21.3 miles hiked, Camping at collegiate west loop 56.5 @ 11929ft
The important things that must be done this morning before we get on trail- get coffee and find wifi somewhere so I can download a new book. I’m going through books so quickly and they are horribily expensive so I’ll have to figure out some new motivation for all the hill climbing.
I find both wifi and coffee at a great little roastery, the kind that sells beard oil at the register next to the gluten free muffins. Because beard oil and coffee are like peas and carrots.
Books and podcasts loaded, I collect my pack and Grizzly from the room. Yogi has decided to jump onto the eastern loop with Frankitoe (our other roommate ) as there are hot springs coming up on that side. Smart man.
It doesn’t take long to get a hitch, this time it’s 3 brothers heading out for a little camping. They jump out and check out the views from the pass, and one rolls us a joint to take with us. The trail provides!
I’m impressed with how early it is for a town start – we are hiking by 9am. It definitely is a very exposed section. The wind is crazy – I clip my hat to my pack so it doesn’t blow off, I pull my buff over my head and earphones so they don’t fly away, and I fiddle incessantly with the excess lengths on my pack straps that keep whipping my face.
No trees to rest under today, just perching on the edge of the skinny trail in the rocks. Up down up down up down. It’s hard going but we are fuelled by thousands of town calories and a good sleep and are making good time. I like this kind of hiking better than 1 giant climb for the day followed by 1 giant down. At the top of one ridge we are faced with a steep snow chute on the other side. A few feeble slippery steps then I say stuff it, sit on my bum and slide the rest of the way down. Wheeeee!!! Wet bum and giant wedgie totally worth it.
There are valleys and rocks and marmots and pikas and rocks and marmots and climbs and valleys. We hike through a section of rocks that glimmer like silver. So cool! I wonder if everyone that hikes here thinks the rocks just look like silver and ignores them, when in fact it is real silver and we are all just a bit dumb.
We reach our tentative mileage for the day, but as we are still very high, hiking on steep slopes and around so many rocks, there is nowhere flat to camp. Crap. I don’t wanna hike mooooore! I have a 3 second inner tantrum, eat some sour patch kids, turn up my tunes, and do the only thing that can be done – hike.
We end up hiking another 2 or so miles. Any miles that by necessity have to be hiked beyond your chosen mileage should definitely count as triple miles. So…we hiked another ‘6’ 😉
We settle on a little spot just big enough for the little tent off the side of the trail where a railway line used to be. It’s still windy as we cook dinner, but it calms down just in time for bed. Today was tough but goooood hiking. A long day for a late start!