Miles Hiked: 28.5
Total Milage: 654.6
This morning I woke up at 5:30 and started hiking by 5:45. I was frustrated that I didn’t sleep well last night when I knew I had such a big day to hike today. Today was the first time I had my rain pants and gloves with me on the trail. It made such a big difference on a cold morning! I started hiking by the lake as the sun was rising before crossing highway 64.
Today was a lot more of hiking across alpine fields. I saw elk running across them in the distance. I love seeing all the wildlife roaming around as the sun rises. My friends caught up to me early in the day and I hiked nearby them for most of it. By 1pm we had hiked 19 miles which seems absolutely crazy to me! I can tell that my legs are truly feeling stronger for the first time. I felt like the weakest person at the start of the trail but I also think I’ve gained the most strength of the group so far. I felt that almost every one was in better shape than me from the beginning. I think part of it is from losing so much muscle tone from my knee surgery last spring. I gained a lot of strength back over the summer and ski season but not my long distance hiking legs.
At 1pm Free Fall, 12 Pack, Melissa, and I all took a break at Lahunitas campground together. We enjoyed the picnic tables and waited for Jenga to catch up. I wanted to make sure he knew that we were not far ahead! I really want to cross the border with everyone tomorrow and also avoid the forecasted rain. At 3pm I started hiking again. We wanted to camp about 10 miles from the CO border tonight. After the campground we started to run into a lot more snow. The drifts were pretty large in some areas. I’d say they were easily 3-4 feet deep. The snow slowed me down quite a bit but there were still enough bare spots to make up the time. At the end of the day we hiked across a beautiful mesa with views of the snowy mountains in the distance. The view made me homesick for Telluride where I have lived for the past 1.5 years. I got some service and was able to call Rockslide. I let him know about our plans for the next couple of days and he decided to drive down to meet me for my zero day! I was so excited because I already miss him so much.
Around 7pm we arrived at the spot we chose to camp, 10 miles from the border. There wasn’t a water source but we found a nice large puddle to collect water from. Everyone made it to camp at the same spot tonight. I was super happy about it because I have hiked with them all for the whole state of New Mexico and I really want to celebrate with them.