Day 76 miles hiked 0Day 77 miles hiked 0

Day 78 miles hiked 24.5, Rocky Mountain National Park Loop

Day 79 miles hiked 0

After walking into Grand Lake with shattered feet we found ourselves at the spiritual and physical retreat spot of Shadowcliff Lodge an amazing oasis that sits perched upon cliffs overlooking the town of Grand Lake, CO.  Cheezy’s feet were a mess when we showed up and so were mine, each of us had developed some sort of ulcer on the last stretch and we need time to rest and heal up.  So with broken feet and much disdain for the snow, we decided to take some time off and enjoy Shadowcliff Lodge.

The staff at Shadowcliff were some of the friendliest and most hiker-friendly lodging I have ever experienced.  The young staff members made us feel welcome and part of the family, it was sad to leave there and have to say goodbye to them, I hope a few follow this blog and keep in touch as I felt so at home and at peace around them and the facility.

Cheezy with a nice ice cream to celebrate the 4th

The town of Grand Lake is very touristy and pure Americana.  They have 4 ice cream shops, plenty of small shops and a great outfitter called Never Summer Sports.  The Lariat Saloon saw us a fair amount, and the Fat Cat Cafe had one of the best brunch buffets ever.  We took our time to rest, soak our feet, and eat mass amounts of calories.

The town is notorious for their July 4th fireworks and since we needed the rest instead of hiking out as planned we opted to stay for the 4th.

On Saturday after doing our town chores we went to the saloon and watched the European Cup soccer quarterfinals which featured Germany against Italy.  The game was exciting and Buttercup was thrilled when his team won.  We celebrated the win and drank some beers and enjoyed pizza.

On Sunday morning Buttercup and I set out at 5:30 to hike the 24.5mile CDT loop through Rocky Mountain National Park.  The weather was damp and gray and we spent most of the day in the fog but we saw plenty of big Elk, Moose, and deer.  As we hiked we talked and we discussed our future hiking together and what he wanted to do.  The European Cup finals were in 7 days so he wanted to make Encampment Wyoming and watch it.  That meant hiking a 27 MPD average with no trip to Steamboat.  With that, we agreed it was time for him to leave Cheezy and I and hike mom his own for as long as he liked or until we saw him again.

Buttercup atop Flat Top Mountain

As we descend Flat Top Mountain on the loop we turned a corner and there was Maverick and John the warrior hiker.  I hadn’t seen Maverick since kick off back on April but was so happy to see him.  We caught up and he said I’ll hike out with you on the 5th.  So with that Buttercup was on his own and Cheezy and I would pick up a new hiking partner.

Kelly at shadowcliff giving us a history tour

The 4th was fun with full Americana in effect.  The lodge had a family style BBQ with amazing food, some of the best potato salad ever! And tons of pie.  I ate until I was stuffed.  To help digest dinner I took the history walk of Shadowcliff where Kelly the program director gave us some great background.  We watched fireworks and then turned in late for the night.

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