Being in the mountains on a cross-country walk has its positives and negatives. On the one hand, it’s gorgeous every step of the way. Snow-capped mountain peaks look down from on high, streams and rivers flow all over, and the sky is usually pretty beautiful. On the other hand, you’re pushing a 100+ pound cart up and down the various inclines and declines, and the roads in the canyons cause some tight curves and tiny, tiny shoulders to walk along.
So while we’re sad to say goodbye to the beauty surrounding us in the Rockies, we are excited to start walking through slightly less…challenging…terrains. Because as of now, we are just about out of the mountains in Colorado.
Of course, we had some wonderful experiences along the way. After finally saying goodbye to our dear friends from Gunnison (which you can read more about here), we started on down the road. The first day over Monarch Pass we made it to a campground and met an awesome gentleman named Peter who was riding his bike across the country. Peter’s from Germany, so Lindsie and I were pumped to talk with him about his journey, and even more pumped when he invited us to stay with him if we ever make our way over to Germany. The more contacts around the world the better as far as we’re concerned.
After that, we began making our way into Salida, Colorado. We emailed several churches hoping at least one would be willing to let us camp out for the night. After several emails and several calls, we got ONE response from Pastor Neely at Living Waters Assembly of God Church. He offered to let us use the church for the night (and also use the church’s kitchen, which is always a blessing). We were also thankful that God worked out the timing—as we’ve learned He tends to do—so that we could enjoy a Bible study with Pastor Neely and some of the Living Waters congregation members that same night. Later, as the wind howled outside and the rain continued to come down off and on, Lindsie and I thanked Jesus for Pastor Neely’s willingness to open his church doors to us. Being inside in weather like that is SO much better than being outside, as you can imagine.
The next morning we said goodbye and began walking again. In order to avoid the S-curves we’d heard more and more about in the canyon that Highway 50 travels through, we decided to take a recommended path that wasn’t quite a shortcut, but would help us avoid the more perilous stretches of the highway. While the path was successful, there were two different portions of the road that required us to take off our shoes, walk through the river carrying our carts, and push through some rugged terrain. But as we made our way out of that road in one piece, we were thankful that God had kept us safe the entire way.
After a 21-mile walk (which is pretty aggressive for us), we reached the KOA campground we’d been dreaming of for hours. Warm showers and clean clothes were on their way! Or so we’d thought. But when we limped our way into the office, we were informed that all of the tent sites had been reserved by a local rafting company and there was nowhere for us to stay that night. Needless to say, we were disappointed. But we didn’t have much of a choice other than picking back up and moving down the road. Two miles later we reached a suitable place for camping and decided to call it tonight. Although we were disappointed not to have showers, we were thankful God gave us a safe place to sleep for a night. Especially one that was free.
We woke up the next morning and made a push toward Cañon City. As we walked, a car pulled over on the shoulder and our friend Melissa from Gunnison jumped out. She was on her way to Denver and had been keeping an eye out for us so she could stop when she saw us. After talking with her about our KOA experience the night before, Melissa offered to drive ahead and reserve a tent spot for us at an upcoming campground so we wouldn’t have any more “no room at the inn” fiascos. Her help was certainly appreciated. After that we said goodbye, but she planned to come see us again when she made another trip to Denver a few days later.
We kept on walking, and things went well. The Arkansas River followed our path, which was relaxing and beautiful, and we saw rafters and kayakers all day in the river, a herd of bighorn sheep up on the mountainside, and a cool snake on the side of the road. The only bummer is that, on the way to Cañon City, there’s a pretty lengthy incline up the side of the mountain. Even though it took its toll on us, we did our best to keep pushing up and over. Unfortunately, with about a quarter of a mile left going up the incline, a thunderstorm broke out. Lightning flashed all around us and hail came plummeting down from the skies. It wasn’t very fun.
Thankfully, we reached the top and as we came over the crest of the hill, the hail stopped (for the most part) and we were able to keep walking, even if we were soaking wet. Our destination was the Starlite Classic Campground, and the Starlite Classic did not disappoint. The whole place is 1950s themed, and features vintage 1950s campers you can rent and spend the night in. We didn’t do that due to budgetary restrictions, but it’s still an awesome campground.
On top of that, the woman who runs the campground, Sylvia, offered to drive us up the road to a really nice restaurant that was a quarter-mile down the highway. Normally we’d just walk, but after a 20+ mile day that included a gigantic hill and an afternoon spent wet and cold due to the hail and rain, we opted to take the ride. What made it even better is that she drove us out to the restaurant in a classic 1950s car, which was just fun.
The next step of the journey was to make our way into Cañon City. But since plenty of great stuff and great people entered our story in Cañon City, I’m going to stop writing and cut this post off here so it doesn’t turn into TOO much of a novel. We’ll fill in more details with the next blog update.
Anyway, we want to once again so thanks for all of the prayers and support we’ve received since we’ve been back out on the road. There are SO many people who have done an amazing job of keeping us motivated and inspired every day, and for that we are thankful.
On that note, I just want to remind you that if you have any prayer requests or concerns, please feel free to share them with us, either in the comments below or privately by emailing us at StormingJericho (at) gmail.com. We have LOTS of time for praying and are happy to do that if you have prayer requests, so please don’t be afraid to let us know what we can do.
Thanks again, and we’ll be back with another update very soon!
-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda