Friday, June 29, 2018

Days 74-76 Family Time

Wednesday June 27, 2018
Miner Creek(1228.4) to Gold Hill TH(1233.5) 5.1
Total Miles: 1305.1
Elevation: 9,700 feet

Before I get started on the last few days I wanted to give a shoutout to Anita Watts. She is preparing to go on a hike in Ireland. Anita has been a great supporter of mine and I wanted to wish her luck before she goes. Anita, have a blast in Ireland. I can’t wait to hear all about it

I stayed nice and warm last night. It has been a nice change to have a few nights of every week where this happens. I was so excited to see my Aunt and Uncle today that I didn’t even hit the snooze button, another rare thing on this trail. My back was extremely tight and I thought I might need extra time to make it to our meeting spot on time. The force was with me and I shouldn’t have worried. The trail was pretty easy and I made it there with two minutes to spare. As luck would have it BFG and School House Rock(my Aunt and Uncle) were also two minutes early. Turtle and I were greeted with coffee and pastries. BFG and School House Rock(SHR) were given nice big stinky hugs. 

Burn area

Logging area 

Not exactly a scenic morning

As Turtle and I ate our pastries and drank our coffee a few other hikers showed up. We had a few extra pastries so we shared. Shortly after our first breakfast BFG and SHR whisked us away to the town of Breckenridge. BFG has done some early scouting and found a restaurant with the highest reviewed breakfast burrito in town. They know me so well. I ordered something called the hangover burrito. It was a giant burrito with chorizo, eggs, hash browns, and corn beef hash inside, topped with green chili hash. It was huge and delicious. I couldn’t even finish it. 

Hangover Burrito

With food taken care of we went back to the hotel. By hiker standards this place was like the Ritz Carlton. Turtle and I took turns taking a shower and then did laundry. We showered in BFG and SHR’s room while we waited for our check in. I didn’t want to stink up their room with my nasty shoes, so I did what any normal person would do.... I put them in the dishwasher. I figured a dishwasher must be an airtight system. It seemed to have worked.

Great way to contain smells

SHR has thought of everything when it came to our laundry needs. She brought us clothes to wear so we could wash everything. Not only did she remember the laundry detergent, but also thought to bring quarters. While the laundry was going BFG, SHR, and I had a wonderful visit. I haven’t seen them since we were in Rome together last summer. We had a lot to catch up on. Once laundry was done we went in search of lunch. We ended up at Breckenridge Brewery right next door to the hotel. I first discovered this brewery in Tampa, FL. They have an amazing Vanilla Porter and I was excited to visit the brewery. I had a 50/50 burger, sorry I forgot to take a picture. The patty was 50% beef and 50% bacon. It was served with a whole avocado, carmelized onions, and a shiracha mayo. I was in heaven. Since I was feeling a little dehydrated I decided to order a 5oz vanilla porter. I thought that was a sensible decision. After lunch we retired to our own rooms to nap. I was pretty dang tired, but just couldn’t fall asleep. I was feeling a little off. I just chalked it up to eating too much food. Once BFG and SHR woke up, BFG drove us to the store to resupply. I think it is safe to say after 2.5 long distance trails I have this down to a science. I’m hopeful that this time around I managed to buy just the right amount of food. I even bought a few treats to have in the room for the next few days. I have been lacking in the Häagen-Dazs department on this trail. 

They were out of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Buzz Buzz

Once back to the hotel I went upstairs to visit with BFG and SHR. The college World Series was on, so we watched that while we visited. SHR and BFG are from Omaha, Nebraska were they play the college World Series. Arkansas really screwed up and lost the game on an easy play that would have won them the series. It was heartbreaking to watch. 

