then I went to a women’s health clinic in town to have a free prenatal check-up. Piglet’s heart rate was strong, and I haven’t lost any weight on the trail which is quite the accomplishment! I’ve been trying hard to stay hydrated and eat enough, which is harder than it sounds.
We had hoped to rent a car for a few days to get out to a larger city like Durango, but Enterprise couldn’t promise us a car for another day, so we sat back and waited to see how that would turn out. A trip to the brewery for dinner again rounded out the day!
Day 2: We checked-out of the hotel a bit before lunch, and then walked over for tacos again. Mouse texted us soon after that the house was ready, so we started walking up town. We thought it was just a couple miles away, but we mapped it and it was nearly 5 miles away! While that shouldn’t be far for hikers, on a zero day it is positively a marathon, so we threw a thumb out and got a quick hitch where we needed to be. We all met up at the house, then walked to the grocery store. We had a full kitchen at our disposal, and we decided to use it! Garrett and I made grilled chicken and summer squash, with asparagus pesto pasta on the six with salad for dinner.
Day 3: I made pancakes for breakfast, as everyone slowly emerged from their rooms. We rented a three bedroom house, and along with Mouse and Shadow, our friend Twisted also split the cost of the rental with us. It was a slow morning, the type of morning where after breakfast one of us had a bowl of ice cream and then took a nap (while that sounds like a pregnant lady thing to do, I swear it wasn’t me). Garrett and I made our way through the game selection at the house.
Our rental car came through after all, so that afternoon we went to pick it up. Even though we got the car, we decided to stay put in Pagosa Springs with our friends. The house was comfortable, and most importantly affordable. Looking at the weather, high temperatures in the valley and little if any precipitation in the mountains, we decided waiting the week would do a lot of good so we extended our stay at the house for two more days. Mouse and Shadow made beef stew for dinner that evening, and it was a good end to another successful zero day.
Day 4: We has a mini-golf outing, watched the Black Panther, and Twisted made beef bolognese. Another excellent zero day.
Day 5: Group field trip to Durango to watch the Avengers movie. Afterwards we walked around town, and I stopped in the outfitter to get a small super-absorbent towel to help dry my feet at night from walking through snow all day (although hopefully we don’t have too much of that ahead of us), a new bandana, and a pair of warm socks to sleep in. My shoes have also felt too big since we’ve left the desert and my feet have stopped swelling, so I tried in a smaller size and they fit great, so I purchased a new pair and will send the larger size ahead to Wyoming where we’ll enter the hot dry Great Basin for some time.
Day 6: Time to get to work! We all went grocery shopping to resupply for this next section to Wolf Creek Pass. Shadow and Mouse, like us, decided not only to buy six days worth of food for this section, but also to buy six days worth of food to send to the next town to Lake City because they have a smaller grocery there. Twisted needed to buy 17 days worth of food because he was shopping for two more stops. It went surprisingly well, and when we got back to the house we broke down all of the food into our bags and packages. Mouse and I watched Twisted organize all of his food while we ate lunch, something that only another thru-hiker would find interesting. Thru-hikers love to see what other hikers buy and eat, we’re always looking for new ideas! Later, we made hot dogs and Garrett ate six. The rest of us ate two, although Shadow managed another one a little later.
Day 7: We packed into the rental car with our bags and boxes, and mailed our food off at the post office to hopefully pick-up a week from now in Lake City. We ran a few more errands, had lunch, then relaxed at the First Inn again. Tomorrow, it’s back to the trail!
And yes, those are ice cream sandwiches!