Friday, August 28, 2020

Day 19- Mad Dash Into Monarch Pass

Friday August 28, 2020
Alpine Lake(alt 70) to Monarch Pass(78.1) 8.1mi
Total miles: 304.3
Elevation 11,302ft

Last night was rough. I had very few options of where I could setup camp. All of them were less than ideal. I tried to make due with the options I had available, but I ended up on a very slanted site. I was pleased with myself for eating all of my dinner. The water I collected from the lake had a very funny taste to it and was difficult to drink. After I ate dinner I settled down for the evening. As I was writing my blog my stomach was not happy. I tried to focus on keeping my meal down. I learned on the CDT that at high elevation I develop elevation induced asthma. It’s not as serious as it sounds, I just develop a dry cough. The wildfire smoke has not helped matters. Around 11:30pm I began coughing more violently than normal. All of the coughing forced my dinner to come back up. Then I continued coughing until I strained my back. The only thing I could do to ease my coughing was to drink the off-tasting lake water. Yeah, it was not a very pleasant evening. As I coughed, puked, and slid off of my sleeping pad all night. It probably goes without saying that I didn’t get much sleep. 

Beautiful high elevation camp

It was easy to get up and get going this morning. I was up way before my 5:30 alarm and looking forward to reaching Monarch Pass. My best friend Jess was meeting me there and we are spending the day together in the town of Salida. I told her I wouldn’t be there until 11am at the earliest. She is section running the Colorado Trail and has been on the road since Monday, sleeping in her car and running the trail. I figured I would see her running towards me at some point. I was surprised when I made it to her car at Monarch Pass and still didn’t see her. I was over an hour early, so I went into the store there and drank a few gatorades. I had just made it back outside to her car when she got back from her run. She had accidentally run southbound instead of northbound. Her trail name is now, Wanderlost. She had a cooler full of cold drinks which is the perfect way to pick up a thruhiker off of a trail. 

8 miles hiking on the actual divide

The hike into Monarch Pass was beautiful. I spent almost the entire eight miles hiking on the Continental Divide. I saw three other thruhikers, who all flew past me, trying to make it into town before the rain started. Just as Jess and I were getting ready to head into town Flaming Hot showed up. He has only been a few miles behind me this entire stretch. 

Monarch Ski Area

I found Luke

Once we arrived in the town of Salida I went straight to the PO to pick up my resupply package. It has been nice to get to town and not have to deal with the stress of resupplying. I dealt with that stress before I left for the trail. Then we hit up Soulcraft Brewery to have a snack and beer while we made our plans. I found a hotel for Jess and I, while Flaming Hot made plans with his friend Honeymoon to stay at a hostel. We all went to Walmart to pick up a few things. My headphones stopped working this morning so I had to buy a new pair. Talk about perfect timing. I would have been mad if they had broken yesterday or a few days ago. I really enjoy audiobooks and podcasts while hiking. Jess and I went back to our hotel to do laundry and shower. We both got in phone calls to our parents and I sorted my resupply. 

Snack at the brewery

Once all of my town chores were taken care of we went out for dinner. The restaurant we wanted to go to had gone out of business. We found a place called The Boathouse Cantina. We were able to get a seat at the bar for dinner. It was the first time since Covid that I have sat at a bar. Dinner was delicious. After not being able to eat on trail it felt great to finally eat. I forgot to get a picture before we ate everything. We shared jalapeƱo poppers, duck tacos, and a burger. I was absolutely stuffed at the end of our meal. 

The remnants of our dinner

Ice cream and margarita for dessert

Tomorrow I’ll get back on trail, hopefully at a decent time, and Jess will continue her CT running trip. It was great to have a friend come to support me while on trail. She brought me a different pair of shoes, a water filter, and some leukotape. I can’t wait to switch back to my Altra Lone Peaks. I’m glad I tried the Timps, but they just don’t work as well for me. I’ll be using a combination of bleach and a Sawyer filter for the next section. I know I’ll be hiking through some cattle land and the Sawyer is better suited for crappy water. Thanks WanderLost for making the trip up to see me! 

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
– Unknown



  1. I’m glad you found “Luke.” I’m really happy Wanderlost got turned around and headed in the right direction. I’m sure it was nice to have a few hours on the trail together. It’s amazing that family & friends have met up with you during your hiking adventures. Hopefully, switching back to sawyer filter makes a difference. Enjoyed our chat, hope the chaffing and coughing get better. Keep heading in the direction of homešŸ˜˜

  2. A rough night followed by a very nice day.

  3. "Wanderlost" What a great trail name! Hope she pointed you in the right direction toward home! Be safe!

  4. Glad you’re enjoying your hike and have friends around to be with on and off trail! Great pic of you and Jess! You both look great and probably felt great to after shower clean clothes a drink and some hot food!

  5. Looks like your stomach problems resolved themselves - yay!!! Glad you had a great town day with friends!