Living the life at a Residence Inn

In retrospect I should have realized that something was wrong that night. My appetite was slightly off, I couldn’t nap, and when I did get up I was chilled. After the game was over I retired to my room for bed, but once again sleep eluded me. It took me hours before I drifted off. I woke up in the morning stoked for a zero day with family. We met for a nice hot breakfast in the lobby. Most people might not have been too impressed by the continental breakfast being offered, but Turtle and I were pleased. We are used to getting cereal and a muffin if we are lucky. The Residents Inn had a waffle maker(I could almost leave it at that), eggs, sausage, bacon, hot cereal, regular cereal, muffins, pastries, bagels, fruit, iced coffee, juices, and regular coffee with flavored syrups as an option. I was a happy hiker. After stuffing myself I went to the room to organize my food. I wanted to ensure that I didn’t overlook anything. SHR and I went to do a little window shopping, but mainly we just wanted a change of scenery while we chatted away. Turtle snuck away to get his haircut and neck beard trimmed. BFG wandered the streets, probably making new friends. My uncle can’t take more than a few steps without becoming best friends with everyone in the vicinity. SHR was feeling the lack of oxygen that comes from being at 10,000 feet. I left her parked in a chair while I went in search of a new pair of Darn Tough socks. I don’t need them now, but I can send them home with SHR and BFG for my parents to pick up on their way to see me next month. I spotted Turtle in the barber shop. I tried to convince his hair stylist to shave a giant T in the back of his head, but she didn’t go for it. I found my socks at a great outfitters called, Mountain Outfitter. If you find yourself in Breckenridge and need some hiking supplies check them out. 

Cute old Victorian house turned into a store

Right around this point in my story I really should have know something was wrong. We all met back up for lunch and I was the only one who wasn’t hungry. I decided to order my lunch togo, while everyone else ate their food enthusiastically. My stomach was really upset and I had no energy. I thought I just overate at breakfast. 

Mad selfie skills

Park and river area

After lunch we strolled around by the park and river. I was just exhausted and really just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. The river and park area didn’t really seem to hold anyone’s attention so we returned to the hotel shortly later. We all decided that naps were in order. Once again I just couldn’t sleep. I laid in bed for almost 3 hours. When I finally got up to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s room I felt pretty horrible. I was running a low grade fever and just felt off.  I didn’t feel horribly sick, but I didn’t feel well. With the baseball game on in the background and me bundled up in bed, we visited some more. Turtle stayed behind in my room and luxuriated in some alone time, a real treat on the trail. I’m not sure what caused my abrupt change in health. My stomach was upset, but nothing horrible. I had a temperature, but it was very low grade. I had no other symptoms that anything was really badly wrong. I started to think I might need another day of rest and perhaps to see a doctor. We finished watching the ball game and I returned to my room. Turtle was still awake, probably due to his five hour nap, but all I wanted was to sleep. Once again I tossed and turned for hours. Finally I got up and took some ibuprofen. I should have done that earlier. Once my fever was reduced I fell right asleep. I slept soundly until the morning. 

Yoda, School House Rock, and BFG during our afternoon stroll 

I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt this morning. I got up and took a hot shower before going down for breakfast. I was still a little shaky and kind of sweaty. I wasn’t sure how much of that was from skipping lunch, dinner, and the hot shower. I had a bagel with sausage for breakfast and that seemed to go down ok. Ultimately I decided that I just didn’t have any energy and another zero day was in order. No since going off into the backcountry feeling less than 100% if I didn’t have to. SHR and BFG were awesome. They agreed that we should spend another day together and that I should rest. Turtle had skipped breakfast because he was, you guessed it, still sleeping. After breakfast all I really wanted to do was sleep, but Turtle was awake by then and I couldn’t get to sleep right away. Finally I managed to drift off for a little bit. I think I slept for a few hours before I heard Turtle in the bathroom taking a bath. After that I was up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Dang it! All I wanted to do was sleep! I was so frustrated I could almost have cried. 

BFG and SHR left me to my own devices so that I could rest. They went to check lake Dillion. I’m glad they had a good time. Since I couldn’t get any sleep I decided to catch up on watching WestWorld. I knocked out an episode before Turtle went to lunch. While he was gone I managed to get another nap in and I finally started to feeling better. I think just maybe my body was saying that it needed some more rest. As the day progressed and I got a little bit more sleep here and there I felt better. Turtle was nice enough to pick me up something for lunch on his way back to the hotel. As I ate I watched another few episodes of West World. 

Once BFG and SHR came back from the lake and took naps I went upstairs to check in. They suggested we go for dinner if I was up to it. I was feeling much better, but not very hungry. I went along to stretch my legs and keep them company. Turtle was hungry again and finally ready to leave the room. We went to a pizza shop about half a mile away. They all seemed to enjoy their dinner and I was happy for the fresh air. We had a pleasant evening out. When we returned to the hotel I went upstairs to hangout with my Aunt and Uncle while Turtle chilled in my room. I think he has enjoyed being lazy for three days. There might just be a Turtle sized impression permanently lodged in the bed. 

