Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 70: To Cottonwood and the Collegiates

6/30: mile 1098.9-1125.7
Miles: 26.8
Total trip miles: 976.9

I'll admit I'm a bit of a history dork, I'm the one in town who always tries to find the museum and I like to read all the historical plaques scattered around. Which is one reason Colorado has been so fun. Today started with some time on the old Apline Tunnel route, complete with some interpretive signs.

Then up towards tin cup pass, nice and high with good views then right back down nice trail with a ton of switchbacks.

A solid climb and then a roller coaster of mountains. All told I'm thinking well over 5000 ft of climbing, with 3 smaller climbs thrown in for fun. Patches of snow, I lazily kick some steps. The soft snow is no problem although it would be a steep slide.

This trail took a lot of work, there's a ton of rock which is exhausting but easier since it's not cross country. And man do they like their switchbacks!

Climbing the second peak I have a San Juans flashback. It's short but a painful punch in the gut, a stomach clenching moment. I'm almost at the pass and I can see a jagged ridge rising to one side still speckled with snow. My stomach is roiling as I imagine what scary things are in store. Then I remember, one I'm not in the San Juans and two so much of the snow has melted that I'll be fine. Sure enough it's a pretty view not sketchy traverses or miles of snow awaiting me on the other side.

I feel slow, but I'm taking lots of breaks and seeing no one. Just watching the sky nervously. What weather is coming?

I'm finally getting close to where I was hoping to stop. It's so pretty, but a surprising number of people are out taking silly posed shots in the patches of snow. I feel dirty and disconnected.

Across 116, past the tourists I head just a little farther so I'm not camped on the road. It's mostly scrub brush and water everywhere. I walk a bit farther and find an ok spot. About 15 miles to the top of Lake Ann pass tomorrow. It's the big one with a supposed cornice to get around. I'm hoping the lingering clouds will blow over and I'll be able to get up and over before weather. I'm still so excited, the Collegiates are just so amazing. The biggest question is will my shoes actually get me there??

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