Continuing my unabridged trail journal entries for the solo portion of my through hike
Day 8, 7/1: Segment 6 mile 19 to Horseshoe Gulch. ~9 miles, 1500′ gain
“Today I took a much-needed shorter day, only a little over 9 miles. My feet are definitely feeling the stress, and I took it nice and slow since I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere. Tomorrow my mom is meeting me in Breckenridge for resupply, laundry, shower, etc. I’m hoping to get some lunch out of it, too. I’ll do four miles, get into town around 11, then hopefully back on the trail at 3 or 4 to do about five more miles. I’m excited to start Segment 7, especially nice and clean with fresh clothes.”
Day 9, 7/2: Horseshoe Gulch to Miners Creek. 9 miles, 1850′ gain
“Today was a great day! I had a nice, leisurely hike down four miles into Breck. Weather was great and I arrived at the Gold Hill trail head early. Mom came a few minutes after 11 and took me to the rec center for a shower. It felt incredible to scrub away everything from the last 8 days, wash my hair, and put on a fresh, comfortable outfit. I dried my hair and weighed myself – I’ve lost five pounds. Not great, but I’ll try to eat more – which will be easy considering the huge amount of food I got today. After my shower I went to the laundromat and Mom produced a lunch she had made of potato salad and peach tapioca with iced tea. It tasted great! After the clothes were done, I changed into a clean hiking outfit and picked up a few things at City Market and then returned to the trail. Mom walked for a bit with me, and just as she was about to turn around I got a text from Tony – he was just getting on the trail, too. My mom said hi to him on her way down, haha. The 4.8 mile hike up from Miners Creek trail was pretty difficult. My backpack is filled to capacity and I’m guessing it weighs about 50 pounds now. It definitely hurts. But I feel refreshed. Had a good dinner and nice evening in camp with a fire – it’s good to be back with my trail friend. Tough day ahead tomorrow with a climb over the Tenmile range, but it should be beautiful.”
The information sign at the Gold Hill trailhead had a lovely reminder of why I was there
Day 10, 7/3: Miners Creek to Segment 8 mile 5. 13.2 miles, 2950′ gain
“Today certainly was tough, but wow! A steady climb out of camp led to the first serious snow I’ve encountered, which was mostly manageable. In three miles I topped out on the Tenmile, and what a sight. I could see the southern Tenmile peaks, Grays and Torreys, Georgia Pass, and the northern Sawatch. A few minutes after we sat down for a snack at 12,400′ we were approached by a curious mountain goat! A long, steep descent followed, and we headed towards Copper Mountain. Right after crossing Highway 91, a group of three people in a truck offered us root beer floats, cookies, bananas, and camp chairs. Despite not being able to enjoy any of the treats, I was very appreciative of this “trail magic” and I hope it’s not the last I see of it. Several miles through Copper’s ski slopes and dense forests was interesting, and we ended up camped in a nice valley between two streams. Tomorrow offers another climb above 12k’ but with fewer miles. Excited for more!”
Day 11, 7/4: Segment 8 mile 5 to Segment 8 mile 20. 15 miles, 2500′ gain
“Today was pretty brutal. Neither Tony nor I felt like getting up early, so we got a bit of a late start. The hike up to treeline wasn’t that bad, but we stayed at or above it, mostly above 12k, for over four miles. AMS and the effects of a heavy pack and not enough calories took their toll on me. We wanted to camp near mile 16, but all the spots were taken, so we ended up doing 4 extra miles. I cried and for the first time thought about quitting, but I got over it. Tomorrow should be shorter, prettier, easier, and more fun.”
Apparently I didn’t consider the old bunkers at Camp Hale worth mentioning, but they were pretty cool.
Day 12, 7/5: Segment 8 mile 20 to Wurts Ditch. ~9 miles, 1400′ gain
More ruins from Camp Hale, near Tennessee Pass
“Today started out pretty well, we slept in and got a late start on our short day. Around 12:30 it started raining and didn’t stop for hours, which definitely brought down my spirits. Fortunately the trail was gentle, well-built, and mostly through forest. It finally cleared up around 3:30, and shortly after that we found a great campsite and set up camp. Then it rained again for maybe an hour. It stopped again, and we started making dinner. I had just started up the Jetboil when I saw someone walking towards me. It was Bill! He saw my location on my SPOT receiver and drove right near where we were camped! He couldn’t have come at a better time, as I had been running low on food and not in the best spirits. It was so good to see him! He, Tony and I hung out for a few hours and had a beer, then he left as the sun set. Now it will only be a week before I see him again! He makes me so happy I can hardly believe it. It was the best surprise at the best time! Whatever tomorrow brings, I will be fresh and full of love after this evening 🙂 ”
Someone built this lovely swing along the trail, just after Tennessee Pass.
Day 13, 7/6: Wurts Ditch to Mt. Massive Wilderness. ~15 miles, 3100′ gain
“A pretty miserable day, after all. It rained for much of the night and then the sun didn’t come out in the morning, so the tent and rain fly were all wet. It rained pretty steadily all day, so my feet were wet and I was not in the best of moods. Tony left well before I did, s I hiked alone all day – rain and a brutal 1000 foot climb from mile 11 to 13 really sucked. Got some good views of Mount Massive, though. 15.7 miles and 3,100 feet of gain is a pretty big day for me, still. Tony seems to be getting stronger, and I think I am still losing weight and my backpack is too heavy. He is going to Twin Lakes tomorrow evening, so there’s a chance I won’t run into him again. I hope I do, it has been great having a trail friend. Hope tomorrow is easier and better weather!”
Day 14, 7/7: Mt. Massive wilderness to Mill Creek. ~12 miles, 1600′ gain
“Day 3 of monsoon rain. It really fucking sucks. Rain all day, everything wet, creek crossings, ridiculous. I really miss seeing the sun. Tony left early this morning while I refused to get out of bed because it kept drizzling. I eventually hit the trail around 11, promising myself a short day. The hiking was pretty good, but the weather is just awful. I found an acceptable campsite and mercifully the rain stopped long enough to get my tent set up and make dinner, but before I could even eat it started again. It is now 6:30 and I am stuck in the tent while it’s pouring outside. A break from this, even just one day, would be really fucking nice. Too many days like this will make me quit.”
Not a great way to end Part 2, but wait – there’s more!