Right after going to bed last night, a couple of deer came bounding into my campsite only to abruptly turn the other way when they realized I was there. I was worried one would get a little too close, and sure enough, one tripped on my tent’s guyline at 3am.

A wind also whipped up shortly after I fell asleep and some hail came down, but luckily it didn’t last long.

By the time I got out of bed to get my bear bag at 6:30 this morning, most people were gone and only one other tent was still up. I heard that deer were also trying to nibble on people’s shoes and trekking pole handles for the salt all night, and everyone was worried about that storm kicking up again.

I got back in my tent to eat. I wasn’t in a hurry since I only had 8.2 miles to Molas Pass and the road to Silverton, mostly downhill. Still, I was hiking by 7:40. I feel like any start before 8 is early but I might have to start getting up much earlier to get over the passes before afternoon. I talked to a local hiker (and pilot and sailor and lightning strike survivor) this morning who said normally storms in Colorado mountains are in the afternoon, but something coming from New Mexico causes the crazy whatever-time storms in the San Juans.

I made it to the road at 11:30 and shortly after got a ride with some Australian tourists. They had actually pulled over to take a photo but when I walked up thinking they stopped for me, they made room in the back for me anyway.

They dropped me in Silverton and I called the Blair Street Hostel to make sure there was room. The owner said there was, and she wasn’t there right then, but to go ahead over and pick a bed. I stopped by the grocery first for some crazily priced supplies for my next 3-day stretch, then walked the couple blocks to the hostel. She had someone meet me there to explain the showers and laundry. I took the 10 minutes of hot water the shower token allowed and then changed into some town clothes provided for wearing while your laundry is being done.

Town chores done and electronics plugged in to charge, I went to Avalanche Brewing nearby for a late pizza lunch. Then it was back to the hostel for some planning and internet time, then back to the brewery for a taco dinner, then back to the hostel for more internet.

I’m signed up for the 8:00 shuttle in the morning to get back to the trail. It looks like a 40% chance of storms tomorrow afternoon but then clear weather the couple days after that. I’m heading into a couple nights of camping above treeline so here’s hoping for the best! Maybe I can wait below treeline for the storms tomorrow afternoon and then hike more in the evening.