We awake in Salida CO to more rain, lots of it. Today is going to be wet and sloppy. Our first order of business in Salida is to equip ourselves with some heavy duty rain gear at the local Ranch supply store. Donning our new heirloom quality rain duds, we head off into the storm. We look like crew members from “Deadliest Catch”!
The trails ahead should be less arduous and technical than our time at elevation however the graded ranch roads that we hope to make 45 mph+ on turn out to be a bit unnerving because they are slick with mud. Because of wheel spin and some lack of attention on our part, we get turned around and end up off course near Vaughn Mountain and end up taking some creative detours on muddy ranch roads. The upside of our detour is that we are rewarded with several game sightings: 25+ wild turkeys feeding in the brush and a magnificent pronghorn buck who runs alongside us at full speed for a few hundred yards. We eventually get back on track having lost any gains that we had made earlier. We’re now a day behind schedule and need to get to Trinidad CO by tonight if we are to redeem our schedule.
Foot to the floor and some hair raising slippery roads eventually get us to Trinidad Sate Park. Despite the fact that it is pouring rain, we are greeted by thousands of famished mosquitos at the southern camp. They literally are trying to bite the Jeep! We high tail it to the northern camp on the lake which is situated about 150’ above lake level where the hungry bugs are significantly less. We are greeted by yet another heavy down pour and struggle through our camp set up managing to deploy awnings for some protection for our kitchen galley. With a hearty meal of Madras lentils with chicken and a couple of dry gin martinis, we retire to the dry Habitat and let the sound of the rain lull us to sleep.