I’m feeling much better as I write this blog. Whatever was going on has seemed to have run its course. I’m especially greatful for such an amazing visit with my Aunt and Uncle. Ever since I was born my Aunt has always made an effort to be there for me. As soon as my Uncle joined the family he has embraced me as well. For my entire life they have never missed a Christmas or special family event. I have always been able to count on them to take a huge interest in my life. On the Appalachian Trail they drove from Nebraska to New Hampshire just to visit me on the trail. I’m glad this visit was a little closer to home for them. I can never thank them enough for playing such a special role in my life. 

“Relax and refuse to let worry and stress rule your life. There is always a solution to every problem. Things will work out for you when you take time to relax, refresh, restore and recharge your soul.”
- Lailah Gifty Akita

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Day 73- A Tale of Two Climbs

Tuesday June 26, 2018
E Fork Eagle River(1203.4) to Miner Creek(1228.4)
25 Miles
Total Miles: 1300
Elevation: 10,556 feet

I slept pretty well last night. The night started off really warm. I woke up a little before midnight and couldn’t get right back to sleep. I ate a snickers bar and gazed at the stars. Within minutes I was asleep again. I only had 25 miles to hike again today, but they looked like hard miles so I didn’t allow myself to sleep in. I was camped next to a group campground last night. I took full advantage of the privy before hiking out. My knee was sore and swollen, but fully functional. My back was a different story. It was really tight and I was a little concerned about how I would hold up. I did what I always do when I have an injury, pop some vitamin I and ignore it. That strategy has served me well in the past. The first few miles of the day were really cold. Camp was located in a valley and next to a body of water. I had started off without my puffy in preparation of my first climb. I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t start for a few miles. I was hiking slowly to allow my back a chance to loosen up. I was rather chilly for the first thirty minutes. 

Cool looking clouds. I thought it looked like a dome

The story of today was that I had two really big climbs. One to start the day and another to end the day. Ever since leaving Lake City, each day has thrown more elevation change my way. I thought that my injuries would slow me down, but I knocked out the first climb in my usual fashion. It was a rather enjoyable hike. The early part was in the trees with the last little bit taking place above tree line. 

First nearly 3,000 foot climb

Last little push before the top

Baby, don’t you want to go... Kokomo Pass

The rest of the morning and afternoon I would slowly lose all of the elevation that I had just gained. The hike was spectacular though. I went up and down little hills and hiked next to a river as well. The down ended up being more challenging than usual. I had to watch every step because of my angry knee and my back felt every step. I was glad when the trail leveled out for awhile. I came across 16 SoBo Colorado Trail hikers today. I seem to be in the SoBo CT bubble. I also came across six people on mountain bikes. I was amazed to see what they were able to ride up. Some of the terrain was really steep, but they kept peddling away. I also ran into two trail maintainers, Dave and Bob. We chatted for a few minutes and Dave offered to pack out my trash. Score! I have been able to get rid of most of my trash everyday on this section. 

Dave and Bob

On my way down the pass

Wildflowers really going off

Mt Valhalla in the distance(such a cool mountain name)

Healthiest forest I’ve seen in a while 

A few miles before I was to begin my other giant climb, I began hiking around the Copper Mountain ski resort. From most of the mountain I could hear and see Interstate 70. I much prefer the solitude of my home mountain, Telluride. I do enjoy hiking on ski mountains though. 

Chairlift. Big mountain range in the background is my other climb for the day

The closer I got to the base of Cooper Mountain the more it dawned on me that I might be able to get lunch there. Unlike Monarch Crest, this resort looked like it was still open for the summer. I asked a passing CT hiker if they had gone down the mountain and gotten food. Her response almost made me do something violent. She rudely told me that she wasn’t out here for food and town stops. She came out to enjoy the mountains. I simply responded with, “let me know how that works out for you after 1,300 miles of hiking. Oh, yeah you are only hiking 450 miles. Have a good hike.” I think I came out the winner of that verbal exchange. As it turned out the trail went right by the resort. I walked less than three tenths of a mile to get a burger and a beer. I think this is the first time in 1,300 miles that I have gotten lunch on trail! 

Quick lunch break

Stopping at Copper Mountain Ski Resort for lunch only set me back an hour. Although once I started climbing a giant mountain I slightly regretted my decision. I should have given myself some time to digest that burger. To say my stomach was upset would be a massive understatement. Today was also the hottest day I’ve had since I’ve been back in Colorado. It took me slightly longer than forever to climb that damn mountain. 

