Kenosha Pass (Jefferson) to Jefferson Lake Rd
Day: 6.1 Miles
Trip: 77.7 Miles
While filling my face with eggs and hash browns this morning, I come to a startling realization: Jefferson is part of the county in Colorado that inspired the hit television show South Park. I literally just spent the night sleeping in a tent, behind a market, in South Park. In case you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a satirical cartoon about a bunch of little kids, that run around a rural Colorado town, acting like complete morons. Pop culture has a funny way of making the people who come up with this crap filthy rich. If Matt Stone and Trey Parker stop by for pancakes this morning, I’m definite hitting them up for a ride back to the trail.
I hope to see my South Park friends on the trail, at some point, but it’s unlikely. These guys are biding their time and taking it slow. It’s a style of hiking that I deeply admire, but haven’t experienced. The beauty and tranquility of these mountains deserve every moment of time that one can afford to give them. Some have an abundance of time, while others have very little. I’m grateful to be here at all.
The third car that drives by takes note of my thumb in the air and stops in front of the Jefferson Market. The rusty BMW is being driven by a middle aged ski-bum, and he and his wife are amazed by what I’m doing. “You mean, your’e out here all by yourself!?” I’ve heard this line so many times, that I need to start having fun with it. “Yeah, well, I’m a severe badass from Vermont. That’s just how we are there.”
By the time I make the six-mile hike to the foot of Georgia Pass, it’s early afternoon, prime time for angry Rocky Mountain weather. This is a serious conundrum, because it’s way too early to set up camp, but its also the worst time of day to climb through a twelve-thousand-foot pass in the Rocky Mountains.
A vicious internal debate commences. I want to go, but the weather pattern that I’ve experienced, thus far, has been routine: It storms every afternoon. Last night, at the Jefferson Market, Road Warrior shared with me a rumor about a group of six hikers that were recently lit up by lightning. “I guess one of them didn’t make it,” he solemnly added at the end.
I catch up with Chris and Mark, an older couple that I’ve been leapfrogging with for several days, and they seem to be experiencing the same debacle. “Someone told us that Georgia Pass is the mother of all bad places to be in a storm,” Chris tells me.
I guess getting fried on a ridge-line wouldn’t really constitute a successful thru-hike. I suppose I’ll play it safe and hang out by a river for the rest of the day. There are many side trails here. Maybe I’ll go for a hike.