Total trip miles: 1003.1
Maybe I shouldn't have laughed so much at Nightcrawler. Last night right as I was about to go to sleep I saw rabbit ears silhouetted behind the bush next to my tent. So I lucked out with no rain from the ominous clouds but not so much from the animal kingdom. That snowshoe hare crashed into my tent repeatedly all night and something (I am of course blaming the same rabbit) ate my hat.
So sleep didn't really happen and my sewing list is getting depressingly long. I lost the needle I usually carry so crossing my fingers on twin lakes. Between my shoes, gaiters, hat, shirt sleeves and shoulder straps it's getting pretty necessary to have a sewing session.
My first six miles were spent descending towards the Timberline Trail intersection. I startled a porcupine as it crossed the trail, taking way too many pictures while it froze and hoped I would go away. Mostly uneventful, I just need to give up on dry feet though. Between the trail trying to be a creek or a meadow half the day it's just a losing battle.
Getting closer to the bottom I started to hear the roaring of a creek. There's still a whole lot of snowmelt and I was crossing my fingers for a bridge, no such luck. Texas Creek looked cold, but at least the trail hit it at a pretty wide spot. No use stalling, at least it was lower because it was early. It was cold as expected but not too strong, although deep enough to wake me up I came out with wet shorts and icy toes but unfazed. It could potentially be nasty but conditions were on my side.
Colorado is full of old abandoned structures
More animal time. This guy seemed just as curious about me as I was about him.
I passed a register which had a surprisingly few number of CDT names. I guess more people than I realized took the low route, or just didn't sign in I suppose. Either way only 6 northbounders, yikes.
I start climbing and see a person rounding the corner, actually a kind of familiar looking person. It's Scatman, who I think I last saw back around Pie Town. He and some others flipped up to South Pass City from Chama and have been hiking south. I think we chatted for close to an hour, it feels like ages since I've seen hikers I knew early on. One of the best parts was talking about how we all still feel like we're dying, gasping and slow up all the climbs. He said he had a friend do some math, I guess the average elevation of the trail in Colorado is over 11000 ft. Now I see my elevation every day but it's easy to forget how much difference that can make, very cool. After gossiping I finally get on my way. Lake Ann Pass was about 15 miles from where I camped and I really wanted to be up and over before potential thunderstorms attacked me above treeline.
The parade of southbounders continued. A couple I didn't know passed but then I saw Rafiki! And I lost another hour, but it was totally worth it.
It was a steady approach to the pass and I tried to book it. The clouds were pretty nasty looking but were happily silent, even if I did get rained on and attacked by mosquitoes as I climbed. A little sun and I just had to decide how to get over the cornice on top. It wasn't bad at all and soon I was stumbling down rocky switchbacks and snow patches as the thunder finally rolled in. I even managed a little glissade as I headed to treeline. This place is too gorgeous.
Down the canyon, following the roaring creek. Gray gloomy sky but no rain. I've only been to the Collegiates once before and I remember being absolutely in love with this canyon. It doesn't see quite as dramatic this time around but I still want to come back. These mountains are so huge and the colors are fantastic, although a little dim in the gray.
After talking with the southbounders I'm pretty sure I'll be trying the purple route into Twin Lakes tomorrow. It saves a little time and I've already walked around Twin Lakes. Plus it means I'm okay camping a little early. I camped a little below Hope Pass last summer and for nostalgia (and the views) I wanted too again.
Lovely trail, and beautiful bridges this section is so nicely taken care of. I collapse in a heap searching for a snack. None of my food sounds good and I end up eating from my jar of peanut butter sprawled in the dirt when a big group of girls round the corner. I've been feeling pretty grubby lately but the parents seem pretty excited about the whole woman hiking the trail thing. They stay chatting for a pretty long time while the girls continually mutter 2 months in disbelief. It's pretty fun.
All the creeks are raging
Heading up towards Hope Pass is crazy steep, but so fun.
Sunset from a little below Hope Pass
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