Climb #2 

After leaving the resort I hiked around their golf course. I wouldn’t like to play there. Interstate 70 seemed to surround most of the course. Our golf course in Telluride has amazing views and very few roads. 

Yellow tee box at Copper Mt

Copper Mt. Resort

It took me almost three hours to hike up the mountain. That might be the slowest I’ve ever gone uphill. Eventually I made it to the top and I could see the Breckinridge Ski Resort. The front range of Colorado definitely isn’t lacking for ski resorts. By the time I started down the mountain my knee and back were very stiff and sore. I made sure to watch every step so as to not hurt my knee again. There was nothing I could do about my back except to take my time. About halfway down I hit a really large snowfield, but with some creative route finding I was able to avoid walking in it. 

Quarter mile snow field 

Looking back down on Copper

View of Breckinridge 

Pretty flowers

More wildflowers

I found a place to camp five miles before the road to Breckinridge. I’ll be meeting my Aunt and Uncle at a trailhead first thing in the morning. I think after Mt. Elbert and today’s hard climbs I’ll really enjoy my nero and zero day. After setting up camp I made the mile marker for 1,300 miles hiked. I celebrated with a nip of Crown Royal whiskey. All in all today was another good day! 

1,300 miles down, 1,500 to go 

 "Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." 
- John Milton

Day 72- Mundane Monday

Monday June 25, 2018
East of Bald Eagle Mt(1178.4) to E Fork Eagle River(1203.4) 
25 Miles
Total Miles: 1275

Since I only had to hike twenty five miles today I slept in. I didn’t get up until 6:30 and I started hiking at seven. I was surprised that my legs were sore this morning. I guess doing over 7,000 feet of elevation gain yesterday did me in. My legs haven’t been sore in a very long time. It took me awhile to really warm up and get into a groove. Most of the day was spent hiking in the forest. It reminded me a lot of hiking in Oregon. Other than one climb early in the day, the trail was very mellow. 

Cruising through the forest 

Every once in awhile I would pop out into the open and get a quick view before heading back into the trees. There were a lot of tiny mountain streams and those reminded me out the Appalachian Trail. To be frank, I was bored for most of the day. I think that was to be expected after ascending Mt. Elbert yesterday. Today just couldn’t compare. I enjoyed being back amongst the trees, but I just felt slightly off today. I really had to focus to stay present and try to enjoy the hike. Sometimes I managed, and other times I did not. 

Quick break from the forest

Holy Trinity Wilderness 

It must be prime hiking season for the Colorado Trail. I saw more southbound thruhikers today than ever before. I lost count after thirteen. I really didn’t take the time to talk to most of them. It was usually just a quick hello, or a how ya doin. There were also a lot of day hikers and over night backpackers out. I like to see the locals taking advantage of their local trails. This area of Colorado really gets a lot of use. I’m only a few hours away from Denver, which makes this popular for locals and tourists alike the trail has been beautifully maintained for the last hundred miles or so. Almost every single major water crossing has had a log bridge over it. I can’t tell you how nice it is to keep my feet dry. 

Yay! bridge

Around mid afternoon I was walking through a marshy area full of mosquitoes. The trail was a little rocky through there as well. I had a biting fly take a chunk out of my wrist. With that I lost my concentration and took a bad step. My bad knee buckled and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the ground. I don’t think it is too serious of an injury. I was able to keep hiking, but my knee is swollen and a little sore. To make things more interesting, I also tweaked my back. The remainder of the miles for the day came slow with a lot of breaks thrown in. To add insult to injury, my hand swelled up to almost double its usual size from the fly bite. At least the trail was very easy for the rest of the afternoon. I would have been in serious trouble if I had had any major descents. At the next water crossing I soaked my hand in the icy water and took some vitamin I(hiker slang for ibuprofen). The swelling in my hand went down so that I could at least make a fist. It should be fine tomorrow. I had almost the same thing happen on the pct. The swelling went away completely by the next day. I just hope my back feels better tomorrow. 

