Total trip miles: 886.4
Today was inspired by Shroomer. He's an awesome triple crowner who I was living near right before leaving for the CDT. He humored me while I asked a million CDT questions and regularly leads some awesome training hikes. So for his birthday this year I believe he hiked his age in elevation, not to shabby when your birthday is 60 plus and it's a day hike.
Well today was my 29th birthday and while not even a little original I thought I wanted a goal to make the day more fun. 2900 ft in elevation gain isn't too exciting out here, I did more than that yesterday. But it has been a really long time since I was able to do a 29 mile day, 14 was pushing it last week and 20+ impossible for me. But today looked like it would work perfectly. Over 30 miles below 11000 ft, and most of it on roads! So as long as my feet and shin played nicely the game was on.
I woke up and found the trail still a muddy, rocky creek. Oh well at least there were some dry spots. The first 10 plus miles were spent following Cochetopa Creek. It was calm and cool, and I spent my morning surprising deer, elk, rabbits and even a moose.
I'll admit my first few miles were really tough, I was awake but my limbs all felt slow and heavy. It wasn't until almost 8 that I realized I skipped my morning caffeine. My amazing friends had actually just sent me some nice instant Starbucks which I'm too cheap to buy myself so it was an extra birthday treat. After that all was right with the world. Good to know I'm more addicted to caffeine out here than at home, whoops.
Past a trailhead (with a bathroom!) and some lovely dry dirt trail. I got to the Cochetopa Creek crossing that I had been worried about before 10. I'm sure crossing in the mornings is helpful but it really wasn't bad. I used some gravel bars and went across in 3 parts right above the washed out bridge, I didn't even get my shorts wet. I'm just fine that the river has gone down a bit, my ego needs nothing to do with river crossings, those things scare the bejesus out of me.
Cochetopa Creek ford
Once the trail left the river the rest of the day was on dirt roads. I spoiled myself rotten and listened to music all morning. Road walks are great for zoning out and I geeked out on a ton of show tunes and badly sang my way down the trail.
I even saw other people. Some fishermen on atv's and a southbound Colorado Trail hiker who warned me of hordes of mosquitoes coming soon. Ugh
Passing a cattle guard, I stopped to fix my shoes when a truck pulled up and some fisherman offered me a cold drink. I started walking and checked my GPS. Oops missed my turn. But hey everything happens for a reason, I only went there wrong way for about 30 ft but I got a drink out of it. So really another success.
It was a long afternoon though. It was hot and muggy and there wasn't actually water every so I carried a bunch to dry camp making my pack much heavier than its been in awhile. I was dragging and the mosquitoes were definitely around if you stopped which made everything more unpleasant.
I passed my 29 mile mark and still felt okay so I kept on at it. I would have stopped alone than I did but I was anxious about water (which I of course found before stopping because this spring is nuts and there's still a lot of seasonal water).
I ended up camping at the bottom of a canyon in meadow close to the CO 116 trailhead. I hate camping in meadows but I was done and it was late so I'll just dry my gear tomorrow.
The mosquitoes are out in force so I'm tucked into my tent hoping tomorrow is more smooth sailing.
Prettier sunset than it seems, but I was not willing to brave the mosquitoes to get the pink in time
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