Miles: 28.9 (close enough with a purple route and cross country thrown in)
Total trip miles: 1175.4
No particular plans today but it looked like a whole lot of time above treeline so I didn't dawdle. It was a chilly morning but I started out climbing which usually helps. It looks like Picker found Sam, they were camped just a little ways up the trail. Right as a nasty thunderstorm started last night I had heard someone shout if I had seen Sam. It was Picker looking for Sam, it's a small trail and I had heard their names before but didn't know them.
I pass by and start up towards the summit. It doesn't take long for the wind to pick up. Is it possible to anthropomorphise wind? I'm pretty sure it was doing its best to either blow me off the mountain or turn me to ice this morning. Either way it was winning hands down.
The first part of the climb took ages and that was just to get up to the divide. Then it was up and down this rocky spine while the wind howled and simply never let up. You could see that it had snowed up high and it took a lot of effort just to stay upright. My whole left side was icy cold and I was having a hard time imagining a whole day on the divide.
I made it to Jones Rd where the Silverthorne alternate rejoins the trail. I could care less about that, I was more curious about a purple route on my map that would get me off the ridge for a few miles. I had been moving at less than 2 miles a hour, it was almost ten am and I was only 5-6 miles in. I was huddled in the rocks staring at my maps debating.
Sam and Picker showed up and after moaning about the wind and staring at the thunderheads already building we all thought a low route sounded fantastic, miles looked about the same it would just be so much more pleasant.
The first step was to get over the cornice blocking the road. It wasn't too bad and then it was cross country to the road. It was green and sunny and felt like a new world.
It was such a treat to road walk. First dirt then some real highway. Picker had the idea to cut up a creek to cut out some road which worked great. All to about 12 miles on the divide skipped but worth it for my sanity.
I reconnected with the trail at Berthound Pass. I had told the guys not to wait up, they were going into town but I had enough food to get to Grand Lake so it seemed silly to join them. They must have gotten a ride quick because they weren't at the pass when I got there. But there were some pretty impressive signs and a warming hut. Which had trail magic! What a treat.
I thought about an alternate out of the pass. But according to J Ley and note 1 it sounded like a whole mess of work I wanted nothing to do with.
I was dragging and getting up Mt Flora took ages. The way down wasn't any easier. Large rock fields are exhausting.
Silly rocks, that is not a trail.
Finally the rocks ended and then it was just a lot of forest and mosquitoes. Down for ages into a short bit of dirt roads and atv's then right back up again into steep mountainside. Right at dark I finally tucked into a little slanted spot. Set the tent up right in time for a thunderstorm, pretty much to be expected.
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