It really was a beautiful day

Well marked trail 

I was able to unload my trash again today. I came across a CT hiker at a trailhead called, Tennessee Pass. He had his care with him, so I decided to just out right ask him if he would take my trash. I was thrilled when he said yes. I meet two CDT hikers at the trailhead as well. One of them, a guy named Hercules, knows 2 bad Dogz. Just more proof of how interconnected the hiking community is. Towards the end of the day I hit a weird section of trail. It was weird for multiple reasons. First, since it is below 10,000 feet the terrain was more high desert than alpine. I haven’t seen high desert terrain in awhile. Secondly, I kept seeing signs indicating that I should not wander off of the trail. The US military uses to use this area for munitions testing. I guess there might be some old unexplored ordinances in the area. 

Kind of unique

Old storage area


I made into it camp before 6:30pm. It felt great to sit down, but it also didn’t take long to begin stiffening up. I cooked and ate quickly. I took some more vitamin I and started on my blog. As I’m writing this I’m falling asleep. I hope I feel better in the morning. 

"Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer." - Denis Waitley

Monday, June 25, 2018

Day 71- I’m On Top Of The World

Sunday June 24, 2018
Randy’s Campsite(1162.6) to East of Bald Eagle Mountain(1178.4) + Mt Elbert 
Daily Miles: 20.1 Miles
Total Miles: 1250

* Mt. Elbert added 3,900 feet of elevation gain and loss

Today was such a super, fantastic, spectacular, wonderful, awe inspiring, awesome day. I feel like I could throw in a few more adjectives, but I think you get the point. The day didn’t start off very well though. I woke up at 12:26am. I wasn’t sure at first what caused me to come to so fully. It took about 30 seconds for my mind to process the fact that it was raining. I just laid there for a few seconds before my instincts kicked in. As soon as I lifted my head my inflatable pillow blew away. I quickly scrambled out of my sleeping bag to retrieve it. In the process I stepped on something with my bare foot and slashed my foot open. I grasped my sleeping pad and bag and hurried over to Randy’s camper. It had a large awning and I threw my stuff down and got into my sleeping bag. I laid there for a few minutes imagining how wet the rest of my stuff was getting. I finally decided to get up and bring everything under cover. Of course by then it had stopped raining. It was a very brief shower that I could have waited out. After all of the excitement I was wide awake and it took me forever to go back to sleep. Turtle and Brightside were also cowboy camping, but they never moved a muscle. 

I had my alarm set for 5:15, so I could get an early start on climbing Mt. Elbert. As I was packing up Randy came out of his camper. He couldn’t sleep so he cooked Turtle and I breakfast burritos and even had coffee ready for us. What a great guy! I decided to take mine togo, but Turtle stayed behind to eat his. We had a short walk to get back on trail. I only had to hike a few miles before I was at the Elbert trailhead. I was a little worried about how I was going to hike Mt. Elbert and make it to Breckinridge on time to meet my Aunt and Uncle. I decided to text them to see if I could push the date back a day. If not I was prepared to skip Elbert. When I turned on my phone I had a text message from my Aunt suggesting that we push things back so I had more time. I love that they had anticipated my needs! Turtle had caught up to me and I told him we would have a more leisurely schedule into Breckinridge. He was relieved as well. 

Mt. Elbert was going to be a strenuous hike. Over 3.8 miles we would gain 3,900 feet in elevation. The hike wasn’t technical, but it did test my strength and endurance. Other thruhikers told us to expect the hike to the summit to take three hours. If you know me you won’t be surprised to hear me say that I wanted to beat that time. The first part of the hike took us through a beautiful aspen filled forest. I was in heaven. The first 2,000 feet of the climb went by quickly. 

Aspen lined trail

We were both carrying full packs. Ideally we would have slackpacked(not carried everything in our packs, just food, water, and rain gear) but that wasn’t an option. I always get a kick out of blowing past day hikers. They have either tiny packs with water or no packs. Since hiking is my full time job, I’m able to hike past them as if they are standing still. I’m not saying anything bad about dayhikers. I applaud the fact that they are out here in nature. I’m just pleased that I am so strong. Since it was a weekend we passed by a lot of day hikers. The trail was really busy. I stopped about halfway up for a short break. I was feeling great, but I wanted to really take everything in. 

