Yeti and I had a great time at ALDHA WEST this year. It was held in Keystone, CO at the Keystone Science School very near Silverthorne and Dillon. The CDT goes right through here so it was a no-brainer to go. Shroomer, who we met in the Winds this summer, presented on his Madagascar trek, so we wanted to see him also.
We headed out on Wednesday afternoon and drove as far as Cody, WY. On Thursday we got out pretty early and drove the back roads to Silverthorne. They were good roads and many antelope were seen along the way, as well as beautiful scenery. The Grand Tetons were in the distance as we got further into Wyoming, though I do not think we could see the Winds. We did drive through a bit of the Wind River Reservation, though. Going through CDT trail towns was fun: we stopped in Rawlins for lunch at the Cloverleaf Café, which had Mexican food, not what I’d expected from the name. But it was good and we also drove through Riverside/Encampment as well as on the road that both Yeti and I had taken from Grand Lake. I was just getting back on the trail in 2009 outside Grand Lake and as I was alone, I did a road walk on back roads. I thought it was safer as I did not know if my foot would hold up and did not want to risk high snow or have to self-rescue from the trail if anything want wrong. It was great déjà vu.
We stayed at a motel in Silverthorne and on Friday headed out to Ptarmigan Peak Trailhead just 5 minutes from the motel! We had a great hike (weather cooperated and was sunny or partly sunny for the entire hike) up, up the mountain, through Aspen groves, evergreens and above tree-line on those great open divide grassy hills. Up to almost 12,000 feet by the top. A great day with unbelievable views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks.
It was off to ALDHA West for dinner and socializing Friday night. Next morning, we went over there for breakfast and the fun began. Good presentations on the Brooks Range in Alaska, Shroomer’s talk, and an interesting one on thru-hiking the Colorado 14ers. Nita from Pietown was there also and Jeff Kish, who asked me about joining the PNTA board. Hmmmm….I probably will do it. I went for a short hike after lunch during free time along the river by the Keystone Science School. Yeti was not feeling great and in the end we did not even stay for dinner. Headed back to the motel, though we did stop for a light supper at the Red Mt. Grill. Then, we went back to the room for an early night.
We got an early start next morning, as we both wanted to get home in one day if possible. This time we did a slightly different route, starting out on the same back roads into Wyoming. We had a brunch at the restaurant in Riverside and then by I80 diverted heading to Casper where we picked up State 25 for a bit until it reached I90. It was I90 all the way home from then on. We got home about 7:30pm – not bad. All in all a great trip.