8/30 In Grand Lake we reunited with whole crew, most of whom ended up crashing on the floor of our hotel. Heaps, Hawkeye, Kombucha and Joker had an elaborate plan to do the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) loop – a 26 mile loop that is part of the official CDT but many hikers skip – that also included a ridge walk and a stop in Estes Park. What ended up happening? Yes, you guessed it…. they ended up ditching it for more time and town and more eating (though no food challenges….the Steamboat episode of eating a 1/2 gallon of ice cream + an entire pie + 3 huge hunks of chicken and then washed down by a 1/2 gallon of lemonade = a less than happy hiker and a pause in Food Challenges). After some complex calculations and planning, we decided to skip the RMNP loop as well, and do the Silverthorn route rather than the official Greys-Torres route. That way it would be easier to rendezvous with our old friend Claire Labor Day weekend.
8/31 We set off along Shadowwood Reservoir. We met up with RT at lunch and continued together along Colombine Bay. There we met Lake, a laid back CDT thru-hiker who was flip-flopping and currently headed North. We