Grand Lake(1365) to Bowen Creek( 1394.5)
Total Miles: 2,734.5
Elevation: 10,220 ft
Last nights lack of sleep, my being completely dehydrated, the increase in elevation, and my total lack of motivation made for a very difficult day. I decided to skip hiking the official cdt in Rocky Mountain National Park. I didn’t think that I could hike all 26 miles before dark with my late start. Instead I hiked a few side trails in the park, creating my own unofficial loop. I didn’t leave the hostel until after ten thirty. I hiked the official cdt for about four miles before I split off to hike my own alternate. The trail in the park was nicely maintained and graded very well. Even with the nice trail I struggled to make miles. I climbed up to 10,000 feet in elevation almost immediately. I definitely haven’t been that high since the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I felt off balance all day long. My body seems to think that it no longer has to cooperate with my mind since it has already hiked to Canada. I struggled to convince it to play nicely. I had zero energy and no matter what I tried I couldn’t find any motivation. The scenery was very ho-hum as well, so that didn’t help to improve my mood. I resigned myself to the fact that it would be a very long day.
Idyllic stream in RMNP
Big mountains ahead
I enjoyed creating my own trail and getting off of the beaten path. I was surprised by how many day hikers I came across. I figured since Labor Day weekend had come and gone the park wouldn’t be as busy. Most of the people I talked to had no idea what the CDT was. A few of the people I met just assumed I was out on a day hike as well. It was like they had never heard of backpacking before. I would think that my pack would be a giant indicator that I wasn’t just out for a few hours. I hiked through several trailhead parking lots. They all had trash cans and I deposited my snack wrappers at each and everyone. I also took full advantage of two privies along my route.
Nearing the headwaters of the Colorado
I could see some very big mountains in the distance and I knew that I would have to climb up and over one of them. I knocked out the first ten miles of the day relatively quickly, but I struggled for the last ten. I was stopping every two to three miles. I’m hoping that my body readjusts to the altitude quickly, but I think that by the time I’m adjusted thus victory tour will be over. I had left over pizza for lunch today. It was one of the few times this entire trail that I have packed out town food. Since I wasn’t very hungry, due to elevation and dehydration, I decided to save the pizza for dinner. I went through most of my snacks late in the day. I was hoping that my returning appetite meant that I was getting rehydrated. Late in the day I had to make a critical decision. I had to hike another three miles and almost 2,500 feet of elevation or stop well before sunset. I didn’t relish the thought of camping above 11,000 feet, so I decided to stop early. That will make for a more difficult day tomorrow, but I think I made the right decision to stop early. I’m used to the sun setting at 8:30, but in Colorado it sets at 7:30. I made camp, collected water, ate my pizza, and wrote yesterday’s blog before it got dark.
Strange tree stump artistry in the woods
Exited RMNP and entered the Never Summer Wilderness
Too nice of s campsite to walk past
View from camp
I really hope that tomorrow is a better day. I might not have my high elevation lungs anymore, but I am a Jedi Master now. I’m pretty sure I can push through this difficulty and finish strong.
“With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.”
- Zig Ziglar