Total trip miles: 1068.5
It started raining sometime during the night, other than moving my shoes so they would be slightly less wet it was pretty uneventful. I tried to sleep in, this awesome cough congestion thing I've got going isn't great for sleeping so I thought I'd try extra sleep. Internal alarm clocks defeated me and I was still up early.
The trail of course kept on going through trees but popped out pretty quickly. It was a treat to feel like I was in the mountains again. More small talk with some Colorado Trail hikers and then a whole lot of down and flat. My first 18 miles or so seemed to be spent heading towards 9-10000 ft. It was a lot of forest walking. Less beetle kill than before but still odd dead sections.
The trail headed out of wilderness so it was back to the land of mountain bikers. Meadows, mosquitoes and day hikers were everywhere. It's not only a weekend but 4th of July, I actually expected to see even more people than I did.
Tennessee Pass was bustling. I happily used the restroom but vetoed hitching into Leadville. I'm sure it's a cool town but I'm carrying enough food to get to the next town and I don't feel like dealing with holiday chaos.
Old road turned trail makes for nice walking but I'm dragging. I finally put on a bunch of wind gear, curl up into a little ball and try to take a nap. I look pretty strange but it's worth the mosquito protection while I'm stopped, I just wish it was cooler.
Nap time semi works and it's back to hiking. The trail heads down past Camp Hale and then mirrors a road for a bit.
Then it's time to make up all that elevation, about 2500 ft of climbing back above treeline. I pass a ton of people already camped. I get wrapped up in how I thruhike and I forget some people like to stop at 3 in the afternoon. Lots of small talk as I pass by.
Breaking out of the trees I'm so happy, it's gorgeous. This next section is actually one of my favorites. Maybe I was just in the right mood with good weather but from Kokymo Pass along Elk Ridge to Searle Pass was fantastic. It was only maybe 3 miles but great, although I'm not sure Elk Ridge is the most appropriate. Those marmots were outnumbering everything, I spent way too long playing marmot photo shoot and watching the afternoon storm engulf the mountains across the valley.
It was getting late but I didn't want to sleep above treeline so I kept going. Then I couldn't find a flat spot, this is what happens when you are lazy and don't check the topo.
I almost gave up on finding a spot for my tent. Switch backing through a dark forest wasn't the most promising. I did find one and am glad I didn't give up and cowboy like I was tempted to because it is of course now raining. It's a little more than 20 miles to Highway 9 and then a short free bus ride to Brekenridge. I'm really looking forward to a shower and some down time. A bunch of folks I know are heading out in the morning and Nightcrawler is about half a day behind so I'm guessing it will be a solo town stay.
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