This morning I said goodby (see you later) to Cha Cha, Linda, Aldo, Alfred and Chama. Time to head back northwest.
The drive was stunning. I was in a valley surrounded by snow peaked mountains the entire way. Wow.
Cha Cha suggested I stop in Salida, so I did. What a quaint, hip, active, happening place! There were thrift stores, art galleries, breweries, distilleries, bike shops and a huge waterfront park. The town sits beside the Arkansas River, and given it was a warm sunny day, kayakers dotted the race course running through downtown.
Next to the river was a large parking lot nearly filled with mountain bikers. Adjacent are acres of mountain bike trails. Sweet!
Such a great energy, in a beautiful place. After spending an hour or so walking around twon, I headed onward. My stop for the night: Leadville. My Airbnb host let me check in early, so I changed into my running clothes and headed out the door. I had learned of The Mineral Belt Trail that circles the town from someone I met in a parking lot in Red River Valley. The trail is about 11 miles and is groomed in winter for skiing. I thought skiing would be marginal at best, given the warm weather, so running seemed like the better choice.
After running the trail for about 3 miles, I found the nordic trailhead, which was groomed and had great conditions. Could have skied, and running on the trail was great. I ran about half the loop, and then headed toward downtown. It’s a small, quaint, beautiful, bustling, old, well maintained, mining town. What a treat.
Wow, What a day! Leadville is lovely, and Salida is my new love. Both have nice airports. I will be back, soon.