View of Mt. Massive(another 14’er) check out all of the wildflowers 

The climb became much steeper after the break. Around 13,000 feet I felt like I was sucking in oxygen through a cocktail straw. Cardiovascularly I was holding up, but my leg muscles kept letting me know that they weren’t getting enough oxygen. I made it to the summit in just over 2.5 hours. There were a ton of people up there, but most of them left shortly after summiting. I practically had the mountain to myself for about five minutes. It was pretty chilly at the top, but not as bad as when I was on Mt. Whitney on the pct. Coincidentally today marked the two year anniversary of my Mt. Whitney summit. Apparently June 24th is when I climb 14,000 foot peaks! 

Semi Yoda pose 

Turtle arrived about 30 minutes behind me. We celebrated with a little nip of Jack Daniels whiskey and a snickers bar. I was glad that we were able to add this into our schedule. It was a highlight of this trip for me. We spent close to an hour on the top before deciding to head back down. Neither of us liked the looks of the clouds rolling in. 

Rare picture including both of us

Turtle looking serious

My peak finder app couldn’t keep up with all of the visible peaks

There are 10 14’ers pictured here. This is the Collegiate Mountain range that I hiked through the last few days

More peaks


Better Yoda pose

I really wasn’t looking forward to the hike down. I pride myself on my ability to climb uphill, but I’m pretty terrible with going down. My knees start to ache and I tend to slip a lot. This was really going to test me. The first three miles were very steep and the incoming clouds finally let loose. It began to snow/sleet on us within minutes of leaving the summit. On the brightside, snow is better than rain. At one point it was snowing horizontally, due to the wind. It was really a beautiful sight. 

Elbert summit with scary looking clouds

Trying to capture the snow in this picture. Kind of hard to see

It seemed to take forever to get into the safety of the trees. At one point I slipped, but I landed on my back so my pack took the blow. I dusted myself off and kept hiking. A few minutes later I noticed that my phone was gone. Oh, crap. It must have flown out of its pocket when I fell. I dropped my pack and began to climb back up. Everything looked the same. I couldn’t quite tell where I fell at. I scanned the side of the trail as I hiked back up. After a few minutes I began to panic. I just couldn’t tell where I went down and I really was losing hope that I would find it. Just when I had completely lost hope I saw it. Disaster avoided. I have insurance on my phone and could easily get a new one for free, but I would have lost about a month of pictures. That would have been horrible. I don’t post everything I take everyday on my blog. I did learn a valuable lesson, next time I fall I’ll check to make sure I don’t lose anything. I’m also going to upgrade my iCloud storage so all of my pictures are backed up in the cloud. 

Safely below tree line

About the time we made it back to the cdt the weather improved. Turtle and I took a quick break to figure out how many more miles to do for the rest of the day. We decided on a campsite about 10 miles away. Turtle noticed an area on the trail that had dumpsters. We agreed that it would be a treat to get rid of the 3 or 4 wrappers we were carrying. This decision ended up becoming one of my favorite things about today. When we couldn’t find the dumpsters we asked a few people in the Mt. Massive trailhead parking lot. They didn’t know exactly where they were at, but once they found out we were thruhiking they offered to take our trash we ended up chatting with them for over an hour. They offered us beer, I declined but Turtle accepted. The mother and son duo were awesome people(sorry I forgot your names). The mom is hiking Kilimanjaro in a few weeks. After that she and her son will be hiking in France. Climbing Mt. Massive was a training hike for them. They both drove over two hours to meet up and do the hike. Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado. As we were chatting, two nice women from Grand Junction finished their Massive hike. It turns out that they are also training to hike Kilimanjaro in October. One of the women works once a month as a Radiologic Technologist at the med center in Telluride. A job that I might do this winter. We had a lovely talk and I’m sad to say that I also forgot their names. I also failed to get a picture. I think my mind was still befuddled from the Elbert hike. Chatting with such awesome people in a random parking lot is what really makes long distance hiking unique. I meet such rad people all of the time. If you guys are reading this, send me an email. I’d love to hear about your trips. 

I briefly toyed with the thought of climbing Mt. Massive today as well. In the end I didn’t have the energy for another 6 miles round trip and 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Turtle and I hiked together today longer than we have in a long time. We never got more than a few miles apart. I made it into camp earlier than I have in a long while. It was nice to have all of my camp chores done before dark for a change. 

Few more pictures from today: 

Almost to the top. Can you see all of the people making their way up

High elevation emerald lake

Look at all of those mountains

Another panoramic 

I’m cowboy camping again tonight. Let’s hope for a better ending. 

"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey." 
- Kenji Miyazawa