Start: three forks
Stop: skyline lodge, platoro
Total miles: 677
Every time I wake up it’s raining. My fly on one side of my tent is awfully close to the tent wall and I check for wetness. Dawn blooms, I awake from a dead sleep and the wind howls. I hear Fun Size from my tent.
“Are we getting up?”
It’s actually not raining and I say I have a road alternate. After reviewing options with the group, I state that even if I go alone I’m headed towards the road option. I’m slightly damp from the previous day and going 2,000 ft. up in elevation plus the wind and rain spells bad times. Not to mention the new snow that has fallen and more dangerous trail conditions.
All 5 of us head down the Conejos River on muddy trail. With elation we connect to forest service road 247. As a bit of celebration, we all use the trailhead pit toilet. Walking down this giant valley is a welcome change of pace. And it is stunning. As Focus heads up to a pass we descend to the tiny resort town Platoro. We come to some cabins that almost seem abandoned. As hail and heavy rain falls from there sky we sit on a dry porch, eat lunch and then fall asleep.
Word has spread of our presence and the owner shows up. Luckily he laughs at my rain pants pulled down around my knees (don’t worry, I have my hiking pants on too). He tells us to come down to the lodge and get some food, sit by the fire. We order up the worst coffee ever and watch the rain pour down outside. Deep gratitude to be dry and warm. Somehow we score a sweet laundry room camp out so Skyline Lodge of Platoro is home for the night. There’s even a dryer that works for free. This is the life as the gift shop cards slide across the sleeping mat.