Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 73: Mt Elbert

7/3: mile 1169 (plus a bit up Mt Elbert)-1190.5
Miles: 25.1
Total trip miles: 1041.2

Originally sunrise above treeline sounded awesome. Right before going to sleep I changed my mind. I was thinking it would take 3-4 hours to get to the top, and I was not about to start hiking at 2 am. Sunrise is great but that much sleep deprivation on day 1 of a section just sounded silly.

I don't think it rained but every time the wind blew my tent was showered. So a nice wet time packing up. I started walking a little after 5:30 and still managed a bit of sunrise through the trees. The climb was nice and steady on a really well used trail. There were clouds and I got sprinkled on but no thunder or real rain. Getting close to the top I started to see day hikers and lost the trail, but so did everyone else so we all looked like fools together. I sidestepped around a few snow banks and up a whole lot of rock finding the trail and hit the summit a few minutes later.

Do you think the Friday of 4th of July might be a popular day to hike to the highest point in Colorado? Umm yeah, you betcha.

All looking out from the summit

Tallest in CO

I guess I missed the memo on what to wear while hiking in Colorado. Hairy legs and gaiters were not on trend at all, spandex tights on the other hand were ruling the trail. Now if this is because the Jimmy Fallon tight pants clip is making a comeback then I wholeheartedly approve (if you don't know what I'm talking about please YouTube, well worth a few minutes). Until I rip a hole in them though I'll be sticking to my beloved ratty but oh so comfy shorts.

Streams of mostly exhausted, day hikers passed me as I headed down. It was long but not too bad. I dried out all my gear at the Mt Massive trailhead and finally started hiking again.

For once as the afternoon thunderheads build it looked like I'd be below treeline. So at least I was slightly less likely to be struck by lightning. Some very nice CT hikers chatted with me and even told me I didn't look as rough as the other CDT hikers thru had seen, thanks? I'm feeling pretty rough but glad I hide it well.

More forest, some ponds, and many more southbound CT hikers made up my afternoon. I had to pick up some speed as the mosquitoes started getting worse.

I sped up the last climb, a cloud of mosquitoes following me. But I didn't want to put on my wind gear because it's so hot and I had over 1200 ft to climb. The final saddle was pretty but the bugs were even worse. I kept going just a bit father but didn't want to camp near a big group of fishermen. I found a spot off trail stopping a little early. I'm really tired and feel like I'm getting a cold and something is wrong with my left foot. I'm not sure what but it's making me very nervous. I don't have the time to take another week off so I'm just going to try to take it easy.

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