Miles Hiked: 26.1
Total Milage: 544
Location: Stream, mile 655.1
This morning Rockslide woke me up around 6am. We walked to McDonalds to get breakfast and then back to the Motel to pack up our things. I started hiking around 8:45 am. The day started with a 5 mile road walk out of town. Rockslide had to catch a bus around 3pm so he hiked out with me as far as he could. Before he left and at the end of the road walk, we took a snack break together. I packed out four hard ciders and I was determined that they would be gone by the end of the day. At the break I also ate some guacamole and chips. I always try to eat the heaviest stuff first.
After that, I left the road and said goodbye to Rockslide. We both wished we could keep hiking together. It was a sad goodbye even though I’m supposed to see him tomorrow or the next day. Today the trail went uphill for 20 miles straight but it was a very gradual climb. I immediately crossed a creek and got my shoes wet. It was the first natural water source I’ve seen flowing since the Gila River. It’s wild to think we walked about 300-400 miles getting water exclusively from caches or a pipe that came from the ground.
The trail gently switch backed climbing the side of a mountain until it reached 10,000 feet where it would stay around for most of the day. A lot of the dirt was a clay red color until I got into some alpine meadows. Today reminded me a lot of some of the hiking I did around Colorado last summer. Such a sharp contrast compared to the desert we came from just yesterday. There were very old trees all around. I think most of them were ponderosa pines or aspens. When I reached the first green alpine meadow I immediately saw an elk that darted away.
I kept passing through alpine meadows with some streams running through them for the rest of the day. The streams were full and rushing with cold water from snow melt. I took my lunch break at a reservoir and then ran into Free Fall who I hiked around for the rest of the day. After my lunch break began a long section of wet feet. There were patches of deep snow sporadically for the next 8 miles. They weren’t long stretches but definitely enough to slow me down. I would try to walk on top of the snow, until I would bust through it. Sometimes the snow would come up to the tops of my thighs when that would happen and it was hard to get out. Thank goodness for trekking poles. Although the snow was jarring, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. If I wasn’t post holing through the snow, I was walking through ankle deep snow melt water that would pool right on the trail. I hope Colorado is this “easy” but it’s almost garanteed not to be.
Near the end of the day I met back up with Free Fall and we hiked the last five miles downhill together. I was pretty tired and sore but glad I was able to do a big day. I was also happy that the day was no where near as hard as I had anticipated. I was so happy to set up camp near a stream around 8pm. For dinner I had the last of my four ciders I ended up drinking throughout the day and some crackers with cheese.