23.7 miles hiked, camping @ 10315ft
After a big day yesterday we aren’t so pushed to do miles and can take our time packing up. I decide to make coffee, and I’m slowly getting my things in their special order, when it starts to rain. Seriously?? There aren’t many clouds in the sky, but apparently the one crappy one is right above our tent. I frantically dash about shoving things into my pack, and finally get back to my now luke warm coffee. Bah.
Packed up, we hike off along the top of the mountain and into pine trees, and pass a fairly recent cow carcass on the trail, less than a mile from where we camped. Not a very settling sight considering either a) something large and scary (that says meow) killed it or b) something large and scary (meow) would smell it and be hanging around this area.
We pass through the Lagunitas campground, which is a little bit of a surreal moment. A sobo hiker went missing in a snow storm late last year, and was found at this campground by early nobos this year. It was very sad and very scary that such a reportedly experienced hiker would pass away in this fashion, but a reality check I suppose that these are very remote areas we hike in, and we are at the mercy of mother nature and her storms or heat or whatever she chooses to throw at us. We find a place in the upper campground to spread out the wet tent and eat an inadequate handful of things before hiking on.
The usual storm clouds collect above, and I pull on all my raingear, put in my headphones and march on through the pine forest. I find Grizzly stopped at the edge of a meadow where he saw a herd of 30 odd elk. Bugger! Damn my slow short legs that always miss these things!
We hike on very quietly, and I spot 3 female elk (cows) and shortly thereafter a beautiful big bull elk! Gorgeous!
The clouds are collecting above but there seems to be nothing flat to camp on when I look up into some trees above our last river crossing and see a tent! Tigerlilly! We met him at Ghost Ranch – a CDT section hiker heading to twin lakes. He is completing around 500 miles a year until it’s all done. There’s a small space that we manage to squeeze into, set up, and all sit together for dinner and chatting.
Such a nice end to the day. 0.9 miles to the Colorado border!!!